Life and thoughts from a small-scale organic farm . . . and its farmers

This is a blog that explores ideas around the growing of food and community at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grassroots Marketing and Inspired Visions

Given my activity on Twitter, I've started to get inquiries from promotional companies asking me to send out Tweets and write blog posts about products they are hired to promote.

Some of these inquiries are for small events; others are obvious examples of greenwashing.

Overall, given my background in Communication (academic and professional) prior to farming, I am curious and skeptical when I get a phone call from a promotions firm asking for my help in spreading word about a film.

So, when Collective Eye from Portland called last week asking to help spread the word about a new documentary about bees, I needed convincing. What I found was inspiring.

First, the documentary: Queen of the Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? This is a documentary that examines the disappearance of honey bees and looks at solutions to the current dilemma facing bees, beekeepers, farmers and all those who eat. These solutions are found in nature and sustainable agriculture, not in the lab or through a technological fix. The film sounds informed and inspiring while the visuals appear stunning.

Second, the promotions firm: Collective Eye. Actually, it's a small distributor for films that deal with social, political, environmental and spiritual issues. They're doing interesting work by contacting non-profits and farms with missions related to their films' content to help get out word to a target audience.

In some instances, this type of marketing makes my skin crawl. I see people unwittingly tweeting about products that are obvious greenwashing for companies. At the same time, I know that with social media, this type of marketing is increasingly prevalent. It's done well in some circumstances, and not in others.

I felt comfortable promoting Queen of the Sun. It's an important and inspiring examination of a problem we need to understand. If you see it, let me know what you think -- have I unwittingly helped spread word about a stinker? Based on the reviews I've read, I don't think that'll be the case.

Queen of the Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? premiers in Vancouver at the Denman Cinema on June 24th-30th.

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