Somewhere in Upstate New York (Sullivan County in the Catskill Mountains), an impossibly cute, Oscar-nominated actor gardens with his family. In a recent story he said, “I know all my neighbors. It’s beautiful and healthy, and in the winter there are blankets of snow covering the rolling hills. But I’m raising three kids up there, primarily because it’s supposed to be so clean, and all of a sudden I’m in the middle of a public health fight.”
The public fight he’s in the middle of is against fracking, the “controversial and potentially polluting natural gas extraction process by which tons of water are infused with chemicals.” Ruffalo says, “They blast the mixture underground at such high levels that it fractures the bedrock, which allows the natural gas to escape.”
He first learned about the fracking debate at his local farmers market, where he goes to buy the things that he and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, don’t grow in their own garden. (But they grow almost everything. They are those people. Asked to identify anything in his salad he could have harvested himself, he lists everything but the cheese.)
In Men’s Health we learn that the Ruffalos live in a 150-year-old post-and-beam barn on their 50 acres of secluded farmland. They spend a couple of months in that “healing place” every summer, and the Men’s Health reporter found him there “playing with the kids, Dad-erranding to town for supplies, and moving some rock and grading the entrances to the barn.”
So, it turns out the character Ruffalo played in “The Kids are All Right” – the laid-back grower of organic foods – was no stretch.
And now that we know that he’s a gardener/farmer in Update New York, where there just happens to be a GardenRanter nearby, a site visit and gardener interview are definitely in order. Michele, you have your assignment and this quote by Ruffalo offers a clue to approaching him: “You know, the people around here just work too damn hard to go to movies, which means that the guys at the local Agway are just as insulting to me now as they always have been. And I like that.” So just insult him like the local farmers do and you’re in! We want photos, too.
But back to fracking, it’s just one of many water issues he hopes to see people coalesce around. “Our idea is to go from city to city [and unite] whatever water groups are fighting mountaintop removal, or water scarcity, or gas drilling – anywhere that water is under attack, we host a concert there.” And here he is on “Need to Know” making his case.
To learn more about fracking, I’m putting the anti-fracking documentary Gasland in my Netflix queue. It’s also Oscar-nominated.