Films about agriculture
A group of friends become curious about the sustainability of their eating regiments. They instigate a challenge, and send filmmaker Yasi Gerami off on a quest to investigate the sustainability of their eating ideologies. The friends come from different backgrounds and live in Toronto, Canada, but the inquiry takes the story of their food around the globe. As Gerami digs deeper, she realises the inconvenient truths not only about the environmental catastrophes caused by our dependence on mainstream food production methods, but also by the cataclysmic social justice impact of our eating habits in the global south. The film unfolds some popular myths on topics such as plant-based diets, healthy and nutritional foods, ethical eating, food politics, industrial agriculture, and how to attain a sustainable food culture. Sustenance helps the viewer discover these themes, prompting the viewer to question where our food really comes from, and how it genuinely affects the health of other people, other species, and ultimately the entire planet.
Artifishal is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and this culture’s relentless pursuit of engineering, mechanisation, and commodification in the face of environmental collapse. The film shows how fish hatcheries and fish farms threaten wild salmon populations, which in-turn has wide effects on the rest of the environment, but instead of helping wild salmon recover, this culture powers on with hatcheries and farms at great cost, both economically and ecologically. Artifishal explores the process, and what’s at stake if this culture continues its destructive path.
Half of all marine life has been lost in the last 40 years. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. The way the ocean is different to how we thought 100 years ago. We can no longer think of it as a place of resources, a dumping ground, immune to change or decline. Blue takes us on a journey into the ocean realm, witnessing the critical moment of our time when the marine world is on the precipice. Passionate advocates for ocean preservation take us into their world where the story of the changing ocean unfolds. We meet those who are defending habitats, campaigning against exploitative commercial fishing, combating marine pollution, and fighting for the protection of keystone species. Blue comes at a time where decisions made today will pave the legacy for what we leave behind for generations to come.
Miraculous and vital, Seed—The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers that are tirelessly working to protect a 12,000 year-old food legacy. For only in the last century, 94% of seed varieties have disappeared, as biotech and chemical companies rapaciously took over control over the majority of the world’s food seeds. Farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight literally a battle for life to defend the future of food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these heroes rekindle a lost connection to a treasured source of life, and revive a culture connected to food, and the Earth.
In the past 40 years, global consumption of fish has doubled. Having decimated natural fish populations globally, the industrial food system has turned to mass-scale farming practices in order to sustain the unsustainable, supplying huge supermarket chains and commercial food outlets with cheap processed fish products. What do we know about this and these processes? And what of the lives of the fish? What about their health and the health of the waters in which they’re taken? Fillet-Oh!-Fish is the result of yet another indictment of the industrial food system, agriculture and factory farming—all of which have egregious implications to the health and well-being of species, and the planet as a whole. We see myriad mixes of pesticides and other chemicals, leading to toxic rivers and streams, the pervasiveness of the industrial food system, with glimpses into working conditions and processing methods, as well as the perniciousness of globalisation, with the world-wide reach of this crazy system that has hijacked a fundamental life-giver: food.
Salmon Confidential follows renowned biologist Alexandra Morton as she finds that wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with industrial salmon farming worldwide, and then, how a chain of events is set off by the Canadian government to suppress the findings. Scientists are gagged, research suppressed, evidence not allowed. With the industrial fish farms having moved into Morton’s neighbourhood in the late 1980s, since then, there has been a serious decline in wild salmon in the region. So, tracking her findings, the film follows Morton and her team as they move from courtrooms, to Canada’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery stores and sushi restaurants, providing insights into the workings of government agencies tasked with managing the ‘safety of fish and food supply,’ that always seem to put industry and the needs of corporations over the natural world, time and time again. Salmon Confidential becomes a call to action to help save the wild salmon from these atrocities, before they’re completely wiped out forever.
