'Greening the Revolution' takes incisive look at effects of globalization
“What comes to your mind when you hear Monsanto?” asked the vice president of government relations for Monsanto.
Presumably he expected an answer related to providing food for the world, or cheap produce on grocery shelves, but Albuquerque-based director Katie Curran painted a wholly different picture of the biochemical corporation, and the globalized agriculture industry as a whole, in her documentary “Greening the Revolution.”
Monsanto has increasingly become a household name, due in part to its increasing share of global food production and pioneering efforts to research, use and normalize genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs.
While there is much research and journalism about GMOs, Curran said she “wanted to look at why there was starvation in some parts of the world and complete overabundance in other parts,” and how Monsanto and other corporations have used their products and connections to governments around the globe to create such a world of imbalance.
Curran traveled to eight different countries over five years to provide case studies of how families and communities have experienced the effects of free-trade agreements, corporate greed and government complicity in that greed.
The case studies include a woman who makes mud pies for people in Haiti who cannot afford actual food, a family in India whose son killed himself by drinking the pesticides that put him in debt, and residents in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the poorest county in the country with one of the highest rates of diabetes.
“All of these issues are related to the central idea that you should profit off of people’s need to eat,” Curran said.
While the film makes a point to showcase the suffering that free-market global capitalism has induced, it also presents examples of people successfully fighting back – this was the initial impetus for Curran’s endeavor.
“I wanted to show some of the tangible things that can be done, as well as the political and economic conditions needed [to create sustainable agriculture],” she added.
Curran provided several examples of this “revolution” in her film, such as the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, who fought to reclaim land for indigenous farmers; Zambian Women in Agriculture, a group that helps women grow their own food as a means of financial independence; and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who successfully fought for higher wages and better working conditions for migrant workers in Florida.
Screening of the documentary will be followed by a Q&A session with director, Katie Curran.
Ticket proceeds go to funding her next project, which focuses on justice for women through social grassroots movements.