The Good Life > Culture > Top 50 Food Documentary Films

Top 50 Food Documentary Films

Title, Year Released, Director, Description
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A Place at the Table American Meat

Eating Alabama, A story about why food matters

, 2013, Andrew Beck Grace
In search of a simpler life, a young couple returns home to Alabama where they set out to eat the way their grandparents did – locally and seasonally. But as they navigate the agro-industrial gastronomical complex, they soon realize that nearly everything about the food system has changed since farmers once populated their family histories. A thoughtful and often funny essay on community, the South and sustainability, “Eating Alabama” is a story about why food matters.

Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt

, 2011, Sally Rowe
Paul Liebrandt is one of the most talented and controversial chefs in the food world and the youngest chef to have received 3 stars from the New York Times. He was 24. NY Times food critic, William Grimes, likened Paul to 'a pianist who seems to have found a couple of dozen extra keys.' Through Paul, the film reveals the creative process, the extreme hard work, long hours, and dedication it takes to be a culinary artist and have success in the cutthroat world of haute cuisine. Exploring the complicated relationships between food critics, chefs, and owners the film delves into the life of a dedicated young chef ahead of his time.

A Place At The Table

, 2012, Kristi Jacobson
A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions to the problem.

American Meat

, 2013, Graham Meriwether
American Meat is a solutions-oriented documentary chronicling the current state of the U.S. meat industry. Featuring Joel Salatin, Chuck Wirtz, Fred Kirschenmann, Steve Ells, Paul Willis, and farmers across America, it takes an even-handed look at animal husbandry. First explaining how America arrived at our current industrial system, the story shifts to the present day, showing the feedlots and confinement houses, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there. From there, the documentary introduces the revolution taking root in animal husbandry, led by the charismatic and passionate Joel Salatin. Stories are shared of farmers across the country who have changed their life to start grass-based farms, and everyday solutions highlight actions people can make to support America's agriculture.

Back to the Garden

, 2009, Kevin Tomlinson
In 1988 director Kevin Tomlinson interviewed a group of back-to-the-land hippies at a 'healing gathering' in rural Washington State practicing peace and love. Now, in this poignant examination of this community over time, he tracks down those original interviewees and their children twenty years later to find out what the glories and sufferings of living out of the mainstream and off the grid might really look like.

Bet the Farm David vs. Monsanto

Beer Wars

, 2009, Anat Baron
A David and Goliath story that takes you inside the cutthroat world of the big business of American beer.

Betting the Farm

, 2012, Jason Mann
Betting The Farm is the story of a group of Maine dairy farmers who--dropped by their national milk company--are suddenly confronted with the real possibility of losing their farms. Banding together, the farmers launch their own milk company. Farmers Vaughn Chase, Richard Lary, and Aaron Bell--along with their families--struggle to make ends meet as they get the company off the ground. But faced with slow sales and mounting bills, can the farmers hang together long enough for the gamble to pay off? Or will they be left worse off than before?

Botany of Desire

, 2009, Michael Schwarz
Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism and a student of food, presents the history of four plants, each of which found a way to make itself essential to humans, thus ensuring widespread propagation. Apples, for sweetness; tulips, for beauty; marijuana, for pleasure; and, potatoes, for sustenance. Each has a story of discovery and adaptation; each has a symbiotic relationship with human civilization.


, 2010, Costa Botes
The story of the rise and fall of David Klein, the man who invented Jelly Belly jelly beans.

David Versus Monsanto

, 2009, Bertram Verhaag
Imagine that a storm blows across your garden and that now, genetically-manipulated seeds are in your crops. A multi-national corporation pay you a visit, demand that you surrender your crops – and then sue you for $200, 000 for the illegal use of patented, GM seeds. In this definitive David and Goliath battle, one farmer stands up against a massive multinational, and their right to claim ownership to a living organism.

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Another film to check out is Eating Alaska (2008, Ellen Frankenstein), The Film What happens to a vegetarian who moves to Alaska and marries a commercial fisherman and deer hunter? Join her on a wry search for a sustainable, healthy and ethical meal. Women try to teach her to hunt, teens gather traditional foods, vegans give cooking lessons, she fishes for wild salmon, scrutinizes food labels with kids and finds toxic chemicals getting into wild foods. ...
9/22/2014 9:26:00 PM
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