Skip to main content

Film Finders: Exploring Special Topics: Seeds, Agriculture & Food

28 Films for Black History Month, compiled by the New York Times in 2018.

What's the Deal... With Our Meal?! (Fall 2016 Display)

Description of What's the Deal... With Our Meal?! exhibit.

DVDs in the Film & Video Collection on a Dry Land               DVD 17234                      2015; 52 minute

In California, agriculture is suffering from a lack of water and farms are being abandoned at an alarming rate. But some people seem to have found a solution. Here, and in many other dry regions around the world, land restoration is helping water infiltrate the soil to help increase crop yields.




Against the GrainAgainst the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of your Food   

DVD 17136                    1999; 13 minutes.    

Cuts through biotechnology's propaganda, revealing the science and politics behind "transgenic" foods to show how biotech companies increasingly engineer what you eat to be compatible with their chemicals -- but not necessarily good for human health. Meat                       DVD 17059                            2011; 85 minutes

A solutions-oriented documentary chronicling the current state of the U.S. meat industry, American Meat explains how the U.S. arrived at its current industrial system. As the story shifts to the present day, it shows the feedlots and confinement houses, not through hidden cameras, but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there.


                                DVD 2666                         2005; 73 minutes

Follow environmental activist and nuclear physicist Vandana Shiva on a whirlwind tour of her organic farm at the foot of the Himalayas to the summit of the World Trade Organization in Mexico to a protest outside the European Patents Office in Munich. Shiva does battle with the proponents of globalization, multi-national corporations like Monsanto, an American bio-tech company manufacturing genetically modified foods (whom Shiva holds responsible for a rash of farmers' suicides) and Coca-Cola, accused of depleting and contaminating groundwater in India.





Circle of Poison Film's Profile PhotoCircle of Poison                         DVD 17514                         2015; 71 minutes

When the federal government bans a chemical, deeming it harmful to the well-being of its citizens, few know that they actively encourage the manufacturer to export it abroad for profit. This pointed exposé examines this disturbing practice, focusing on the global trade in banned pesticides, their devastating environmental and health impact and the border-defying return of these harmful chemicals to the U.S. in the form of residue on imported foods.
 to Ground                         DVD 16768                             2012; 86 minutes

Examine Kentucky’s efforts to move away from tobacco dependency to create a new agricultural economy and culture. Explore historic changes that have taken place in Kentucky in response to regulatory change and the globalization of the tobacco economy. Told through the voices of Kentucky farmers, agricultural thinkers, and policy makers, this is a story of how Kentucky agriculture survived catastrophic change to create a new farm culture and the foundation of a new local food system.





Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret                  DVD 15999                      2014: 91 minutes

Examines the contributions of cattle and the cattle industry to global warming, resource consumption and environmental degradation. Follows an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the industry's destructive practices and investigates why the world's leading environmental organizations are reluctant to talk about it.

 Alaska                          DVD 6719                         2008; 57 minutes

What is the ethical way to eat in Alaska - or anywhere? How can you break away from the industrial food system? Where is your comfort level in taking a life for food? Is it better to shoot a deer than to buy tofu that has been shipped thousands of miles? Can a former vegetarian even shoot a deer? In search of the answers to these questions, Ellen Frankenstein fishes for wild salmon with her fisherman husband, learns about traditional Native subsistence foods, attends a vegan cooking class, and consults Native elders, biologists, and conservationists. While Frankenstein was a vegan before moving to Alaska, it wasn't clear whether eating vegetarian was the ethical, sustainable path for living as an Alaskan. This film explores those questions without offering definite answers, and aims to incite discussion, not convert others to a specific way of thinking about food. 


Food, Inc.                    DVD 6900                               2008; 91 minutes

Lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing how our nation's food supply is controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profits ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Reveals surprising truths about what we eat and how it's produced.





Forks Over Knives                        DVD 10251                   2011; 96 minutes

Examines the claim that most if not all degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. It traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering researchers. Although they didn't know each other, their individual research led to startlingly similar conclusions: degenerative diseases could usually be prevented -- and in many cases reversed -- by adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. The filmmakers explore the ancient idea of food as medicine, following "reality patients" who have adopted a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments.

                              DVD 6792                   2009; 70 minutes

Fresh celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. Among others, Fresh features urban farmer and activist Will Allen, sustainable farmer and entrepreneur Joel Salatin, and supermarket owner David Ball.


 Food                          DVD 14119                    2012; 6 volumes @ 29 minutes each

Each day there are approximately 219,000 new mouths to feed at the world's dinner table; that's 80 million more people over the next year. In the year 2050, there will be 9 billion people on planet Earth. How do we feed them fairly, safely and well, and make sure that every mouth is fed? This documentary series asks how we are going to feed ourselves in the 21st century, and looks for answers in Peru, Kenya, USA, India, Nigeria and China.



