When you go shopping for groceries, do you ever think about how your food got there, or the conditions it was produced in? Do you think about the people who grew it, the way the animals were treated, or the environmental cost? Probably not - most of us only think about what we're going to cook with the food we buy. But there are some pretty eye-opening documentaries about the food industry that will educate you and make you think differently about what you buy, and where you shop …
1. How to Make a Sandwich
Imagine that you had to produce all your own food; even a simple sandwich would become a very complicated thing to make! This documentary aims to make you think about all the ingredients you use, and the process required to make them - it's a lot more complicated than we think! You can find the full episode on VOD at vimeo.com.
2. The Harvest (La Cosecha)
When you eat a piece of fruit, do you give a moment's thought to the person who picked that piece of fruit? While much harvesting is mechanised these days, there are still many people working in the agricultural industry. And in some countries, those people are children - even in the US. The Harvest follows three of the children who pick the food you eat …
Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on a packet? It reads more like a chemistry experiment, with all the unrecognisable names! For the sake of our health, we need to buy more fresh ingredients from local producers, and cook meals from scratch, rather than relying on processed foods. And that's what this documentary's all about.
If you haven't yet seen the documentary Earthlings, as narrated by Joaquim Phoenix, you should. Like many documentaries about the food industry, it's hard-hitting and difficult to watch, yet that's exactly why we need to watch it. It examines the many shameful ways we use and exploit animals.
5. More than Honey
Have you heard that the honey bee is suffering a serious decline in numbers? This is a very grave problem for us, as they are vital in the agricultural industry - bees pollinate the crops. The documentary looks at this decline in population and asks: why is it happening?
6. Hungry for Change
Are you always on a diet, but never able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight? Or do you wonder how the supermarkets and food manufacturers persuade us to buy food that isn't good for us? This could be the documentary for you. It looks at how consumers are manipulated by the weight loss industry and food manufacturers.
7. Cock Fight
Before you head off for a fried chicken takeout, watch this documentary; you might change your mind about what to eat. Most of the chicken industry is incredibly cruel, and you'll be shocked to hear about some of the practices that go on.
If you choose to eat meat, there are ways to ensure that you eat meat that is humanely produced. But veganism is the most ethical diet, and the most healthy. This documentary looks at people who change to a vegan diet, and also explores how we have almost forgotten the relation between the food we eat and the animals who provide it.
9. Future of Food
Genetically modified foods are being touted as the answer to plant diseases and hunger - but there are serious concerns about the changes that are being made to foods in this way. For one, is it safe? For another, the seeds cannot be saved, and so farmers have to keep buying more every year. A nice little earner for the companies that produce these seeds …
Watch these documentaries and learn - we all need to think more about what we eat …