The fifth Annual Green Issues Summer Movie Series, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and the Wabash College Library, held its July session with a well-attended screening of "Vegucated" (2011).

"Vegucated" is a funny and entertaining documentary about veganism--a form of vegetarianism. Unlike more typical vegetarians, vegans don't eat any animal-based foods (e.g. no eggs, milk, butter, or honey) and don't wear any animal-based clothing (ie.no leather, wool, or silk). The film earned Best Documentary at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and Official Selection at the 2012 UK Green Film Festival. Vegugated was narrated, written and directed by Marissa Miller Wolfson, a native of Evansville, Indiana

The documentary's subtitle captures the plot: "Three people, six weeks, one challenge". After moving to New York City, Wolfson runs a Craig's List advertisement seeking three people willing to accept the challenge of "going vegan" for six weeks. From the 25 candidates she interviewed, Wolfson selected three from diverse demographics. None of these three vegans-to-be had prior experience on a vegetarian diet. Would they last on a vegan diet for six weeks?

The film explores numerous issues related to veganism. Topics include family and social meal dynamics, the health benefits of a plant-based diet, animal welfare concerns, and the environmental impact of one's food choices. Some of these issues are addressed in a light-hearted way, with a mock game-show "Is it Vegan?" and countless spontaneous quips and hilarious facial expressions. At other times, the tone turns somber, even chilling, with graphic images of meat and egg production and grim forecasts about problems like greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, forest destruction, and unsustainable human population growth.

The audience's discussion reflected the multifaceted issues addressed in "Vegucated", as well as the documentary's humor and heavy moments. Discussion facilitator Nestor Matthews (a 23-year vegan) noted the humor offered in vegan body-builder Kenneth Williams' motto: "Go vegan, and nobody gets hurt."

On the on the hand, some audience members believed the film to be biased, particularly in the selection of harsh images from animal-based food production. Additionally, others in the audience found the vegan lifestyle "elitist" with footage of expensive-looking vegan gourmet dishes from trendy Manhattan restaurants.

The lively discussion concluded with a long time vegan audience member observing that the vegan lifestyle has become more achievable in recent decades, given organic and health-food sections in many supermarkets, "even Walmart!"

More information about "Vegucated " can be found at the film's website www.getvegucated.com.

The next Green Issues movie will be "The World According to Monsanto" on Tuesday, August 5, follow by So Right, So Smart on Wednesday, September 3. Both movies will be shown in Korb classroom of the Wabash College Fine Arts Center on South Grant Street at 7 p.m. The League of Women Voters and Wabash College Library offer this series at no cost, and all are welcome to attend.



The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join LWV where hands-one work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmontco.org, send a message to LWV, P.O. Box 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933 or e-mail LWVMontco@gmail.com.