Current films about America’s farming industry tend toward the polemical with a direct message, usually that “factory farming” is bad, period. Graham Meriwether’s 2011 documentary, American Meat certainly reflects a clear philosophy, but unlike other advocates for change, his goal is not to vilify current practices, but to demonstrate that a sustainable, ethical, grass-based agricultural system is viable — and to encourage the next generation of farmers to achieve that goal.
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Meriwether will be at Washington University in St. Louis for a screening of his film and panel discussion featuring diverse opinions on the subject. The 82-minute film, introduced by Meriwether, will begin at 6 p.m. in Simon Hall, May Auditorium; the panel will follow and conclude at 8:30 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Washington University Dining Services and Bon Appetit. Meriwether’s 10-city tour to show the film is sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Panelists will include John Griffiths, the university’s executive chef; Peter Whisnant, president of Rain Crow Ranch; Ray Massey, PhD, extension professor in the University of Missouri–Columbia’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Commercial Agriculture Program. Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition, will moderate the program.
Attendees who arrive early will receive an added treat: WU Dining Services chefs will offer a small welcome BBQ featuring grass-fed beef donated by Rain Crow Ranch at 5:30 p.m. in the Simon Hall Courtyard.
Dining Services recently entered into an agreement to purchase all of its ground beef for campus meals from Rain Crow Ranch. This is part of a recent company-wide announcement made by Bon Appetit to source all of its loose ground beef and patties — more than a million pounds a year.
After graduating in 2002 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Meriwether moved to New York to start a film career. Two years later, he co-founded the small film company, Moose Productions. He serves as a director of the for-profit production company, Leave It Better, a video archive featuring green projects in New York City. In 2010, he created its non-profit arm, Leave It Better Foundation, which helps New York youth work on solutions to environmental problems.
For more information on the Assembly Series event, visit assemblyseries.wustl.edu or call 314-935-4620.