Outline of Agroecological movie

Clifton Ross
Agroecology and the Past before Us
Directed by Clifton Ross
“In the Andean Cosmovision the past is not behind us, but rather before us.”
Armando López

This film will explore the deeper dimensions of the food crisis facing humanity. The speculation in food commodities and the production of biofuels are indeed elements which have exacerbated the problem of food shortages around the world, but a more important aspect is the model of agriculture itself, as practiced in the “modern” world with the rise of capitalism in which food is extracted from the earth by means of artificial chemicals and methods akin to pillage, in which great treasures are reaped, but the earth is left impoverished and, over time, sterilized. This “miracle” of the “Green Revolution” not only increased food production, but it also decreased the quality of that food, created dependency in the developing world, and has meant the ruin of huge areas of the earth which were once productive.
Through interviews with Miguel Altieri, Raj Patel, Eric Holz-Gimenez of Food First and others, the problems of modern agriculture are explored, as well as the “new” approach of agroecology. The interviewees discuss the promise of this new approach to farming and its potential for feeding the world while living in harmony with the planet. They also point out the problem with implementing this approach within a capitalist system, based on the premises of exploitation and extraction for profit.
We are taken to Venezuela where the Bolivarian government is attempting to implement agroecology as official agricultural policy at a national level. We visit farms and coops where this approach has been implemented for decades, and also follow people from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land meeting with campesinos and attempting to move them toward these new policies with promises of training and credits.
Finally, we visit indigenous communities in Ecuador and Bolivia where indigenous people have a distinct view of agroecology as a form of cultural recuperation. Farmers in the Andean region have recognized that this forward-looking approach of agroecology leads them forward into their past to recover ancient wisdom lost since the “miracle” of the last waves of the Conquest

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About Clifton Ross

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Clifton Ross is a free lance writer and videographer who has been reporting on Latin America for over 25 years.He has edited many anthologies including: A Dream Made of Stars: A Bilingual Anthology of Nicaraguan Poetry and Voice of Fire: Communiques and Interviews of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. He is the translator of Quetzalcoatl by Ernesto Cardenal and author of When Good Dogs Have Bad Dreams: Four American Poets.

Fables for an Open Field has just been released in Spanish by La Casa Tomada of Venezuela. His forthcoming book of poems in translation, Traduciendo el Silencio, will be published later this year by Venezuela's Ministry of Culture editorial, Perro y Rana.

In 2005 Clifton represented the U.S. along with Genny Lim in Venezuela's World Poetry Festival.

Ross currently teaches English at Berkeley City College, Berkeley, California. He can be reached at clifross@gmail.com .