Food Chains (2014)

In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.

Themes: Food, Agriculture, Labor, United States, Race

Food Inc. (2010)

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. 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. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-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. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Themes: Food, Health, United States, Diet, Agriculture

Genetically Modified Food: Panacea or Poison (2005)

In the last thirty years global demand for food has doubled. In a race to feed the planet, scientists have discovered how to manipulate DNA, the blueprint of life, and produce what they claim are stronger, more disease-resistant crops. However, fears that genetically modified food many not be safe for humans or the environment has sparked.

Themes: Agriculture, GMOs, International, Health

King Corn (2007)

King Corn is a 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.

Themes: Agriculture, Diet, United States, GMOs, Health

Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream (2012)

In Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, Gibney states that while income disparity has always existed in the U.S., it has accelerated sharply over the last 40 years. As of 2010, the 400 richest Americans controlled more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the populace — 150 million people. In the film, Gibney explains why he believes upward mobility is increasingly out of reach for the poor.

Themes: Inequality, Consumption, United States, American Dream

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt (2016)

We wanted to see the hidden world behind clothes sold in this country, so we decided to make a T-shirt. We wanted to make an ordinary shirt like the vast majority of the shirts sold in this country — not organic cotton, not hand-sewn in the United States.

Themes: Clothing, Labor, International, Inequality

Ted Talk: Guerilla Gardening (2013)

Ron Finley describes how he became a guerilla gadener (someone who gardens in public spaces) in Los Angeles.  This is a positive, motivational, and concrete way we can affect change in our own backyard.

Theme: Solution, Food, Food Deserts, United States

The End of Poverty (2012)

Consider that 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate. At this rate, to maintain our lifestyle means more and more people will sink below the poverty line. Filmed in the slums of Africa and the barrios of Latin America, The End of Poverty? features expert insights from: Nobel Prize winners in Economics, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; acclaimed authors Susan George, Eric Toussaint, John Perkins, Chalmers Johnson; university professors William Easterly and Michael Watts; government ministers such as Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and the leaders of social movements in Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya and Tanzania.

Themes: Poverty, Consumerism, International, Inequality

The Harvest/La Cosecha (2011)

The story of the children who feed America.  Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat.  Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida’s tomato fields to follow the harvest.

Theme: Food, United States, Labor, Inequality

The Story of Stuff (2007)

This twenty plus minute (though slightly dated) video reviews the production, consumption, and disregard of “stuff” in the United States.  It is a great video as a whole, but if you only have a few minutes, the four to five minutes on the “golden arrow” is particularly good.

Themes: Consumption, environment, Garbage, United States

The True Cost (2016)

This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Themes: Clothing, Labor, International, Inequality

Tidying up with Marie Kondo (2018)

Marie Kondo, one of the top one-hundred Time people of the year, has taken the U.S. by storm with her encouragement of households to de-clutter and find joy in their new space.

Themes: Solutions, Consumerism, United States

War on Waste (2018)

Our consumerism creates waste.  How do we address the mounting waste crisis?  There are multiple episodes on different types of waste issues.

Themes: Plastic, E-waste, Recycling, Australia

Wasteland (2013)

Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of catadores—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives… offer stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

Themes: Waste, Consumerism, Brazil, Optimistic