Local Earth Day celebrants can turn to the silver screen this year, with the Monadnock Food Co-op forgoing its usual outdoor celebration in favor of a three-day virtual film festival.
The inaugural Monadnock Earth Day Film Festival — which begins Thursday, Earth Day — was organized by a trio of area organizations: the co-op, the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition and Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF).
Registration for the festival is free, and viewers will be able to choose from a selection of 21 films on topics like sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and electric vehicles. The lineup includes both short and feature-length films, in addition to offerings for children.
Most of them can be watched at any point during the three-day festival, according to Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition Director Roe-Ann Tasoulas.
Tasoulas said her organization, which is based in Walpole and brings together local farms and environmental groups working toward food sustainability, began working with the co-op and MONIFF — both in Keene — late last year to develop the climate-focused film festival. Timing the event to coincide with Earth Day made sense, she said, since the co-op is not hosting its usual Monadnock Earth Day Festival at Railroad Square for the second straight year due to COVID-related concerns.
“We were already planning to go ahead and join forces,” Tasoulas said.
Three of the films will be accompanied by discussions with the filmmakers and local climate experts, streamed live at scheduled times this week. One of them, titled “First We Eat,” is about a family living near the Arctic Circle that banned grocery-store food from their house for a year and relied only on locally sourced fare. (A fourth panel discussion was prerecorded and will be available starting Thursday.)
Tasoulas said she hopes the films inspire Monadnock Region residents to consider local solutions to issues like climate change and food sustainability.
“We get to talk about these questions and how we can move forward in a really innovative way,” she said.
Registration for the festival and a full listing of featured films is available online at www.monadnockfood.coop/co-op-updates/earthfestival/