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A cow stands in a field on a modern farm as the sun goes down. Practices on farms like this are part of the discussion surrounding sustainable food.

Sustainable Food Documentaries: What Can We Learn?

On November 15, 2022, the date this article was written, the UN announced that the world population reached 8 billion. Sustainable food production is key to the next phase of human survival. We’ve over-used natural food resources to the point of extinction. We have polluted the air, land, and seas and changed the earth’s climate in the process.

Industrial revolution is over. Now, if we want to survive, if we want to carry on life on Earth, we need to be a part of the restorative revolution.” – Nephi Craig

Gather (2020) (5 stars)

Ancestral sustainable foods can help Native Americans reclaim their cultural identities. This film introduces Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona). Craig, founder of the Native American Culinary Association, and other native Americans help us understand the devastation of colonial genocide and the importance of Native American sustainable living.

Kiss the Ground (2020) (5 stars)

This film is about regenerative agriculture. Once wild buffalo regenerated soil naturally. Now humans use mechanical cultivation and chemicals. Mechanization brought economic and cultural ills we accept as part of life today. Can farming by the old methods recover sustainable food production and save the world? Kiss the Ground poses some interesting answers.

Rotten (2017) (3.5 stars)

Pollinators and peanuts. Garlic, chickens, cows, and cod are covered in this Netflix series about the food we eat and how our bodies have changed because of the corruption of global food supply chains. Opposing sustainable food production, big businesses focus on short-term profits. Rotten, unlike other popular documentaries, is grounded in fact.

2040 Join the Regeneration (2019) (5 stars)

What will the future look like in 2040? Focused on sustainable food, this film urges us to make better use of our natural resources in practical ways. In this film, director Damon Gameau creates a vision of how to regenerate the earth and save the planet.

To Which We Belong (2020) (4 stars)

Modern agriculture is becoming a less profitable and less sustainable system. The natural health of our soils and oceans has been destroyed, exchanged for a quick profit. Forward-thinking farmers and ranchers explain why it’s time to think about climate, heal the soil, and abandon toxic farming. You’ll learn the things we all need to understand before more time passes.

Honeyland (2019) (4 stars)

A mother and daughter live alone in the mountains of Macedonia, eeking out a living from honey bees. When new neighbors arrive, they are welcomed, but tensions arise in this beautifully filmed story of nature and humanity. Here’s proof that some humans still care about bees for good reason. Highly rated by more than 18,000 viewers.

The Pollinators (2019) (3 stars)

The business of bees is examined in this documentary about traveling beekeepers and their truckloads of hives. Going from place to place, staying long enough to pollinate the crops, then moving on to the next client, they work against modern farming to save the bees. The film offers insights from farmers and scientists about threats to the honeybee population and, consequently, to our future.

Before the Plate (2018) (5 stars)

Chef John Hohne traces the origins of the food he serves in his Canadian restaurant, Canoe. He talks to regenerative farmers, commercial farmers, industry experts, and consumers. According to John, “There’s a fundamental danger to lose touch with where our food comes from.”

Follow the Food (2019) (5 stars)

This series from the BBC explores the unprecedented challenges we face in producing enough food for the people of Earth. Three seasons of this impactful series take an in-depth look at the food problems facing humankind. From drought and deluge to starvation and malnutrition, it’ll get your attention.

There are dozens of documentaries and pseudo-documentaries about our climate issue and the plight of world food production. We caution you to be very selective while you confront the issues. Then we urge you to consider how you can be part of the solution.

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[Editors’ Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following on-demand webinars (which you can listen to at your leisure and each includes a comprehensive customer PowerPoint about the topic):

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