With a lens of torturous mechanistic science, as well as the commercial perspective from farmers and commodity bee-keepers alike, More Than Honey is a film about the insanity of industrial agriculture and the consequential collapse of honeybee populations throughout the world. By looking through some of the industrial operations in California, Switzerland, China and Australia, More Than Honey is a visual exploration of colony collapse, drawing attention to the many symbiotic relationships that go unrecognised and uncared for by industrial operations and commercial food practices. If bees are so important to the health of so many other species of animals and plants and foods, how can we stand by and allow them to be killed?
The Dust Bowl is a four part series that chronicles the worst human-induced environmental disaster in history. A frenzied wheat boom, followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s, destroyed much of the American and Canadian prairies through wind erosion. Blizzards killed agricultural crops and animals, threatened many other lives and forced thousands of people to pack up and move somewhere else. The series shows vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors from the dust storms, combined with dramatic photographs and footage from the era, recounting the stories of incredible human suffering at the hands of industrial agriculture—a linear system that destroys top-soil and exploits the land for quick surplus. The series also reveals a morality tale about how this culture exploits the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril.
Earth at Risk documents the first conference of the same name convened in 2011 by featured thinkers and activists who are willing to ask the hardest questions about the seriousness of the situation facing life on the planet today. Each speaker presents an impassioned critique of the dominant culture, together building an unassailable case that we need to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor, and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. Each offers their ideas on what can be done to build a real resistance movement—one that can actually match the scale of the problem. To fight back and win. Literally, the whole world is at stake.
In 2006, newspapers around the United States began to publicise a unnerving phenomenon. Honeybees were a mysteriously disappearing from beehives all around the nation. Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? investigates the multiple angles of this epidemic. It also explores the historical and contemporary relationship between bees and humans, showing alternative and inspiring beekeepers from all around the globe as they keep bees in natural and holistic ways. From Gunther Hauk in the United States to Massimo Carpinteri in Italy, each has unique philosophical and spiritual insights into their bees and are striving to keep their bees safe from pesticides, and the other causes behind colony collapse.
Poisoned Waters investigates some of the root causes of what we see worldwide with ecological collapse, dead-zones and pollution effecting oceans, rivers and watersheds. With a focus on major waterways in the United States such as the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, the film follows the culmination of decades of evidence that today’s systemic and growing environmental collapse comes not only from the toxic activities of industry, agriculture and massive suburban development; but also from the permeated satiety of chemicals in prolific consumer products such as face-creams, deodorants, prescription medicines and household cleaners. This is a startling reminder of the compounding threat facing our world and the need to act imperatively.
Across the globe, this culture is polluting, diverting, pumping and wasting fresh water at a crazy rate, as population grows and technology escalates. The rampant expansion of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the limited supply, resulting in the desertification of the Earth. Corporate giants force developing countries to privatise their water supply for profit, Wall Street investors target desalination and mass bulk-water export schemes, while governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water emerges and a new geo-political map and power structure forms, setting the stage for global conflict over fresh water. Blue Gold follows numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases to United Nations conventions, to revised constitutions, to local protests at grade schools, to complete revolutions. A line is crossed when water is a commodity. Will you fight to stop it and protect it?
Bananas!* documents the legal battle of banana plantation workers in Nicaragua against the Dole Food Company over cases of sterility caused by the pesticide DBCP. The chemical, despite being banned, was knowingly sprayed on crops and workers. The result is the same old battle with corporate power as the film unpacks the issues of the case and the lives of the workers through the local lawyer Juan Dominguez. Dominguez bridges the gap between the rapacious North American company and the South American workers who were not told about or protected from the pesticide, to make a claim against one of the largest corporations in the world for justice for its workers.
