The Oyster Farmers & How Oysters Revitalize Native Waters

Shellfisher Preserve


Tuesday, December 21, 2021
6:00pm – 8:00pm








LI AgriCULTURE: Celebrating Local Foods with the Power of Film

FREE Online Film Screening with Zoom Panel Discussion and Q&A with Long Island Oyster Farmers

Presented by Cinema Arts Centre in partnership with Long Island Oyster Growers Association, ChooseLI and the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning and made possible with support from the Long Island Community Foundation

For the next installment of the LI AgriCULTURE series, we will be taking a look at aquaculture industry on Long Island and the East Coast. With this program, we will be presenting a free online screening of the feature documentary film ‘The Oyster Farmers’, and the local documentary short ‘How Oysters Revitalize Native Waters’ - along with a panel discussion and Q&A with Long Island oyster farmers.

The Oyster Farmers: Oysters were once a staple for people in the north east USA, until over harvesting and disease decimated the oysters. Today, a new hope rises through the work of a solitary few: The Oyster Farmers. The feature length documentary, ‘The Oyster Farmers’, explores the plight of the oyster, offering a keyhole view of human impact on the environment. Following the oyster from proliferation, to decimation, to resurgence, the story parallels the presence of the Baymen and Baywomen working the water for the last four centuries. Through a dynamically fluid visual esthetic, the undercurrent of the film's driving force, an ethos of environmental stewardship flows throughout the film. With 90% of seafood imported in the US, the sustainable seafood movement both local and global is in the hand of the Oyster Farmers. They are bringing the bounty- back from seed to farm to plate.

How Oysters Revitalize Native Waters: Chuck Westfall farms Blue Point oysters on the south shore of Long Island, where the shellfish have been overharvested nearly to extinction. In this video, Westfall discusses the environmental benefits of an oyster farm: a single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of toxic water a day; a cluster of them forms a reef that provides a safe haven for marine life and attracts game fish. A partnership between Pew and The Nature Conservancy purchased many of Westfall’s oysters for oyster restoration sites in New York, where waters once teemed with the helpful and popular shellfish.

This program includes an online panel discussion and Q&A with local Long Island oyster farmers. The December 21st panel will feature:

Sue Wicks, Violet Cove Oyster Company

• Chuck Westfall, Thatch Island Oyster Farm

• Elizabeth Peeples, Little Ram Oysters

• Moderated by August Ruckdeschel of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning

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