SST 598: Food For Thought

This spring students in my Documenting Southern Foodways course spent the semester completing short films. This week we are sharing those films along with the directors’ thoughts on developing as filmmakers and storytellers. First up is Rebecca Lauck Cleary’s film, Food For Thought.

This semester I worked on Food for Thought, a film about the Good Food for Oxford Schools program. Their mission is to leverage farm-to-school principles to bring local produce in the cafeterias while simultaneously educating students and their families on the importance of eating well. Education includes classroom lessons linking seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level, and the creation of food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high schools. Work with families includes healthy and delicious cooking classes, shared meals, and experiential learning in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at area farms.

Sharing the story of Good Food for Oxford Schools is important to me because I want everyone to see the value of the program. Due to the severity of our state’s obesity epidemic, getting children to learn from a young age about healthy eating is critical. I think Good Food for Oxford Schools does a genuinely important job, and I want to showcase their efforts. Eleanor Green, the program director, is my main interview subject, and I also went to a cooking class at the high school as well as the Sprout Scouts after-school program, where I learned the challenges of filming a rowdy group of elementary students on a windy day in the garden.

My role as a filmmaker developed this spring as I learned to stop being afraid of the equipment. I was extremely nervous at the beginning, but as the weeks progressed, I started to relax and enjoy the process. It’s exhilarating for me to show a narrative through the camera lens instead of only words on paper, and Ava Lowrey is a fantastic, patient teacher who is always gracious with her time.
– Rebecca Lauck Cleary