Bees are the number one insect pollinator on the planet, helping the reproduction of many species of plants—apples, berries, cucumbers, nuts, cabbages, cotton—all of which industrial agriculture blindly relies on. But the bees are dying in their millions. Empty hives have been reported across the globe. In England, the matter has caused bee-keepers to march on parliament to call for research. But perhaps we can know what’s going on already. Who Killed The Honey Bee? is a mainstream-media investigation into the collapse of bee populations from a tragic anthropocentric perspective, travelling across the farms of California to the flatlands of East Anglia to the outback of Australia. The film-makers talk to bee-keepers whose livelihoods are threatened by colony collapse disorder, to scientists that are looking at the problem, to Australian bee-keepers who are making a fortune replacing dying bees in other countries for industrial agriculture. Is the reason for declining bee populations due to some kind of plague, pesticides, malnutrition or combination of these? Or is the real underlying answer something more fundamental?
What does the corporate-controlled food industry look like? Film-maker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on today’s food industry, exposing the underbelly that has been hidden from view of the consumer with the cooperation of government regulatory agencies such as the USDA and FDA. The food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the farmer, the safety of workers and of course, the environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad. But we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually; are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children; and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. And the whole mess is exacerbated by opportunistic politics—the tools of Big Agriculture running the very regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect the public—and consumers who have become accustomed to eating whatever they want whenever they want, in quantities they don’t need…
The Planet is a stylised observational video commentary that brings together an overview of the many global changes set about by industrial civilisation. Viewed through the myriad connections between consumerism and the false notion of a perpetually expanding economy on a finite planet, the film peers across the globe to reveal systemic exploitation; species extinction driven by industrial agriculture, logging, mining, manufacturing, pollution, the age of oil and plastic, etc; climate change; carrying capacity and population growth; while also positing that we—as in you and me—can do something, anything, to stop the destruction.
King Corn follows two college friends curious about the food system, as they decide to have a shot at farming an acre of corn. In the process, the two examine the role that the increasing production of corn has had across not only on the concepts of industrial food, but the health of the land, the health of the environment, and the health of people. The film spotlights the role of government subsidies which make huge monocrops of corn possible, which itself has—as industrial agriculture—a catastrophic ecological impact, but in-turn drives factory-farming of animals and other atrocities such as the production of high-fructose corn syrup which is saturated throughout industrial food, not least, fast-food. We see how this industrialisation has eliminated the family farm and local food production—things which are increasingly impossible in this brutal arrangement of corporate power.
Is genetic engineering really dangerous? The manufacturers claim that genetically modified food “produces higher yields, fights world hunger, and reduces the need for pesticides.” But at what cost? Following the Trail questions whether any solid testing has been done to determine the safety and risks of genetically engineered foods and examines evidence to test the veracity of the claims made by genetic engineering corporations that the foods produce ‘higher yields, fight world hunger’ etc…
Bullshit follows environmental activist Vandana Shiva as she travels around the world to in her quest to eliminate the use of genetically modified foods and seeds in her home country of India and other developing countries. Shiva argues that the “ownership of life” through the patenting of natural products, namely grains altered through genetic modification (GMOs), is not in our best interests, and is in fact harmful to agriculture in developing countries…
Is the human population going to outstrip the Earth’s food supply? The effects of modern agriculture not only lead to a short term food surplus which quickly slipped as population boomed, but agriculture itself causes huge environmental problems such as soil erosion, salinity and chemical pollution—all further illustrating an impossible system in perpetuity. Food or Famine looks at projects in North America, Chile, Indonesia, Africa and India which are participating in a worldwide movement to return to local food growing methods based on the land and healthy ecological principles. The film also examines the worldwide imbalance between food consumption and production, stoking the need to confront the mounting challenges ahead…
Thanks Girls and Goodbye recounts the story of a group of women who worked on farms during the Second World War in Australia, dubbed “the land girls.” Officially established by the government in 1942, the Australian Women’s Land Army was set up to help fill the shortage of people-power in agriculture. Its story is symbolic of a far-greater number of women who participated in the vital activity of food production during the war. Through interviews with former Land Army members, combined with home-movies, photographs, original Land Army songs and archival newsreels, Thanks Girls and Goodbye presents an engaging account of women and work against the backdrop of world war.