In 2008, Andrew Hasse started working on "Edible City" alongside a small team including Carl Grether, the film’s producer. But it wasn’t until nearly six years later that the duo wrapped up the documentary. Now, the film about producing food locally is finally out.
While "Edible City" focuses on the Good Food Movement that’s taking the San Fransisco Bay area by storm, the movie has a bigger message: That the healthy food revolution starts at home. Organic Authority recently interviewed Hasse about how he came to the project, how he found the film’s “characters,” and more.
Organic Authority: How did you get involved with the project?
Andrew Hasse: This was my first documentary. I’ve been making films for a long time, but I fell into this because I was working on another show about climate change. I realized it (climate change) was a hard story to tell because there wasn’t a lot that regular people could do about it directly. We were looking for other ways people could make an impact and during the same time, I reconnected with an old friend from Berkley who became the producer of the film, Carl. He was involved with urban farming and he was working on a mini documentary about the movement that was going on here (in California) and that grew into a larger piece about the food system.
OA: Did you have any experience with urban farming before directing the film?
AH: I didn’t know anything about it before and it took me until college to put together what I was eating affected how I felt. My family was very food illiterate, which was rare, growing up in Berkeley. As soon as I started to learn about it and got into a garden, I began to understand the basics of what it meant to grow food -- I learned a lot really quickly. And since then, I’ve been conscientious of organics.
OA: Did you know who you were going to interview for the film from the get go, or did you find out about your subjects by word of mouth?
AH: I had no contacts other than Carl. We got most of our characters through word-of-mouth. The sustainable farming community is a tight knit community and it was a smaller community when we first started. We meet a lot of people who could have been in the movie because they were doing amazing work, but for whatever reason, scheduling or what-have-you, it just didn’t end up being in it.
OA: What’s the main thing you’d like viewers to take away from this film?
From the Organic Authority Files
AH: I think because of the way it starts and because a lot of the film is focused on people doing hands-in-the-ground gardening projects, a lot of people think that it’s just a movie about urban gardening, which it is, but I think the reason it is interesting is because of all the characters the film features. There are some really fun characters in the movie and I think that meeting people that you can relate to, or who are very different than you, is a great way to get people to think about how they can access or get into the movement themselves.
But I think the thing that I really took away from it the most and that I’m hoping gets across somewhat in the movie is the economic level and the social dimension -- in terms of what kind of models are emerging and the Occupy movement, and how those aspects and the food movement] relate [to each other.]
I also want people to see how these grassroots movements fit into a much larger picture. All of this shows how we can change the food system. It’s not just theoretical, it's not abstract -- it's very clear.
Screen “Edible City” on Pivot, or rent, or buy the documentary on Amazon and Vimo.
This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.
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Image of Edible City from film's Facebook page