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EarthX Film Festival focuses on healthy food, sustainability

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The annual EarthX Film Festival showcased topics on food sustainability and access under the theme of 'A Celebration of the Outdoors.'

The annual EarthX Film Festival was hosted in the heart of the Dallas Arts District in Dallas, Texas, from May 12-15. The theme for the festival was "A Celebration of the Outdoors." Many topics illustrated the importance of focusing on environmental issues, conservation, climate change and food sustainability. It addressed the growing need for individual, local and global change within our communities.

The film festival gave attendees access to over 75 feature and short films. There were also art installations, panel discussions and live music. Patagonia Provisions shared a short film, The Ocean Solution, that played alongside a feature film, Coextinction. Both films spotlight the need to take action to improve our oceans and discuss how sustainably sourced food can help counter the climate crisis.

Another film, We Feed People, showed the renowned chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen as they embarked on a compassionate journey to feed those facing hunger. The film shows their story as they delivered over 60 million meals to areas around the globe that had been struck by disaster.

Panel discusses equal food access

Many conversations and panels took place throughout the festival. Among them was a food panel entitled "Food in Our Community," comprised of special guests from nonprofit organizations in the Dallas community such as AfroGreenD Gardens and Oak Cliff Veggie Project—both of which help provide the community with access to fresh food resources.

The expert panel spoke to growing consumer demand for access to grocery stores and healthy food choices in areas of lower incomes, higher crime rates and more diversity, which may not receive the same resources due to economic disparities.

Of particular interest were the contributions made by AfroGreenD Gardens and Oak Cliff Veggie Project, two local urban farms dedicated to increasing access to fresh food in underserved communities and helping communities overcome the impacts that food deserts have on their lives and health outcomes.

Teaching the next generation

Another inspiring discussion that came out of the food panel highlighted how impressionable the younger generation is, as well as receptive to growing their own foods. Diamond Moss, the founder of AfroGreensD Gardens, noted that providing resources such as seeds and guidance to youth can help foster community and teach responsibility.

One way in which AfroGreen'd Gardens teaches the next generation is by working with elementary school children. The organization reports that its third grade students have been inspired to start their own gardens in their backyard. Moss reported that students who don't have access to yards are optimistically growing things in planters. He added that the children have experienced great satisfaction in being able to grow produce to feed to their families.

Executive Director Ples Montgomery of Oak Cliff Veggie Project provides information about hydroponics to those living in food desert areas and is encouraging education about the benefits of hydroponics in schools. There is increasing support for food independence and the idea that people can grow their own food even without a yard.

Brands promoting more sustainable choices

Consumers are showing interest in lowering their climate impact and supporting sustainable brands. Many brands that partnered with EarthX Film Festival, such as Sustaio, Pathwater, The Boneless Butcher, New Belgium Brewing and more.

New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale claims to be America's first Certified Carbon Neutral beer. The brand manufactures its beer using renewable energy and high-quality offsets.

Sustaio seeks to educate consumers about their level of sustainability impact based on various impact goals, such as reducing single-use household products, reducing plastic packaging and reducing food waste.

There is rising stress with regard to our environmental impact and the importance of reducing food loss and waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that food waste is 30%-40% of the food supply. That amounts to 133 billion pounds of food wasted every year. Reducing the amounts of food that are sent to landfills is one of the ways to improve our impact on climate change.

EarthX also provided an opportunity to encourage other sustainable habits. A local Dallas-Fort Worth start-up, Turn Compost, helped make composting possible at the film festival and stressed the need to practice composting help protect the planet.

Overall, the EarthX Film Festival educated audiences about the future and how our daily actions can impact the environment. Every sustainable choice that we make has the potential to create a ripple effect to inspire local and global change.

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