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Description from Culture Unplugged:

“Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story” is a film about the “unintended consequences” of farming practices on water quality, soil loss and the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an oxygen-deprived area where fish and shrimp cannot survive. Excess nitrogen, phosphorous and fertilizers essential to the growth of plants are contaminating the nation’s rivers, lakes and aquifers at the same time as precious soils wash away. The film features concerned farmers, scientists and citizens who are seeking solutions that will help meet the goals of an ambitious, food-producing nation while ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of its most precious natural resources

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Yesterday the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History showed two screenings of “Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story”, a documentary which relies on undisputed scientific facts to narrate how fertilizers used by industrial agriculture make their way into the water systems and the Mississippi River, and ultimately create a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite contracting the film, the University had initially blocked the release of “Troubled Waters” and held it from being broadcast Oct. 5 on Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), claiming that its narrative was based on questionable science — even as news emerged that vice president for university relations Karen Himle’s husband runs a public relations firm representing agricultural clients in Minnesota. Himle was who initially pulled the plug on the movie airing on TPT tomorrow.Following the initial screening, The UpTake spoke to director Larkin McPhee about “Troubled Waters”, the role that sustainable farming can play in protecting our water systems, and the controversy over the University’s handling of the movie. We also spoke to several panelists who spoke following the screening, including Louisiana marine scientist Nancy Rabalais, sustainable farmer Jack Hedin and the university’s director of the institute on the environment Jonathan Foley.

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