Five Food Focused Films for 2021

I love using film as a method to learn more about food. Each February, I share some films that have impacted my perspective around food. See my picks for this year, in no particular order.

Gather – 2020 – Rent on Vimeo 

This powerful film tells important stories of Native American’s reclaiming their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty. This film is a great introduction on Indigenous foodways and why following the lead of those communities is so important. 

In Our Hands – 2017 – Watch Free on Vimeo 

Filmed and based in Britain, this documentary interviews both experienced lifelong farmers and young growers using new innovations. This was filmed as the country is moving towards leaving the EU (Brexit). They spin this documentary as a tool that communities can use to help shape their own food system. One line from the film helps sums it up, “but it’s more than just workshops, political rallies and gatherings, it’s learning from our past, taking action in our present, and looking to our future.” 

Dolores – 2017 – Buy or Rent on Youtube 

The film tells the story of Dolores Huerta, a little known activist and co-founder of the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez. Huerta spent her life fighting for labor, gender and racial justice. An inspiring film touching on important issues that still are relevant in agriculture. 

Okja – 2020 – Watch on Netflix

I was drawn to this film as it was directed by South Korean director, Bong Joon-ho whose more recent film, Parasite, won four categories at the 2019 Academy Awards. Okja, is a story of a girl who raises a genetically modified “super pig.” I personally enjoyed it, but want to preface that although the super pig has a child-like appearance, it’s not a kid friendly movie. I found it an interesting takes on corporate responsibility, global meat markets and animal cruelty. 

Rotten – 2018/19 – Watch Series on Netflix

This series showcases why what we eat has such a big impact on our world by bringing to light the complicated and corrupt flaws in the food system. Rotten focuses on ingredients like garlic, peanuts and avocados and explains the nuanced problems around each resource. There are two seasons, both with six approximately one hour deep dives into global food supply chain issues. “Cod is Dead is one of my favorite episodes, touching on the crisis surrounding an ever dwindling global fish supply. 

What films are you watching this winter? If you’re interested in more of our favorite foodie picks, see my picks for 2020 and 2019.

Alex Palzewicz is the U.P. Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference. Have movie recommendations for Alex? Send her an email at [email protected]