When Everything Collapses Plant Your Field… “Urban Roots”
URBAN ROOTS is the next documentary from Tree Media. Produced by Leila Conners (The 11th Hour) and Mathew Schmid and directed by Mark MacInnis, the film follows the urban farming phenomenon in Detroit. Urban Roots is a timely, moving and inspiring film that speaks to a nation grappling with collapsed industrial towns and the need to forge a sustainable and prosperous future.
Producer’s Statement – Leila Conners: After making The 11th Hour, it was clear to me that the oft-quoted saying “think globally, act locally” was the key to solving our environmental crisis. When the story of the urban farmers in Detroit was brought to us, we knew that what they were doing – acting decisively and caring for themselves and their community – basically healing themselves and their neighborhoods through growing food, was that kind of local action that can make the world a better place so we committed to bringing their story to the world.
In many ways, the urban farmers in Detroit are like most of us in that we are all experiencing the painful transition from the industrial, centralized world to a post-industrial world in which the jobs are changing, the economy is changing, the neighborhoods are changing and it seems like we have no control over the outcome.
Well, enter urban farming, a way in which individuals can take control over something so critical as food that in the very act of growing it, they not only feed themselves, they also become healthier, more self-reliant and in some cases they become entrepreneurs. And most remarkable, they create a new approach to community, the economy and life overall.
So when everything collapses, this urban farming story of Detroit demonstrates that one good option is that people come together to solve their problems, and discover that the fiber of community is powerful. And, we hope so powerful that it will prevail when the old, larger forces, the very same ones that have created the collapse in the first place, don’t override this beautiful upwelling of the human spirit.
When Everything Collapses Plant Your Field... "Urban Roots" | Video Trailer
Director’s Statement – Mark MacInnis: Growing up in Detroit, every kid I knew had a mom or a dad who worked for the auto industry. For twenty years, my mom worked at a ware-house that distributed wiring harnesses to Ford Motor Company. That job put braces on my and my brother’s teeth, paid for our skateboards and our weekend trips up north.
My mother was tough, the Michigan stiff upper lip hardened by wage labor and cold winters. I had never seen my mother cry until I was a teenager––on the day I picked her up from her last day of work. She’d already survived three waves of layoffs, but finally got her pink slip with a gold clock and a low-ball severance check.
All my life, I watched the decline of the city, and suffering with it were all of us who’d hitched our hopes to the great American industrial dream of making cars for the greatest country on earth. I never got to see Detroit in its true heyday. But I knew enough to know what it meant to lose that.
My mother may have lost her job, but she never lost that stiff upper lip. And so it was with Detroit—the city that lost its engine but never lost its drive. And now, where nature has reclaimed vast stretches of the abandoned rust belt, Detroiters are reclaiming their spirits. Wherever there is grass, there is a chance to put food on the table. And where there is a chance to put food on the table, there’s a chance for a new start. Now, all around the city of Detroit, a growing movement of urban farmers is changing the way people think about food—and life in the “D”. It took men like Henry Ford, William Durant, and Lee Iacocca to build this city, but it’s taken a bunch of strong willed self-taught urban farmers to save it.