Food Film Night: a cultural center takes root in the black dirt



Jen and Grant decided to quit grocery shopping for six months and go dumpster diving instead. So begins the new documentary, Just Eat It, in which the couple up ends up foraging $20,000 worth of salvaged food, so much they have to give it away to friends.

Why do we throw away almost half our food? Oh, lots of reasons: people shop once twice a week to stock up, intending to cook at home, but then go out to eat instead. People buy ingredients for recipes, then don’t follow through. They make too much food, get tired of leftovers and throw them out. Image-conscious grocery stores don’t display blemished produce. Mostly, it’s because we’re not paying much attention. The Green Onion, a new farm market and cultural center in Chester’s black dirt that hosted the screening, wants to change that.

“I would like to continue the Food Film Night series as part of community building and community education and awareness around our food system,” said Hillary Lindsay, founder of The Green Onion, in an email. “More to come.”

Lindsay teamed up with the Chester Presbyterian Church to host the inaugural screening and popcorn-fueled discussion. The Green Onion’s mission is a lofty one: “to help build an agro-community in Orange County that unites food producers and consumers on common ground,” said Lindsay. “Just Eat It is a perfect example of agri-culture and more screenings of films like these will help us build the united agro-community we hope to foster.”

After the film, E.J. Szulwach, who grew up sharecropping on the black dirt with his dad right behind The Green Onion, said he was very happy to see what was happening: the revival of farming and the energy of the young people who are trying to keep it thriving. Sharecropping, he explained, meant doing all the work but splitting the profits with the farm owner. He said it was one step up from slavery. But he had fond memories.

Vicki Botta