On March 13, Director Deborah Koons Garcia was invited to speak at The Merwin Conservancy in Maui, HI for the Green Room series. Here is a recount of her experience there.
I continue to find myself in some truly wonderful situations because this film. The highlight of this year was traveling to Maui, Hawaii with my dear friend Molly Jones, who worked on Symphony of the Soil and The Future of Food with me, to do a screening for The Green Room series which benefits The Merwin Conservancy. Forty years ago the esteemed poet WS Merwin moved to Hawaii, built himself an off-the-grid wooden house, continued his studies of Zen Buddhism, wrote beautiful poetry and started what would become The Merwin Conservancy, nearly 20 acres of palm trees from all over the world. It is considered the premier collection of palm trees in the world. William and his wife, Paula, live right in the Conservancy in their beautiful wooden house.
The screening in Maui was an especially moving experience for me because this past November the citizens of Maui passed a measure that bans the growing of any genetically engineered crops on the island. Naturally the corporations are fighting this. The citizens along with their allies such as the Center for Food Safety are fighting to make this ban stick. The screening was full of organic farmers, activists, friends and people who love poetry, especially the fine poetry that William writes. It was a real honor to have William and Paula in the audience and I was pleased that they enjoyed the film as well as the lively discussion afterwards. It was especially wonderful to bring to a wider audience awareness of the good work that William and Paula have been doing for all these years.
The very best part of my visit to Hawaii was the visit that Molly and I made to the Conservancy. Jason Denhart, Executive Director of The Merwin Conservancy, gave us a comprehensive and fascinating tour of the palm trees. Then we had a lovely visit with William and Paula on their porch overlooking the trees. William is 88 and Paula is a bit younger and it was a joy to talk with them about our mutual interests including meditation, Buddhism, activism, dogs, poetry and life. They bring together art, love of nature and social conscience in such a loving way. William was Poet Laureate of the United States twice and has won the Pulitzer Prize. He’s one of the most esteemed poets in the world and he’s dedicated his life to creating beauty in his work with words and tree planting. I consider it one of the fruits of my labor to find myself in the presence of such good and productive spirits.
-Deborah Koons Garcia, Director/Producer
Symphony of the Soil
The Future of Food