Last month, CCOF hosted a virtual screening of the critically acclaimed film Gather, a documentary directed by Sanjay Rawal. Gather tells the stories of Native Americans in the United States reclaiming and reigniting sacred connections to food and land through the traditional teachings of their elders as political, social, and economic forces threaten their ways of life.
Attendees included hundreds of CCOF-certified members, organic supporters, and representatives from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Gather sheds light on how the shadowed history of food sovereignty, land access, and colonization in the United States is linked directly to present-day agricultural and socioeconomic issues in our communities.
Rawal’s cinematography oeuvre is impressive, and his personal history hits close to home for CCOF members. During a live Q&A with our attendees after the screening, Rawal shared that his father was a lifelong tomato breeder in California, having worked for CCOF-certified operations throughout his career. Born and raised in the East Bay’s San Leandro, Rawal’s father bred California-grown tomatoes in fields just a stone’s throw away from his childhood home. Exposure to farming and plant breeding from an early age provided Rawal with an invaluable perspective on the agriculture industry and an understanding of the challenges farmers face both on and off the field–plus the know-how to grow a delicious tomato.
Screening attendees had more questions for Rawal than our time together permitted. Rawal answered questions ranging from how the 2020 West Coast fires affected indigenous communities to how recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is linked to reclaiming Native foodways and connecting to the land.
The CCOF community is grateful to director Sanjay Rawal and to funders of this film for making this screening possible. If you are interested in watching Gather with your staff, family, or socially distanced friend groups, you may book a screening.