On the production line in American packinghouses, there is one cardinal rule: the chain never slows. Every year, the chain conveyors that set the pace of slaughter have continually accelerated to keep up with America’s growing appetite for processed meat. Journalist Ted Genoways uses the story of Hormel Foods and soaring recession-era demand for its most famous product, Spam, to probe the state of the meatpacking industry, including the expansion of agribusiness and the effects of immigrant labor on Middle America.
For The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, Genoways interviewed scores of industry line workers, union leaders, hog farmers, and local politicians and activists. He reveals an industry pushed to its breaking point and exposes alarming new trends: sick or permanently disabled workers, abused animals, water and soil pollution, and mounting conflict between small towns and immigrant workers.
Blue Gold: American Jeans is a feature-length documentary about how one unlikely garment ended up connecting us all. Following vintage jeans hunter Eric Schrader around the world, Blue Gold searches for the reason we all wear blue mining pants from the late 1800s.
An ambassador of Americana, Eric trades in the history, myth, and intrinsic values that have made blue jeans the most expensive and fetishized piece of vintage clothing on the planet. From fashion history and subculture aspiration to the lost tradition of American manufacturing, Blue Gold explores Americana in our globalized world, where cultural exchange and social responsibility demand greater transparency and inspire innovation.
Blue Gold: American Jeans will have its festival premiere at The Berkshire International Film Festival this weekend -- screening at 11:30am on Saturday at The Beacon in Pittsfield and again at 11:30am on Sunday at The Triplex in Great Barrington.
When journalist Tracie McMillan saw foodies swooning over $9 organic tomatoes, she couldn’t help but wonder: What about the rest of us? Why do working Americans eat the way we do? And what can we do to change it? To find out, McMillan went undercover in three jobs that feed America, living and eating off her wages in each.
Planning efforts surrounding economic development through the life sciences and transportation in the Berkshires are about to head into their next stages.
The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is asking county residents to weigh in on planning efforts examining potential station locations for North-South passenger rail between Pittsfield and the state border with Connecticut, as part of a $240,000 federal grant.
Several school districts in Massachusetts are receiving funding to improve vocational and technical training programs as part of a state sponsored grant program to prepare students for the modern workforce.
Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter, Michael Moss, from The New York Times joins us to tell the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic.
Moss reveals how companies use Salt, Sugar, and Fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.
Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches through the ruins for clues to its fate, his family’s, and his own in his new book Detroit: An American Autopsy.
If Detroit is America’s vanguard in good times and bad, then here is the only place to turn for guid¬ance in our troubled era. While redemption is thin on the ground in this ghost of a city, Detroit: An American Autopsy is no hopeless parable. LeDuff shares an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer. Detroit is a dark comedy of the absurdity of American life in the twenty-first century, a deeply human drama of colossal greed and endurance, ignorance and courage.