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Grow! (2011; directors: Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson; 60 minutes)

A biology teacher would hope that Grow!, a short film about young adults choosing an agrarian over a modern, urban life would change his or her students' perspectives on many things. Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson teamed up with Georgia Organics, a farmer advocacy group, to portray fellow farmers toiling on their own small, organic farms in Georgia. The stars of this documentary lead the phalanx of the food movement: they consciously turn to agriculture when farmers are getting older and older, the environment is becoming more unpredictable, and the economy is becoming less and less promising.

After screening this 60-minute film during a double period, my high school biology class (mainly sophomores) came away with little more than the impression that these farmers realized that life is short and were making the most of their own lives. It is difficult for an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body to identify with the white, college-educated, twenty-somethings in Georgia. Students nowadays are removed from nature, from recognizing novel career paths, and from healthy food itself.

This is a sad statement in its own right, and the film is too brief and one-dimensional to provoke thought. Food, Inc. and King Corn are examples of films with a similar message that utilize sensationalism and shock to provoke emotional responses and intelligent conversations about food choice, individuals' impact on the environment, and students' roles in their own economy and society. At the very least, Grow! shows students that a career choice beyond a desk or cash register takes hard work and a committed spirit, which their teachers can appreciate and encourage.

DOI: 10.1525/abt.2013.75.1.16

E.J. Karetny

Science Faculty

Timber Creek Regional High School

Erial, NJ 08081

ROBERTA BATORSKY, an experienced high school and college biology teacher, is adjunct faculty at rowan university. Roberta has a B.S. and an M.S. in biology. Her address is 25 Hinkle Drive, Bordentown, NJ 08505; e-mail: Roberta welcomes submissions of classroom media for review in ABT.


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Author:Karetny, E.J.
Publication:The American Biology Teacher
Article Type:Video recording review
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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