Documentary Films

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.