Access is at the heart of 'Food Frontiers,' Leo Horrigan says

Leo Horrigan

Leo Horrigan

When they saw the views count rapidly rising on their YouTube Channel, Leo Horrigan and his team at the John Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future knew they were on to something.

It was the spring of 2012 and the center’s 34-minute film on sustainable agriculture was beginning to go viral. After a few successful years of rapid sharing and in-classroom screenings, their film “Out to Pasture” would reach more than 600,000 views.

“We usually don’t do a lot of things that reach that many people,” Horrigan says. “We thought films would be a good medium to reach a younger audience. We gained a lot of traction and we decided it would make sense to make another film.”

This time, Horrigan and his team would pivot from telling a story about food production to one about food access.

“[These] are the two areas we look at our center: the production of food and its environmental impact, and what kind of access people have to it.”

It was with this desire to tell the complete story that "Food Frontiers" was born — a 36-minute film about healthy food access that Horrigan is excited to take to this year’s One Earth Film Festival.

“To be recognized by the festival is very gratifying,” Horrigan says. “I was really happy because we have seen the connection between climate change and the food system for over 20 years. Now, other people are starting to see it, too.”

When the festival screens the film on Wednesday, March 8 at Chicago’s Harper Theater, Horrigan will be in attendance. He hopes the film will help reinforce an already vibrant grassroots movement.

“The six projects showcased in Food Frontiers have a lot of history and a lot support behind them,” Horrigan says. “Healthy food access is a nonpartisan issue. The momentum will not be easily squashed.”

—Johnny Figel

Wednesday, March 8, 7-9 p.m. [South]
Harper Theater, 5238 S. Harper Ave., Chicago
Admission $4
(will screen with Power to the Pedals)

Please stay for the post-film discussion with Power to the Pedals independent Filmmaker Bob Nesson and Food Frontiers co-producer Leo Horrigan(Center for Livable Future). Concrete options for action will be available with local organizations such as the Experimental Station (building independent cultural infrastructure) Blackstone Bicycle Works and 61st Farmers Market.

Co-presented by the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and the South East Chicago Commission.