Documentary Films

In Defense of Food DVD

In Defense of Food

Join best-selling author Michael Pollan on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Cutting through confusion and busting myths and misconceptions, In Defense of Food shows how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and avoid the chronic diseases so often associated with the modern diet.

Pollan’s journey of discovery takes him from the plains of Tanzania, where one of the world’s last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers still eats the way our ancestors did, to Loma Linda, California, where a group of Seventh-day Adventist vegetarians live longer than almost anyone else on earth, and eventually to Paris, where the French diet, rooted in culture and tradition, proves surprisingly healthy. Along the way he shows how a combination of faulty nutrition science and deceptive marketing practices have encouraged us to replace real food with scientifically engineered “food-like substances.” And he explains why the solution to our dietary woes is in fact remarkably simple: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

Pollan argues that many of our troubles stem from thinking about foods in terms of the nutrients that are in them – a tendency fueled by the food industry’s practice of making health claims on their products based on which nutrients they’ve added (for instance vitamins, fiber or Omega 3s) or taken away (most famously fat). But science shows that a wide variety of diets can be healthy, provided they consist of the kind of whole foods our species has evolved to eat, which include all the nutrients we need.

Produced by Kikim Media, the film examines everything from the latest science about Omega 3s and 6s to what we’re learning about the biochemical roots of our craving for sugar-and how too much sugar can overwhelm our ability to process it. It looks at why nutritional guidelines that advised reducing fat in our diet had the unintended consequence of increasing obesity-as well as what the latest studies show about the benefits of a plant-based diet and the role of the trillions of bacteria in our gut – an emerging new field of nutrition science that is changing the way scientists think about food and health. And it reveals how hidden environmental cues influence not only how much we eat but also what we eat.

Based on this research, In Defense of Food offers viewers simple, practical advice throughout the program about how to eat healthier, such as “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” “Eat only foods that will eventually rot” and “Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.” It’s indispensable viewing for anyone interested in the relationship between food and health.

The Botany of Desire

A two-hour PBS documentary based on the best-selling book by Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire takes us on an eye-opening exploration of our relationship with the plant world – seen from the plants’ point of view.

Shot in stunning high definition photography, the program begins with Michael Pollan in a California garden and sets off to roam the world: from the potato fields of Idaho and Peru to the apple orchards of New England; from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip mecca of Amsterdam, where in 1637, one Dutchman, crazed with “tulipmania,” paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price for a town house. How could flowers, with no real practical value to humans, become so desperately desired that they drove many to financial ruin?

The Botany of Desire argues that the answer lies in the powerful but often overlooked relationship between people and plants. With Pollan as our on-screen guide to this frankly sensuous natural world, The Botany of Desire explores the dance of domestication between humans and plants. Through the history of these four familiar plants, the film seeks to answer the question: Who has really been domesticating whom?

Food, Inc.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has 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, herbicide-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.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.