I am writing in response to Mr. Franson’s article ("Film festival flick ruffles local feathers," Nov. 13) about my documentary "Food Chains," which opened the Napa Valley Film Festival. His story about the event and panel discussion does not reflect my experience and those of a number of growers and vintners with whom I had wonderfully constructive conversations.
My film does criticize Napa for no longer being the gold standard for the treatment of farmworkers. I feel that a program out of Florida, the Fair Food Program, which is highlighted in Food Chains, is that gold standard. For their achievements, the Fair Food program creators, the CIW, received President Clinton’s annual award at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative.
The festival invited my film to be screened with a follow-up discussion in the spirit of dialogue. The event sponsor, Mayor [John] Dunbar [of Yountville], noted his decision to sponsor the night despite the critical nature of my film, choosing conversation over censorship.
Mr. Franson’s article quotes an unnamed vintner critical of the Festival’s inclusion of the film. But by not asking me for a comment or response, Mr. Franson portrays the Growers Association as an opponent of the kind of change for farmworkers that I am promoting when, in fact, I have had a number of deep exchanges with members of the association on how best to support farmworkers. The CIW and I support needed changes that will be a win-win for retailers, growers and farmworkers.