Seven Points on Earth, a documentary
UWinnipeg’s resident Mennonite Studies and history researcher, Dr. Royden Loewen has launched the documentary Seven Points on Earth, on iTunes and Amazon Prime. The film was originally released in May 2017 and was produced as a collaboration between Loewen and Paul Plett of Ode Productions.
Seven Points on Earth is an hour-long documentary, offering an unprecedented look at the challenge of farming around the world by focusing on how Mennonites have engaged with food production.
The film explores the lives and history of seven Mennonite farmers in seven communities: Apollonovka in Siberia; Matopos in Zimbabwe; Riva Palacio in Bolivia; Margorejo in Java; Friesland in the Netherlands; Washington County in Iowa; and the Rural Municipality of Rhineland in Manitoba.
“What inspired us to undertake research and oral histories in these seven places is that they capture the complexity and diversity not only of the Mennonite experience , but indeed of farming in vastly diverse climates, political contexts, and economic conditions,” said Loewen. “The diversity captured in the film is a sober reminder of the complex challenge of growing food in a rapidly changing world and changing natural climate.”
The Seven Points on Earth project began with a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant in 2013. The project involved seven students including graduate and post-graduate student research assistants, and interviews in seven languages. In 2016, a conference at UWinnipeg brought the seven researchers together to stage the first international conference on environmental history of the Mennonites. This conference was followed by a special issue of the Journal of Mennonites Studies, published in 2017, to highlight the findings of the seven researchers. The book Seven Points on Earth: The Mennonite Farmer and the Environment in the Twentieth Century World, written by Loewen, is expected to be published in 2020.