The FutureThe future of food of Food                              DVD 2837                         2004; 89 minutes

Documents the trend of unlabeled genetically-modified foods which have become increasingly prevalent in grocery stores. Unravels the complex web of market and political forces that are changing the nature of what we eat, and explores organic and sustainable agriculture as alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture.






Gardens of D700x450_gardens_destinyestiny         DVD 6290              2008; 63 minutes        Streaming Available

Dan Jason is an organic gardener on Salt Spring Island of the Canadian west coast and the head of the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada, a network of gardeners from around the world working to preserve as much plant diversity as possible. This film explores Dan's garden and seed world and investigates, with several sustainable development specialists, such issues as genetic engineering, terminator seeds, and the pitfalls of industrial agriculture in North America. It offers several solutions for citizens and governments in the United States and Canada, including supporting organic growers and starting your own organic garden. Genetic Takeover or the Mutant Food             DVD 1621                   2000; 52 minutes

Examines the struggle between multinational corporations, governments and consumers on the issue of genetically modified foods. Consumers, scientists and others are concerned that governments have not required independent testing of these new products nor have they required adequate labeling.





Genetic roulette : the gamble of our livesGenetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives              DVD 16503                2012; 85 minutes

Highlights evidence which points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the U.S. population, especially among children.  Also outlines Monsanto's strong arm tactics, FDA policies, and the USDA's lack of response to areas of growing concern.






Genetic Time Bomb Genetic Time Bomb               DVD 17135                             1994; 45 minutes

Explores the loss of genetic diversity in food crops, as farmers around the world grow hybrids instead of local varieties. Looks at efforts to collect, save, grow, and distribute rare and threatened seeds.




GMO OMGGMO OMG                            DVD 14822                             2014; 89 minutes

Director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can't gain back? These and other questions take Seifert on a journey from his family's table to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what's on your plate?          




  GROW! Movie Poster about young sustainable farmer Grow!                            DVD 14571                 2011; 60 minutes

With the average age of farmers in the U.S. currently at 57, it's critical to encourage more young people to take up the plow. GROW! profiles a new crop of idealistic young farmers who have turned to the fields for a more fulfilling life, driven also by a strong desire to change how our food is grown. Filmed on on 12 different farms throughout the state of Georgia during an entire growing season, GROW! provides an honest and inspiring look at this next generation of farmers.






360x270_growing_changeGrowing Change          DVD 14034        2011; 60 minutes          Streaming Available

Investigates the 2008 global food crisis, looking at its long-term underlying causes. After hearing about efforts in Venezuela to develop a more equitable and sustainable food and agriculture system, the filmmaker visits to see if it's working and find out what we might be able to learn from this giant experiment.




IngredientsIngredients                  DVD 9994                     2009; 67 minutes                Streaming Available

American food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline, and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. Explore a thriving local food movement which counters the trends towards a more flavorless, disconnected, and dangerous place to eat.


 Eat It: A Food Waste Story           DVD 16974           2014; 50 & 74 minutes                       Available Streaming

Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away.




King cornKing Corn                 DVD 4724                 2006; 90 minutes             Streaming Available

Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naiveteĢ, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa, to find out how the modest corn kernel conquered America. With the help of real farmers, powerful fertilizer, government aid, and genetically modified seeds, the friends manage to grow one acre of corn. Along the way, they unlock the hidden truths about America's modern food system.


 Farms, Big Success                         DVD 16584                   2014; 52 minutes

Visit three innovative, ecologically responsible farms in the U.S. and Canada. Their unique business plans use sustainable methods and few fossil fuels and show how the farmers make a decent living. These new farming practices avoid the pitfalls of industrial food production and its financial burden. With participation of Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and leading environmentalist, author and educator, Bill McKibben, the film provides ideas critical to develop an enduring, local food network in a time of climate change. for Sale                          DVD 13860                         2002; 31 minutes

This documentary explores some little-known aspects of global trade agreements. Patents and other intellectual property rights are expanding what corporations can own and control -- from machines to knowledge and even living creatures. What does this mean for the environment, the food supply and human rights? This film looks at farmers, indigenous people, and global justice activists who oppose patents on life and advocate for a world where life is not a commodity but something to be treasured. the Land                                      DVD 16757                                  2014; 89 minutes

Within the last half century, our agricultural and food industries have changed more than ever before. New technologies and scientific ingenuity have given rise to GMOs and other man-made foods. People have begun to raise concerns about the safety of GMOs in our food supply, given their incredible dominance in a large portion of our diets. Traditional organic farmers have been under attack by large corporate farming interests who seek to monopolize the farming industry. Of the Land film looks at our current food supply system as well as a variety of smaller, organic options available to consumers who want to support more sustainable and healthy farming methods.
 Sesame: The Story of Seeds                 DVD 15042                    2014; 82 minutes

Learn how large agriculture companies are creating genetically modified seeds and what effect that may have on the gene pool. Seeds provide the basis for everything from fabric to food to fuels. They’re as essential to life as the air we breathe or water we drink. . . but are given far less attention.







