What Is DIRT?
DIRT is an award-winning documentary about soil ecology and conservation that tells the story of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet. Inspired by William Bryant Logan’s acclaimed book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, the movie takes a humorous and substantive look into the history and current state of the matter that supports us every day.
“Soil is one of our greatest yet most endangered resources,” says Joanne de Vries, FOF founder and CEO. “It sustains the Okanagan’s natural beauty, its agriculture industry and, in great part, its tourism industry. The preservation and enhancement of soil will ensure our continued well-being in these and other key social, cultural, environmental, and economic areas.”
What Is Talking DIRTy X10,000?
Joanne was so moved by a screening of DIRT at one of FOF’s REEL CHANGE SustainAbility Film Fests, that she announced to the audience that she would arrange for 10,000 area residents to see the documentary before 10:10 pm October 10, 2010.
The resulting project — Talking DIRTy x10,000 — engaged people from the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors, and the general public, as sponsors, promoters, organizers, screening hosts, guest experts and filmgoers.
The project was a way to focus on three of the Okanagan's greatest attributes — its natural beauty (which wouldn't exist without healthy soil), agricultural industry (which also wouldn't exist without healthy soil), and tourism industry (which wouldn't exist without either natural beauty or agriculture). As the film so aptly argues... “the preservation and enhancement of our soil will ensure our continued well-being in these and other key social, cultural, environmental, and economic areas.”
Although FOF hosted a project launch and screenings in communities throughout the Okanagan, the primary thrust of the campaign was to enable and encourage individuals and groups to host their own events. We supplied interested parties with a free DVD, a Screening Kit, and a list of potential guest experts who could attend the events to generate meaningful dialogue following the screening.
Getting the Word Out
FOF uses community-based social marketing to educate and inspire. Talking DIRTy x10,000 was magical from a social marketing perspective in that it addressed a hot topic; included a big, hairy, audacious goal; had a tight timeline; and it was possible for the whole community to engage.
In keeping with social marketing practices, Talking DIRTy x10,000 was also ideally poised to conduct dirt-related behavioural research. Each Screening Kit included surveys to identify participants’ existing behaviors, and checklists to prompt more sustainable ways.
What Was the Result of the Campaign?
Even though we didn’t quite make the 10,000 mark, approximately 4,000 people saw the film as a result of the campaign, including more than 1,000 elementary and high school students. If each of these 4,000 viewers inspired ten more people, a large percentage of the area’s population are now "getting down and dirty" to preserve and enhance soil, one of our greatest yet most endangered natural resources.