(A version of this post originally appeared on my D.C. Farmers Market Examiner site)
Washington D.C.’s FRESHFARM Markets’ new year started with good news: A mini documentary about the organization would be part of Yachad‘s Our City Film Festival slated for February 14 at D.C.’s Goethe Institute. Not only that, but the film would appear alongside “Nora!” featuring a restaurateur who embraces local and organic food.
“I’m thrilled to have a film about FRESHFARM Markets and to document in some way how the markets were created and what vision was behind it,” said FRESHFARM co-director and co-founder Ann Yonkers.
Yachad, which mobilizes the Washington-area Jewish community to repair and rebuild lower-income neighborhoods, selected 14 films for the third annual festival and divided them into four categories—Our Body, Our Mind, Our Heart, and Our Soul. “FRESHFARM Markets” will appear in the body category and is, of course, about FRESHFARM and its nine producer-only markets in the D.C. area. Their markets include such favorites as the Dupont Circle farmers market and the farmers market at the White House.
“Nora!” is about Nora Pouillon, who forged the organic restaurant niche with Dupont’s Restaurant Nora and later nearby (and now sadly defunct) Asia Nora. “Nora!” was selected for the Our Heart category. D.C.-based VideoTakes, Inc. produced both films.
“Nora was a pioneer in this town,” Yonkers said, “being brave long before people understood the value of organic and daring to make food your own way.” Pouillon not only opened the first certified organic restaurant in the nation, but encouraged the first FRESHFARM markets more than a decade ago, hoping to see something like New York City’s Union Square’s fresh food utopia in her adopted city.
Other films will look at Washington, D.C.’s go-go music scene, the art workshop in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital maximum security ward, the history of Jews in Washington, the story of a gay Washingtonian couple struggling for acceptance, the Capital Pool Men’s Checkers Club in the Shaw neighborhood, and background of the Silver Spring train station.
Yachad Executive Director Audrey Lyon believes that the District and good eats share a natural connection. “It’s not surprising that films about DC should include those about food,” she said in an email. “Washington is a place for foodies.”
Yonkers plans to invite some of the market’s farmers to attend the screening on Valentine’s Day. She and her husband may be heading back to their own farm on Maryland’s eastern shore, but whether she can make it or not, she looks forward to the films spreading the message about the environmental and culinary benefits of local foods. This will add to a realization more and more Washingtonians are making about local eating: “It’s not only a ’should,’” Yonkers said, “but it’s a pleasure.”
More information for Washingtonians: The third annual Our City Film Festival, the only showcase of independent films that examine the Washington, D.C. area’s local history, culture, and personalities, will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, 2010 at the Goethe Institute, 812 7th St., NW.
Photo: Local restaurateur Nora Pouillon in an Our City Film Festival movie. Image from Yachad.