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Omahans create documentary about urban farming

Have a patio garden? Growing Cities says you're a farmer.
Andrew Monbouqette and Dan Susman release trailer of Growing Cities.
Published on April 17, 2012

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Last Thursday, the downtown studio of artist Watie White was beyond packed. Not to check out new prints, but to check out the work of two young Omahans determined to wake their city up to the growing (pun fully intended) movement of urban farming. 

Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette amassed over 140 hours of film shot across the country over the span of three months. They interviewed urban farmers from cities including San Francisco, Austin, and Detroit, visiting more than 80 farms to get a feel for what it means to try to grow food in the city, and it’s all getting compressed into a documentary called Growing Cities. Susman and Monbouquette released the film’s trailer at their Kickstarter event on Thursday.

Haven’t heard of Kickstarter? This won’t be the last time you’ll run across it. With more and more artists following their craft independent of labels, publishing houses, and big-name studios, Kickstarter is a place for creatives to fundraise online, well, creatively. Susman and Monbouquette put the Growing Cities trailer online and added an amusingly corny pitch (think Monopoly money and Dr. Evil) to bookend the more serious bits of the video. If they charm enough viewers into becoming donators, the duo will have raised $35,000 by May 16 and will then proceed to take Growing Cities into post-production. If, however, May 16 comes and goes without hitting that financial goal, it’s Monopoly time again: You may not pass Go, you may not collect $200 — er — $35,000.

That’s correct. It’s all or nothing. "If we don’t reach at least the goal we post, we don’t get any of it," Susman said. "It adds a sort of urgency to the fundraising." With May 16 less than 30 days away, one could say that’s a fair statement.

"An urban farmer is someone growing food somewhere." So says the trailer. "We’re not asking people to grow everything. We’re saying grow something." By producing Growing Cities, Monbouqette and Susman seem to be taking their own advice.

C.WolfgangChris Wolfgang is a freelance writer for newspaper and magazine. She is loving the entrepreneurial spirit of Omaha and will discuss comics or sci-fi any time.

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