Food Documentaries


A still from Food Inc showing how chickens have been modified for modern tastes and large appetites.

Although I’ve been faithful to my weekday vegetarian diet, it’s been a little while since I’ve written anything and I realised that I needed a little inspiration to get going again. With this in mind I tried to watch Food Matters, a 2008 documentary directed by James Colquhoun and Carlo Ledesma. I didn’t get very far though as I didn’t take to the format. I much prefer documentaries with a narrative, whereas Food Matters, or at least the part I saw, was a collection of interviews spliced together. I’m sure it contained lots of important information on the way food and health is linked, but I just couldn’t get into it – I might have another go soon though.

Instead, I decided to show my house mate Food, Inc. which was one of the reasons I became a weekday vegetarian, as you may have seen in my first post. It was still as shocking and thought provoking as the first time round and I felt a renewed thirst to learn more. It’s just a very well produced and carefully thought out.

It wasn’t just the environmental impact of the food processes, but the social cost, that hit me most this time. One section was about a family who only eat junk food because they think healthy food is too expensive and time consuming. The father has diabetes and the pills were costing them a large chunk of their income. His wife commented that it was a toss up whether to spend their money to ‘keep him healthy’ by taking the medication, or by eating healthily – it’s clear that widespread food education is sorely needed. Food, Inc. manages to demonstrate such probems without being preachy, aggressive or manipulative, but rather let’s people tell their (albeit carefully chosen) stories which make the issues clear.

Next on my list is Earthlings, as I’ve heard from quite a few people that this has put them off eating meat for life, which has piqued my curiosity.

Any other suggestions are welcome!