Dir. Matt Wechsler | USA | 2016 | 96 mins
Many people hold the belief that eating organically, while good for the environment, is an expensive luxury that is often unaffordable. Sustainable suggests that this is not how it has to be. In an industry where large agri-tech companies promote over-farming to achieve the highest yield, the quality of the food being produced deteriorates. In Central Illinois, America’s heartland, now dominated by such ‘commodity crops,’ Sustainable follows Marty Travis, owner of Spence Farm and a seventh-generation farmer himself, who is determined to rally against this insidious culture and provide a food-stable future for his community.
Following Travis through each of the four seasons, we witness his agricultural practice that is not only revolutionary but economically viable and environmentally safe. From paddock-to-plate we follow the Chicago-based restaurants that work with Travis, taking an active role in the production of their key ingredients and the wellbeing of their communities.
Featuring celebrated chefs including Rick Bayless and Dan Barber and best-selling author Mark Bittman, the film’s luscious camerawork and sun-kissed radiance captures the spiritual essence of the rural setting and provides an uplifting look to the future by focusing on a farmer very much returning to his roots. Driven by an achingly beautiful score, the film is at once heartening and humanistic. In summarising his business, Travis expresses that measuring wealth should never be a purely financial consideration. Here, Sustainable places value in hope and transformation, in passion for the land and the promise that our food systems can be restored to once again sustain us all.