- Text by Shelley Jones
Surf filmmaker Cyrus Sutton has taken a break from filming his beatnik crew of surf-bum buds – a la Under The Sun and Stoked and Broke – and is turning his attention to the food crisis in Hawaii for what looks set to be a life-changing doc called Island Earth.
According to Sutton’s research, the Hawaiian Islands are now home to more genetically modified crop experimentation than anywhere else in the world. The collusion between the people who produce the seeds and the people who produce the pesticides, Sutton acknowledges, is problematic. But instead of dredging up the complicated GMO argument, Sutton focuses on something else, the people at the heart of a diverse, DIY agricultural movement away from large-scale industrial production.
“In nature, diversity equals resiliency,” says Sutton. “In the wild, you won’t see a landscape of one kind of plant. Only by mimicking the diversity found in nature will we be able to lessen our dependency on monocultures which tax our planet and our health. Practices like agroforestry, composting, and rotational grazing will restore our lands and watersheds… Despite their disagreements over genetic modification, farmers, scientist and politicians on both sides of the GMO debate in Hawaii agree that a return to diversity and local food production with less pesticides is the key to a safe and strong future.”
Sutton is donating all profits from the film towards education and those families who’ve been directly affected by pesticide exposure in Hawaii, but he needs some support to finish the film and has launched a Kickstarter, with five days left (it finishes November 18), to that end.
If Sutton reaches his target, which is TINY compared to the budget of even a humble cinematic release (Fincher’s recent Gone Girl cost $62million, which is cheap. Interstellar cost $165million), he will be able to share Hawaii’s foreboding food story with the world and hopefully inspire others to seek alternatives to big-corp crops.
As permaculture founder Bill Mollison says: “When we make the switch from consumers to producers, we no longer depend on the very systems we attack and we become true revolutionaries. Food and shelter will always conquer bullets and words.”
Donate to the Island Earth Kickstarter before November 18.