Eco Wise

Local Film, Local Food, Local Fest

(The Washington Post)
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

When Katherine Lukaszewicz began work on "Organic Frederick," her documentary about the burgeoning organic food movement in Frederick County, she had neither a film degree nor a big budget. She simply had a passion for the subject, rooted in her journey to wellness through an all-natural diet.

Completed in late 2006, the 26-minute film features interviews with local folks involved in organic foods at all levels. It has screened on Frederick's cable channel 10 and at organizations throughout the community. On Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m., the film will be shown at the fifth annual D.C. Green Festival. Lukaszewicz, 36, spoke about food and the film.

Had you ever worked in film before?

No, but I had worked in marketing for 10 years and actually did have a graphics and writing background. . . . The reason I got interested in all this was that I got sick. I basically got chemical sensitivity, so I got interested in natural and organic stuff.

So organic food really turned your life around?

Oh, yes. I think a lot of people have things they kind of define themselves by . . . the things that kind of rule their lives, and for me, organics is one.

What was the goal of your film?

To educate people. . . . And another [reason] I made it was because a lot of people want to support something or help with something, and they don't know how. They don't think one person can do it. I tell them that by supporting organic produce, you're supporting organic agriculture, and by supporting organic agriculture, you're supporting a healthier environment. These foods are created without pesticides, without anything artificial.

How do you feel about the backlash against corporations that have started organic lines?

I don't like getting political or anything, but if the big companies want to make organic products, that's great, because they ha ve a big market out there and their consumers [will notice] the change.

Is the power of environmental films limited because viewers tend to already be interested in the issues?

I think the echoes are going to reverberate and ripple out through everybody. . . . I heard about organics, kind of digested it, in 1990-something. Then in 2004, I thought, "Maybe I should learn more. What can it do for me?" I think at some point, when people are ready, they're also going to ask, "What can it do for me?" Then they'll ask, "What can I do for it?"

-- Jenny Mayo

The D.C. Green Festival features screenings, speakers, music, yoga classes, food and more. Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW. 800-584-7336. $15; seniors, students, bicyclists, public transit riders, union members and book-drive participants $10; volunteers and children younger than 18 free.

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