Our Top Ten Favorite Food and Farming Movies!

1. Food, Inc.

Food, Inc. lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing how our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced and who we have become as a nation.

2. The Future of Food

The Future of Food has been a key tool in the American and international anti-GMO grassroots activist movements and played widely in the environmental and activist circuits since its release in 2004. The film is widely acknowledged for its role in educating voters and the subsequent success of passing Measure H in Mendocino County, California, one of the first local initiatives in the country to ban the planting of GMO crops. Indicative of its popularity, the Future of Food showed to a sold out audience of 1,500 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in 2004, a benefit for Slow Food, where it was introduced by Alice Waters.   

In September 2005, The Future of Food made a highly acclaimed national theatrical premiere at Film Forum in New York, followed by a tour of more than a dozen major American cities in the fall. Applauded by technology writers, food policy experts and environmental activists, the film has been shown around the world—from a plaza in Oaxaca, Mexico to the Jerusalem Cinematheque, and in citizen screenings all over the world—from India, Kenya, and Bulgaria to Brazil and Indonesia. It screened at a wide variety of professional gatherings, including the Midwestern Organic Farmers Convention, the Organic Trade Association 2005 trade show and conference in Chicago, and the American Dietetic Association convention. Columbia and New York Universities showed it to their students.

3. The World According to Monsanto

Monsanto’s controversial past combines some of the most toxic products ever sold with misleading reports, pressure tactics, collusion, and attempted corruption. They now race to genetically engineer (and patent) the world s food supply, which profoundly threatens our health, environment, and economy. Combining secret documents with first-hand accounts by victims, scientists, and politicians, this widely praised film exposes why Monsanto has become the world s poster child for malignant corporate influence in government and technology. A film by Marie-Monique Robin. This DVD also includes a bonus film on rbGH by Jeffrey M. Smith, and the audio CD, Don t Put That in Your Mouth.

Buy it for your collection or watch the free online version here

4. Foodmatters

Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker.

Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally. In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several world leaders in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.

5. The Real Dirt on Farmer John

The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. An outcast in his community, Farmer John bravely stands amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and violence. By melding the traditions of family farming with the power of art and free expression, this powerful story of transformation and renewal heralds a resurrection of farming in America.

The film is a haunting odyssey, capturing what it means to be different in rural America. Director Taggart Siegel Collective Eye made the film in a most unusual way – shooting farmer John Peterson over 25-years of their evolving friendship, and using multiple media, from 8 mm home movies shot on the farm in the 50’s and 60’s to modern video — allowing him to capture his alternately humorous, heartbreaking and spirited life with raw drama and intimacy. 

With the death of his father during the late 60s, a teenaged John takes over the traditional family farm, slowly turning it into an experiment of art and agriculture, making it a haven for hippies, radicals and artists. The Real Dirt on Farmer Johncharts the end of this idealistic era as the farm debt crisis of the 80’s brings about the tragic collapse of the farm. 

As the intricate weave of rural America unravels, vicious local rumors turn John into a scapegoat, condemning him as a Satan-worshipping drug-dealer. Threatened with murder, his home burned to the ground, John forsakes his farm and wanders through Mexico, where he is transformed by the soulfulness and pageantry of this ancient land. Mysteriously, his quest leads him back to his hostile homeland. 

Defying all odds, he gradually transforms his land into a revolutionary farming community, a cultural mecca, where people work and flourish providing fresh vegetables and herbs to thousands of people every week. 

The Peterson family farm has become Angelic Organics, one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the United States, a beacon of today’s booming organic farming movement. 

6. One Man, One Cow, One Planet

What does an environmentally friendly biodynamic food system capable of feeding everyone actually look like? This film is a blueprint for a post-industrial future. It takes you into the heart of the world’s most important renaissance.

The outcome of the battle for agricultural control in India may just dictate the future of the earth. Modern industrial agriculture is destroying the earth: Desertification, water scarcity, toxic cocktails of agricultural chemicals pervading our food chains, ocean ecosystem collapse, soil erosion and massive loss of soil fertility.

Our ecosystems ore overwhelmed. Humanity’s increasing demands are exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity. A simple recipe to save the world? One old man and a bucket of cow-dung. Are you crazy?

Modern agriculture causes topsoil to be eroded at 3 million tons per hour. (that’s 26 billion tons a year) Human mass is replacing biomass and other species. The carrying capacity of the earth is almost spent. To maintain our comfort zone lifestyles we will soon need five earths to sustain us in the style to which we have become accustomed.

