Eating Alabama tells the story of a young couple who return to their home state and set out to eat the way their grandparents did - seasonally and locally. But after they've driven nearly 800 miles criss-crossing Alabama in search of a balanced meal, they realize that everything about the food system has changed since their grandparents left the farm. This dynamic documentary about the local food movement is never overly didactic. Instead, it's an accessible and often hilarious meditation on community, the South and sustainability. Directed by Andrew Beck Grace, Eating Alabama will have its premiere on PBS beginning on July 1, 2013 (check local listings).
At the heart of the film is the story of the filmmaker, Andrew, and his wife Rashmi. Both Alabamians by birth, their return home sparks an interest in the local food movement as they wonder whether or not it would be possible to eat only food grown or raised within Alabama. Soon, they've enlisted a few friends to embark on this journey to reconnect foodways the industrial agriculture system has broken apart. Referring back to his grandfather’s experience leaving the farm in the 40s, Andrew, who also narrates, engages with his own naïveté as he soon discovers that there are few farmers left in Alabama. Encountering the lives of these farmers – most of whom struggle to make a living – the story shifts to the current realities of farming in the global economy. As he visits a farmer sued for saving seeds and a chicken grower who singlehandedly raises over a million birds each year, he discovers that the simple stories of life on the farm have mostly disappeared. But he also hears counterpoints to these corporate systems from young farmers who have embraced sustainable practices and urban farming. An essay both thoughtful and entertaining, ultimately Eating Alabama is a story about why food matters.
Eating Alabama had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in 2012 and has gone on to play over 40 festivals throughout the country, winning a slew of awards in the process. The Oxford American called Eating Alabama "a beautiful odyssey," while Grist magazine said the film "artfully combines one family’s story with an in-depth look at a group of small farmers committed to rebuilding the local food system in the South." Sage Magazine said, "Grace’s contemplative voyage through the Alabama food-scape elucidates myriad food issues facing our society today."
To learn more about the film, visit the website for Eating Alabama http://www.eatingalabama.com, where you can get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips and read an interview with the filmmaker.
About the Filmmaker
Andrew Beck Grace is an independent documentary filmmaker born and raised in north Alabama. His films have aired on PBS and played at film festivals across the country. At the University of Alabama he teaches and oversees a unique interdisciplinary social justice documentary program called Documenting Justice. He was recently named by The Oxford American one of the “Most Creative Teachers in the South.” He's a past fellow of the CPB/PBS Producers Academy at WGBH and he's also a writer whose nonfiction has been nominated for a Puschcart Prize. His most recent film, "Eating Alabama," premiered at SXSW and has played over 40 festivals throughout the country.
Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10pm on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought more than 1,000 independently produced programs to American audiences to date. For more information about ITVS, visit itvs.org