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Podcast 030 - Review of the Movie Broken Limbs

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Credit: Lorenzo Costa

In this podcast Paul and Jocelyn review the movie Broken Limbs produced by Jamie Howell and Guy Evans. The film speaks about the apple growers of Wenatchee, Washington, the "Apple Capital of the World", and actually gives a view on how the agricultural world in the United States is changing. One thing that actually is missing in the movie is that anyway one looks at the farms that are on video they are mono-crops.

The movie paints the picture between conventional agriculture and organic, big and small farms. Jocelyn explains that the narration is really great and both Paul and Jocelyn think the movie has to be seen.They underline how the movie is divided in two parts one that shows how many farms are closing for debts with banks, and that the only farms that seem to manage to get at the end of the month are the mega, big farms, that close the process of production building their own packaging line, the idea one gets is that farming sucks. Jocelyn recalls a point of the movie where a gal says clearly the price you buy your fruit at the grocers is not going to the farmer, first the grocer takes a piece, then the wholesaler, the broker, the trucker, the packager and at the end eventually the farmer, but every fluctuation in the price always falls on the farmer, and this is how many farms just close, they can’t pay back the debts.

The second half of the film you see how instead there are cases of small organic farms that have gone through some problems but have managed to earn even more building a new reputation, their community and their markets. Jocelyn underlines the fact that the big difference is between the anonymous farmer and the farmer that knows his clients, or the stores where he takes his apples. A great example is that of Grant Gibbs, his farm is the closest farm we’ll see to permaculture in the movie. He doesn’t grow only apples but has even pigs, and actually there is a great story on his pigs and the price of his apples that Paul recalls. Grant Gibbs has differentiated his produce to vegetables, other fruit, and has his own market and knows his clients.

Paul speaks about the triple bottom line, and how actually there’s isn’t a lot to say about that he likes the idea but if you look at Sepp Holzer, we can go way beyond. Sepp speaks about making money and the rest follows. There really is no big need of the triple bottom line because where you win in changing the system is with the farmers. Paul speaks about organic and local organic, and how organic is better for our health and cheaper, but there still are places where you don’t find organic in the grocers.

If only the farmers in the movie knew permaculture and the importance of polycultures they could earn so much more. During the movie Paul says one can see the farmers cutting their orchards to plant vineyards, etc., or cutting up and burning their orchards so to cut their losses and the cost of maintenance. Well that is where you see how much farmers are missing out not knowing what hugelkultur is.

Relevant Threads

Transitioning Old Apple Trees to Permaculture
Conservation Farming
Income From the Land
The Permaculture Orchard


Broken Limbs

Relevant Links

Broken Limbs Website

Farm Income Forum at Permies
Local vs. Organic Thread at Permies

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