Serious Green: Movies That Go Beyond Food Inc


This summer's Food, Inc. has brought food consciousness in the U.S. to a whole new level. If Food, Inc. made you hungry for more info on food production in the U.S., you should get your hands on one of the movies below. These films range in theme from school lunches to genetically modified foods. People can talk and write about food production and industrial feed lots till they're blue in the face, but seeing sometimes makes all the difference.

Food, Inc. was groundbreaking because it was the first enviro-food film to be screened at major movie theaters across the country. But the small, food-focused films that follow after the jump played at independent festivals and then never seemed to get wide distribution. Many are now available for viewing online or for purchase through Netflix or Amazon.

Another way to get a hold of these movies: Ask your library to buy a copy, or request a DVD from the movie's website and, where licensing agreements allow, set up a screening for your community.

If Food, Inc. Left You Depressed

Fresh: The Movie is the prefect follow-up screening to Food, Inc. because it shows the flip side--positive change being created by farmers, students, thinkers, and business people in the U.S. today. It'll make you want to get involved, too.

If You Want to See Communities Pulling Together

French Fries to Go documents Telluride, Colorado's quest to run city buses on recycled fryer oil.

Garden Cycles: Faces From the New Farm is the story of three women on a three-month bicycle-powered tour of urban gardens throughout the Northeast.

Polycultures: Food Where We Live looks at communities in Northeast Ohio that are coming together to grow a more sustainable, just, and local food system.

The Greening of Southie is about Boston's first LEED-certified residential green building and the way it affected a community.

Eating Alaska is a documentary by a vegetarian filmmaker who moves to Alaska and marries a hunter. The film looks at the ethics behind food choices and how politics, society, religion, and taste all play a role.

Sustainable Table: What's on Your Plate traces West Coast food production from field to table.

To Market to Market to Buy a Fat Pig tours outstanding farmers' markets from Baltimore to Hawaii.

The Real Dirt of Farmer John looks at one man and his family farm. Farmer John and his story will have you re-considering stereotypes about farmers.

The Garden examines the largest community garden in the U.S., 14 acres of green in South Central Los Angeles and the fight to keep it there.

If You Want to Get the Facts on Genetically Modified Food

The World According to Monsanto looks at this behemoth of a multinational agricultural biotech corporation and their dominace of patents on genetically engineered seeds and pesticides.

Seeds of Deception focuses on how genetically engineered food is making its way into our daily diets.

Bad Seed: The Truth About Our Food looks at who is controlling the world's food supply and the consequences of genetically modified food on health.

The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that affect what we eat and what we will eat in the future.

Food Matters takes a look at the often overlooked connection between food and our nation's current state of health. With the health-care debate raging, watching this film feels extra-timely and important.

If You Want to Get Closer to What's on Your Plate

King Corn investigates the staggering scale of the corn related food economy in the U.S. in an entertaining way. While you're at it check out Carey's quest to go corn free.

Two Angry Moms shows two angry (and awesome) moms striving to improve school lunch with simple changes, like having fresh fruits and vegetables included on cafeteria trays.

Our Daily Bread Unser Täglich Brot is shot like a high end art-house film sand hows minute after minute of shocking footage of industrial food production and high-tech farming.

Super Size Me now feels like a classic among all these newer films. Watch as Morgan Spurlock spends 30 days eating nothing but McDonald's while investigating the companies' extremely long reach into school cafeterias and countries around the world.

Media That Matters: Good Food is a collection of 16 short films on food and sustainability.

Keep Your Eyes Open For

The Greenhorns an upcoming film on enterprising, hopeful, and young farmers that are bringing an infusion of youth and a wave of excitement to the one of the oldest professions of all.

Finally, If You're Just Too Busy to Sit Down for a Feature-Length Film

Watch Fifth Graders from Elysian Charter School in Hoboken, New Jersey, sing, dance, and rock out (with costumes) to their original song Who Put that Burger on Your Plate?

Update 09-08-2009

Thanks everyone for chiming in with thoughts on more great food and environmental films in the comments. In addition to the movies you've mentioned, here are some additions that deserve to join the list:

Food Fight is a look at the development of American agriculture and policy in the 20th century and the birth of the counter-revolution of the local and organic foods movement.

Food Stamped follows a nutrition educator and her husband as they do their best to eat healthy food on a $50 week food stamp budget.

What's On Your Plate? is a documentary that follows two 11-year-old New Yorkers, Sadie and Safiyah, as they try to find out where the food on their plates comes from.