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the broken limbs movie - about apples and business v permaculture business  RSS feed

 
master steward
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The full movie:






Anybody seen this? 

I saw it a long time ago and would like to see it again. 

It's about the washington state apple industry.  As the movie progresses, the picture is painted of how folks with apple trees are getting less and less each year for apples.  And lots of folks have put everything into their orchard.  And then they lose the farm. 

As the move progresses, everything gets more and more complicated.  And there is the tiniest glimmer of hope if everybody bands together and confronts the threat of globalization.  But even still, you get this powerful feeling of circling the toilet bowl. 

And then the movie tells the story of a farm where they were on the edge of losing the farm and then their crop was nailed with hail.  It looks bad.  If they sell the remaining 10% in the normal way, they lose the farm.  So they decided to take the 10% to the farmers market in seattle and sell direct to the consumers.  They did great!

Yes!  Hope!

And then, at the end, there was this guy who had something like four apple trees. 

(this is from feeble memory) He would harvest from one tree, go to seattle, sell all of the apples and come home.  It sounds like with just four trees he was doing WAY better than these people with thousands of trees. 

Fascinating stuff.   

I strongly recommend having a look at this show for anybody reading in this forum.



 
pollinator
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Netflix seems never to have heard of it.

Nor IMDB.

Here's the documentarians' website:

http://www.brokenlimbs.org/buy.html
 
pollinator
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ive never seen the movie but this is happening at a local apple orchard here. i am now volunteering along with a few others to keep them up and running. the labor alone would cost more than the apple harvest. thats not even taking into account fertilizers and all that stuff.
 
paul wheaton
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I haven't been able to find it at the library either. 

I seem to remember some sort of eco film thing that you could get through the mail like netflix.  Maybe they have it.

 
              
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is this the film?

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/1087/Broken-Limbs
 
paul wheaton
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Dr_Temp wrote:
is this the film?

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/1087/Broken-Limbs



Yes!  That's it!  Wow!  What a cool thing!

 
paul wheaton
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Wow.  The whole movie on-line. 

And now that I have seen it a second time, it seems even better than I remember.

I think everybody that takes a peek in this forum really needs to watch this movie all the way to the end. 
 
              
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paul, agree everyone should watch it.

Seems the moral of that story is beware of:
Debt
Mono culture
Reliance on others
Single source of income
and trusting others with your livelihood in an age of low ethics, morality, etc.

Also might bring up how markets are manipulated. think it was britain that subsidized a crop, guaranteed a price for the crop no matter the market. several years passed, farmers went crazy and bought expensive equipment to grow money. they leveraged the farm. then, politicians ran on getting rid of the scam that was wasting tax payers dollars. farmers went bust, land was bought for a song and dance. all owned by big agriculture now, or so the story is told.

there was a thing on pbs about apples and monoculture and history in the states. most was used for hard liquor till it was demonized. then the sweet varieties were picked out and...
 
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Just watched this, so bump for an excellent movie.
 
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For a long time washington apples have been inferior, they were bred to be bright red and last 18 months in a warehouse. Add to that the effects of a minimum wage and you have economic disaster. An industry just cannot survive producing an inferior product at an inflated price.
 
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I've just bookmarked this.... I've quite a few young apple trees here of diverse backgrounds and including some grown from pips.  (I know, I know they don't grow true... but it's all part of the fun I'm having....  )
 
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Emerson White wrote:
For a long time washington apples have been inferior, they were bred to be bright red and last 18 months in a warehouse. Add to that the effects of a minimum wage and you have economic disaster. An industry just cannot survive producing an inferior product at an inflated price.



It appears that way to me as well. I have a friend from Washington and he told me about the apple industry up there...and all the orchards for sale.

paul wheaton wrote:
As the movie progresses, everything gets more and more complicated.  And there is the tiniest glimmer of hope if everybody bands together and confronts the threat of globalization.  But even still, you get this powerful feeling of circling the toilet bowl. 



I get that feeling a lot nowadays. But the future is what we make of it. Globalization has been very good to big businesses and bankers, not so good for workers, farmers, shop owners, and manufacturers.
 
