Seen the movie?
Co-op filmmakers share what they’ve learned
The following interview was conducted electronically with four of the five member worker/ filmmakers who made Honest Weight Food Co-op: A Really Great Place to Shop! The filmmakers—Eleanor Goldsmith, Jill Malouf, Rachelle Menshikova, Branda Miller and Steve Pierce—are all HWFC member workers and Indymedia collaborators with different backgrounds and styles. Eleanor describes the film’s creation: “We all cooked our own bits, and then came together to put them into one big meal” over the course of 18 months. Last June, the film debuted at the Spectrum Theater in celebration of our 30th anniversary, and parts of it have screened at this year’s and last year’s Member Appreciation Dinners. Every branch in the Upper Hudson Library System, too, now has a copy to view.
If you have not yet seen this documentary film about our Co-op and employees, members, customers and the larger community — including the many folks whose lives Honest Weight is a part of by doing business with them — I highly recommend picking up the DVD. It’s for sale now (only $8!) in our Education and Outreach section of the store. Check it out and share it widely! – Karisa Centanni, HWFC Education Coordinator
Q: What did you learn about the Co-op that you didn’t know before shooting the film?
JM: I learned that there are many different tasks that a member worker can complete for member hours, not just working in the store! I also learned a lot of history and the importance of buying local.
BM: The Co-op is really about so much more than food—it is about community! With every shot I took, I appreciated my connection to this community even more.
EG: I learned that food is a subject that most people have a lot of stuff to say about; that where their food comes from, how it’s distributed and how it’s sold, is not only very interesting, but a highly moral issue that the Co-op and it’s members really think about in a meaningful way.
Q: What did you enjoy most about making the film, Honest Weight Food Co-op: A Really Great Place to Shop!?
BM: Working with the HWFC staff, especially the long discussions with Nate and Karisa, who are so dedicated to getting the word out; running into Cherie Johnson working in the office as I looked for subjects to shoot one day and having such an immediate, deep bond with her after hearing her soulful voice and learning her profound insights about the essence of the Co-op being about love; following our own extraordinary Gayle from the Produce department to the local market and being forever struck by the essential relationship we have to our local farmers/ heroes; following Guinevere to pick up eggs and meeting Dave at Cornell Farms; and sharing collectively and collaboratively with my very talented member worker/filmmakers.
EG: I got to experience the artistry of Gustav and his hard-working cohorts, who have turned cheese tasting into an interactive performance where tasty bites are handed out, discussed and eaten by an appreciative audience of shoppers.
Q: How would you recommend our membership best use this DVD?
SP: I think this DVD is an excellent introduction to the complex question of why Honest Weight isn’t just a really great place to shop! At its heart, the Co-op is an educational institution— bringing the Capital Region an awareness of the political economy of food and giving each of us the opportunity to make a difference in how our food is produced, marketed and consumed. I hope everyone at Honest Weight will show this DVD to friends and neighbors (and donate copies to schools, churches and other community organizations) to spread the word about how we can shop and eat in a sustainable way that supports our local economy and the environment.
EG: Buy a piece of cheese you’ve never bought before, sit down with family or friends, play the DVD and eat the cheese. A multisensory experience should ensue.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring media makers in the Capital District?
JM: 90% of success in life is simply by showing up and asking questions!BM: One great way, if you are truly dedicated to learning, is to join the Hudson Mohawk Independent Media collective (check it out at www.hm.indymedia.org) and share your expertise, whatever it is. Media making is a very collaborative and interdisciplinary affair—ultimately an extension of your own voice. I am struck by the relationship between cooperatively run food systems and cooperatively run media, where so-called ordinary citizens stand up and make Be the Media!