The mantra of free trade has failed the world’s poor. There is a better way. Biodynamic agriculture may be the only answer we have left.

Buy the film or watch it streaming for free here.

7. Farmageddon

Farmageddon – The Unseen War on American Family Farms is produced and directed by Kristin Canty, a mom of four, who couldn’t understand why the healthy food she wanted to buy for her family, was so hard to find.

Kristin said, about why she made this film, “I decided I needed to tell this story. My goal was to let these honest farmers using centuries old farming practices tell their side of the stories. So, I set out to make a film. Farmageddon is in no way meant to convince anyone to drink raw milk, or eat grass fed beef, but rather an argument to allow those that want to make those choices to do so. It is simply about freedom of food choice. The government needs to stop harassing small farmers, private food buying clubs and co- ops without food freedom…. we are not free.”

From the movie’s website, “Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.”

“Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods safely and free from unreasonably burdensome regulations. The film serves to put policymakers and regulators on notice that there is a growing movement of people aware that their freedom to choose the foods they want is in danger, a movement that is taking action with its dollars and its voting power to protect and preserve the dwindling number of family farms that are struggling to survive.”

8. Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Dr. Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, was concerned in the late 1960’s with producing “high quality” animal protein to bring to the poor and malnourished areas of the third world. While in the Philippines, he made a life-changing discovery: the country’s wealthier children, who were consuming relatively high amounts of animal-based foods, were much more likely to get liver cancer. Dr. Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, found that many of the diseases he routinely treated were virtually unknown in parts of the world where animal-based foods were rarely consumed.

These discoveries inspired Campbell and Esselstyn, who didn’t know each other yet, to conduct several groundbreaking studies. One of them took place in China and is still among the most comprehensive health-related investigations ever undertaken. Their research led them to a startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented – and in many cases reversed – by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. Despite the profound implications of their findings, their work has remained relatively unknown to the public. The filmmakers travel with Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn on their separate but similar paths, from their childhood farms where they both produced “nature’s perfect food”; to China and Cleveland, where they explored ideas that challenged the established thinking and shook their own core beliefs.

The idea of food as medicine is put to the test. Throughout the film, cameras follow “reality patients” who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments – while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.

9. King Corn

King Corn is a Peabody-winning, feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In the film, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat—and how we farm.

Visit the website for activist materials.

10. Supersize Me!

Fast food facts from the Super Size Me Web site

  • Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant
  • In 1972, we spent 3 billion a year on fast food – today we spend more than $110 billion
  • McDonald’s feeds more than 46 million people a day – more than the entire population of Spain
  • French fries are the most eaten vegetable in America
  • You would have to walk for seven hours straight to burn off a Super Sized Coke, fry and Big Mac
  • In the U.S., we eat more than 1,000,000 animals an hour
  • 60 percent of all Americans are either overweight or obese
  • One in every three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime
  • Left unabated, obesity will surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in America
  • Obesity has been linked to: Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, Adult Onset Diabetes, Stroke, Gall Bladder Disease, Osteoarthritis, Sleep Apnea, Respiratory Problems, Endometrial, Breast, Prostate and Colon Cancers, Dyslipidemia, steatohepatitis, insulin resistance, breathlessness, Asthma, Hyperuricaemia, reproductive hormone abnormalities, polycystic ovarian syndrome, impaired fertility and lower back pain
  • The average child sees 10,000 TV advertisements per year
  • Only seven items on McDonald’s entire menu contain no sugar
  • Willard Scott was the first Ronald McDonald – he was fired for being too fat
  • McDonald’s distributes more toys per year than Toys-R-Us
  • Diabetes will cut 17-27 years off your life
  • McDonald’s: “Any processing our foods undergo make them more dangerous than unprocessed foods”
  • The World Health Organization has declared obesity a global epidemic
  • Eating fast food may be dangerous to your health
  • McDonald’s calls people who eat a lot of their food “heavy users”
  • McDonald’s operates more than 30,000 restaurants in more then 100 countries on 6 continents
  • Before most children can speak they can recognize McDonald’s
  • Surgeon General David Satcher: “Fast food is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic”
  • Most nutritionists recommend not eating fast food more than once a month
  • 40 percent of American meals are eaten outside the home
  • McDonald’s represents 43% of total U.S. fast food market

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