In a country where the greatest political hope for change comes in the form of voting for a president who appoints employees and friends of Monsanto to the FDA and USDA, trying to sway policymakers might seem like a lost cause.
But you just have to know where to look — the policymakers who can change our system are not currently in power, but they are incubating now, in our schools; with our help, with tools like FOOD FIGHT, they can be the first generation to make Monsanto a household name, and begin its transformation.
We designed a school curriculum to teach the kids about the world of industrial agriculture — what it’s doing to their bodies, their neighborhoods, and their planet — and put the video at the heart of it. Music and comedy, for some neurological reason, connect with more kids than lectures and books do, so it made sense to marry the message with those elements, giving the teachers a tool more powerful than their time or budgets allow.
While our budget for social media was low, it still managed to make the front page of YouTube, and took “the food world by storm”. The response was overwhelming. We received 100,000 views in the first week, with 99% of reviewers marking “Like”, and literally over 95% comments being not only positive, but detailed, engaging and intelligent. Usually a great video will get about 70% positive comments, and the rest are by trollers, so I am still blown away by ratio of positive reviews we got on this one.
Someone wrote us saying they were going to shut down their small organic farm, but that this piece gave them hope to continue. One random blogger wrote that the video is “Absolutely the best piece of socially relevant media…in years.” One hip hop blog said,
“I’m telling you this is the best HipHop video I’ve seen in a while…”
It was also one of the few selected for the 3rd Annual SF Green Film Festival. Plastic State of Mind was the opening film of the festival’s debut in 2011.
It is currently part of at least 20 curricula in high schools and juvenile offender programs around the world. With an incoming grant, we will be able to present the video and curriculum to more teachers who can use it to educate the policymakers of the future.
AshEl “Seasunz” Eldrige approached me after his work on Plastic State of Mind and asked me to make a video with a track he produced with Stic Man, of legendary hip hop group Dead Prez. Eco music has some of the same problems that Christian Rock does — people have their heart in the right place, but those with the real talent and skill aren’t usually the ones singing out for the cause. But this dude’s tracks were tight. So I got on board.