PlaneatPlaneat             DVD 14773                   2010; 72 minutes        Streaming Available

The story of three men's life-long search for a diet which is good for our health, good for the environment and good for the future of the planet. With the help of some innovative farmers and chefs, Planeat shows how the problems we face today can be solved without simply resorting to a diet of lentils and lettuce leaves.

 This Movie                DVD 16184                 2014; 84 minutes

Explore the international urban agricultural movement, which promotes urban farming as a means by which healthy, locally-grown food may become more widely available to people across the nation and around the world.





Image result for Seed battles imagesSeed Battles           DVD 15298             2013; 50 minutes          Streaming Available

Hidden deep inside a massive mountain in inhospitable Spitsbergen is the most important vault in the world: the Global Seed Vault. It is 20 degrees below zero and the vault is able to withstand earthquakes, floods, missile attacks and nuclear disaster. It's Noah's Ark for our food production with the largest diversity in seeds from all over the world. The success of the vault also shows its downside. The increasing strategic importance of seed has given rise to the fundamental discussion on the question: who do the seeds belong to? Emerging economies regard their own seeds as a green gold mine for which others will have to pay, and large seed companies patent their latest seeds. The 'Doomsday Vault', as it is called today, and its worldwide mission is the life's work of the inspired American professor Cary Fowler. On the occasion of the vault's five-year anniversary, he met with an international management committee in Spitsbergen to discuss the deadlock. Seed Battles provides insight into the worldwide political and strategic game as it is being played.                       Warriors                            DVD 11265                            2010; 52 minutes

Called both a "Doomsday Vault" and a library of life, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a collection of the seeds of thousands of different plant species, held in frozen reserve against the eventuality of ecological disaster or other means of crop extinction. This program spotlights scientists who are working with the Svalbard team to preserve Earth's biodiversity.



 of Hunger              DVD 7208            2008; 53 minutes      Streaming Available

With the world of agriculture confronting the impact of such factors as global warming, population urbanization trends, changes in eating habits, and increased use of grain for biofuels, this film outlines the shape of an impending global food crisis. Filmed in Africa, China, Latin America, and the U.S., it examines issues involved in creating such a crisis, including the politics of food security and scarcity, declining food production, the need for increased production to meet population growth, the impact of genetically modified foods, water shortages, famine, food aid programs, the loss of crop land, national food production, distribution and export policies.




Seeds of TimeSeeds of Time               DVD 16780                2014; 77 minutes

Follows Cary Fowler as he attempts to re-invent a global food system in order to make it sustainable by safeguarding the world's vulnerable gene banks.
 Food Junkies         DVD 12874       2013; 63 minutes         Streaming Available

Filmmaker Byron Hurt looks at the past and future of soul food, covering its roots in Western Africa, its incarnation in the American South, and the role it plays in the health crisis in the African American community. Examines the socioeconomics of the modern American diet, and how the food industry profits from producing cheap calories while healthy options remain expensive and hard to find.
 of the Soil                                DVD 12878                        2012; 104 minutes

By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. Examine our relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil's key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers.



Vanishing of the Bees              DVD 10384                2010; 87 minutes

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon threatens the loss of much more than honey as we depend on honeybees to pollinate one third of the food on our tables. This film chronicles the innermost thoughts and feelings of beekeepers and scientists as they fight to preserve the honeybee and make it through another day. Featuring experts like author Michael Pollan, the film also presents a platform of potential solutions.




English flyer_2015_Voices of TransitionVoices of Transition                           DVD 16499                2014; 66 minutes

Examine innovative solutions to the food security challenges increasingly facing humans across the world. Explore agroforestry models in France, permaculture and "Transition Town" initiatives in England, and the organic farming revolution in Cuba.



,204,203,200_.jpgThe World According to Monsanto                           DVD 5970                          2008; 109 minutes

Calling on hitherto unpublished documents and first-hand accounts by victims, scientists and politicians, this film pieces together the story of the industrial giant that, thanks in part to government collusion, pressure tactics and attempted corruption, has become one of the world's leading seed manufacturers, spreading genetically modified crops world-wide without monitoring their effects on nature or human health.


 Exhibit Photos