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I'll watch this and pass it along. It's sad where I live (the fruit belt, Southern Ontario), orchards have been disappearing in the past few years. I finally found out that our local cannery (Heinz) can't afford to buy fruit from local farms, they are importing it from China of all places to stay competitive price-wise in the market. I can't even believe that is happening, how can fruit shipped from halfway around the world be more cost effective than that grown RIGHT in the town that the cannery is in? And not a peep from locals or government, I had to seek that info out. Shocking and shameful is what that is.

There is one local orchard that does well, he sells right out of his garage until he runs out of apples (sometimes has them until March but not often as he's one of the few still selling locally and people drive to his place). He uses a mixture of garlic and seaweed as a pesticide/nutrient or some such too so his apples are not sprayed as much as conventional. Amazing that.
There is another orchard that does tours, u-pick and sells cider that seems to be alright so far. They also have horses though so that brings in business for them.

I don't know what's going on here, all that I see growing in the area is corn, soy, wheat and tomatoes. Never anything else, year after year after year. It's frightening.
 
              
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craftylittlemonkey, good to know. I try not to buy from that company. Now you have given me a 58th reason .

If you export all of your production elsewhere and produce nothing, then what do you have to offer for the goods you wish to purchase? Past wealth, future worth or selling yourself into bondage.

It is hard explaining to some people that you 'have to produce something of value' in order to continue trade. For when you run out of things to trade, who wants to trade with you?

Trust. Easier to trust those who are closer to you, know first hand what is going on there, and easier to confront them when their are issues. Plus, you do not have to give handouts to those that 'are not in need'.

At the end of the day, it is dumb to move everything over seas, but "WHY" is everything moving and what is the final outcome.

Best to get something in the ground that produces with little to no input and effort longterm. Then there is something productive going on close to home.
 
Emerson White
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I thought it was funny that he showed tractors to display how many farmers their used to be, and showed them disappearing to indicate farmers disappearing. He apparently is unaware that the lions share of that disappearance of farmers is explained by the invention of the tractor and other farm equipment.
 
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Great documentary, thanks for the link.
 
paul wheaton
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I liked it, was worried at first but there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks Paul
 
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would be interesting to see a follow up on that documentary.
 
paul wheaton
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I went searching for the movie ...  i think the company that made it is gone and the video is now free on vimeo.   I embedded it in the first post of this thread.
 
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Well. THAT was inspiring.
 
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I'm kind of surprised to learn about the severity of the small farm crisis in the US fruit industry. Perhaps the word industry explains why. Industry is not agriculture.
We have several big fruit producing regions in Belgium. Those are severely hit by the Russian Boycot over the Ukraine. Those folks are now seeking new export markets. A similar 'New Farmer' movement is going on here though our agriculture was never as big scale as in North America.

I was also surprised about the number of high apple trees stil being grown commercially in the US. Over here you only see low stem fruit trees on the standard commercial farm. High stem orchards are a sure sign of either an amateur/hobby farmer, an organic business or a collector of fruit varieties.

In Flanders we see a lot of people having or restoring at least some capabilty for homegrown fruit, herbs, veggies in their gardens and public spaces. We don't have to grow plums here - you can get tons of them in the public green zones. In our 32000 'town' there are at least 5 schools with their own fruit trees, 3 with veggie patches, 2 with chickens one each with a vineyard or beehives.
The amateurs are also getting bigger. In many places locals with fruit surplus get a roving juiceprocessing guy in to transform their apples and other fruit into juice. A couple of hundred people had their fruit surplus done. This started as a side line business for a guy growing fruit and fruit trees. http://www.mobielefruitpers.com/

Others make cider or fruit beer or dried apple flakes, apple jam, .... Heirloom varieties are making a comeback in gardens.


Our local variety of Wal Mart (though a lot more sympathetic) even has a branch that is selling only organic stuff.



