“Growth or decay?” For decades, Austrian agriculture has been characterized by this motto. Farmers today have expanded, specialized, invested and intensified, or gone out of business. There are few self-determined food producers remaining. Embedded in EU policy is a system of constraints, dependencies and propaganda which is stifling this industry.
Director, Robert Schabus, remains unbiased as he documents the untarnished status of Austrian farming businesses and the people that run them, from small organic holdings to conventional industrial agriculture. The farmers represent very different aspects of the industry but are all united in the expressing their biggest concern: we cannot continue this way, something does not add up. The industry manta of “faster, cheaper, more” being questioned.
Efficiency is not a strong-point for our agricultural system. 40% of the current worldwide farm produce are wasted or lost somewhere en route to the consumer. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, we have the capacity to feed 12 billion people without making too radical a change to our system, simply by a more sustainable distribution and use of food.
This film shows how, increasingly, society and policy are surrendering to the demands of the industry. It is not auspicious footage, but nevertheless has moments of hope. For instance, vegetable and cattle farmer Simon Vetter is proud to be a farmer that knows his customers and to endure increasing alienation. “Exit?” is a film that will encourage you to pop over to the local farm and enjoy indigenous food, and to become a better consumer overall.