Lessons Learned

Left super early to avoid a repeat of Tuesday's traffic-induced stress, and arrived more than two hours early to Pitzer College. 
Sent out e-mails, and imagined hiking, or some other activity that does not include staring into a screen. 
At 3:45, walked up to Pitzer, and met Evalleggos, the professor hosting the event. We talked inside the smallish venue where about 40 folks joined us for the afternoon. 
Dean Freudenberger, an 83 year old man with a deep knowledge of agriculture, talked about many things- about the limitations of documentary to show all of the solutions that are needed, about the importance of health in the soil, health of the micro-organisms. About how the solutions involve growing animals and vegetables in tandem. He twice repeated Aldo Leopold's assertion that a thing is right when it adds to the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community, and a thing that tends not to, is wrong. 
Dave Fikel talked about farming, and about how he hopes that New Frontier farm will be a community space. They've made strides in this direction, as they've opened up portions of their land to be a community garden, and they also frequently welcome visitors. After the screening, it looked as if Dave may have found some new customers, and interns. 
Evaggellos talked about the climate challenges that livestock produce, about recent studies that have placed the percentage of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere at anywhere from 18-51% of the total in the atmosphere. An astonishing figure, and one that certainly gets left out of many conversations about agriculture. 


There was a strong interest, and a good will when things concluded. From there Dave and I drove to Cal Poly, where we were hosted by Dan Yuhasz and the Food Justice Club, which is in its inaugural year of existence. We had little prep time for the event, and as a result it was a small turnout, about 12 people in total. I talked about how American Meat came to be, the journey that we went on, and are still on. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the few people in attendance, and sometimes, at the smaller screenings, there can be a very strong impact, because the conversations are more intimate, and perhaps profound. 
From there I drove out to UCLA, and unfortunately, because of a confluence of factors, by the time I got there, the screening and the conversation had concluded. Alyssa, the intrepid under-grad who set up the screening, informed us that about 70 people were there, and that they had to start screening the movie earlier than scheduled because a number of the students would have elected to leave if they hadn't done so. The result was that I wasn't able to be there for the conversation, and a personal first- a somewhat sad and comical scene- that I arrived at a venue to find everyone departed. 
This is our first documentary, and our first time self-distributing, so these types of mistakes happen, and we aim to learn each day, and get better. We hope to come back to UCLA in the fall, and have a great conversation with folks then. 
At the moment, I drove back, a bit dejected, not yet ready to see the humor in the failed situation. 
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