Observation. It seems to me that Europeans on the average care a lot more about food quality than the average joe in America. Perhaps that is also a big part of the permie solution. I think it is here, for sure. Get people to care about food. Get them cooking. Get them processing their own food, brew their own beer. That is a big incentive to buy/grow (your own) food locally. Over here you see the best growers providing prime quality stuff to restaurants. The biggest michelin star restaurants have their own gardens and their own local producers.

A last observation is that there are these traditional markets in many if nog most European towns where farmers or local processors sell their own product. We have currently this really interesting documentary series on our television about some interesting markets. I found this link http://sales.arte.tv/fiche/3712/IN_THE_BELLY_OF_THE_CITY


Another model, I live in Wevelgem, each year we get this farming family who sells Swiss cheese here. They load a truck, hit the markets here and sell their top quality product  for top prices. That is 800 km these folks drive to bring their cheeses to market. The people here buy - even though it is really expensive - because they know it is in the market for only 2 weeks and they buy it as a treat. Other guys i know of bring their fresh picked cherry and strawberry surplus to the markets in seaside resorts.

 
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     Thanks for the link, I enjoyed watching the movie and will be sharing it with friends.  I saw a related article in the NY Times about an English sheep farmer's view of rural America and the state of economics and Big Ag in the world. He's observed the same issues with small farmers running into Globalist ideology in the markets and not being able to make a living competing with food form the other side of the globe. I think lots of folks at Permies will really resonate with what he says, so please share this around - 


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/opinion/an-english-sheep-farmers-view-of-rural-america.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0 ;


He's written a memoir called "The Shepperd's Life: Modern Dispatches From and Ancient Landscape"  that sounds like a great read. He participates in a "Commons Grazing" system that goes back 4,500 years in England, and sees huge problems with modern Agri-Business. I haven't read it yet, but I suspect that there are probably ideas in this book that could benefit any grazier looking to implement time tested ways of feeding their flocks and stewarding their land. Combined with Holistic Management, this shared grazing idea could be a old way to go forward.

Back to the Future Marty!
 
paul wheaton
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This movie is available right now.  I think everybody should see it - jocelyn and I were talking about it last night!
 
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We watched it last night.  Excellent doc.  For being low budget, they did great editing and told the story in a very easy-to-understand, and not pretentious manner.  Thank you so much for sharing this one.  It's something that is quick, educational yet emotionally gripping,a nd accurate to the human condition.  Wow.

It reminded me of two other docs that I also consider quite good...Food Beware: the French Organic Revolution and Mondovino (I think this link is to it as a series on Amazon, even though I saw it as a single documentary) Mondovino on Amazon Prime.

Like Broken Limbs, the French Organic Revolution also lets one see the misunderstandings between conventional farmers and organic ones.  In the French Organic Revolution, there is a great scene where a sit down meal is organized for local farmers, conventional and organic, and it's rapidly apparent that these are not two groups who normally talk to one another.  The conventional farmers have some interesting preconceptions.  Another great set of scenes are in a French school, where the kids behave in a way I think most Americals would be overjoyed to see at home, and think impossible in a school!

In Mondovino, the main similarity is the loss of independence and  "terrior" (the French word for character of the food created by that magic combo of location, variety, and environment) through globalization, and asks the question of whether globalization is actually benefiting farmers and consumers.

Broken Limbs is definitely presented in the least political manner; I give the creator great credit there.  Impressive.  It's now bumped up near the very top of my list, for certain.

 
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Thank you Paul for bringing this documentary to our attention. This really shows how a small farmer can be lost and trampled in the crowd when trying to compete in the commodities markets.
For me, time in the "field" and attention to detail far outweigh the chemical and mechanical inputs of the much larger farms in my area.
My customers willingly pay a premium price knowing that I'm passionate about producing a premium crop and passionate about providing them with the best service.
A little guy like me can earn a good living by raising a superior product and dealing with my customers as individuals.
I love having a small obscure farm that supplies a small obscure market.
 
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Have seen this movie several times on PBS.  Copies can be found in several local stores in Wenatchee and Leavenworth Washington. Am located about 75 miles south of the area in the movie. Always enjoy seeing what some folks have done to get away from the rat race.
 
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