Since I last spoke to director Graham Meriwether about his documentary American Meat, we’ve experienced the Occupy movement, a long, grinding national campaign season, and another brutally hot summer of record-shattering drought, wildfire, and storms. Throughout that time, Meriwether and crew have been traveling the country showing American Meat at Future Farmers of America chapters, high schools, and universities, having conversations with folks invested in every corner of the food system, from sustainable to conventional, small-scale to large. The film explores ways to make America’s meat healthier for producers, eaters, and the environment, shedding light on the struggles and successes of several types of farmer.
Meriwether says the documentary’s first goal is to thank America’s farmers -- particularly the younger ones. As they’ve been on the road, Meriwether and his team have been producing short video portraits of young farmers around the country, which they plan to eventually use for their next film.
Meriwether just kicked off a 100-screening tour (10 screenings each in 10 mainly farm states). American Meat didn’t premiere in New York City, and Meriwether didn't submit it to any film festivals; he wanted to bring it to the kinds of places where he feels the film can have the most impact. We caught up with him between shows in Missouri to hear the latest.