10 Top Documentary Food Films

Since Food, Inc. is up for an Oscar on Sunday, it seems as good a time as any to compile a list of documentary food films worth watching.

A recent post on favorite feature films that focus on food garnered a lot of comments — and sparked a movie mystery that remains unsolved. For cinematic sleuths, check out the comments by “can’t remember,” and see if you can put your finger on the name of the mystery flick.

Thanks to regular readers Susan Rubin and Margaret Phillips for input for this post.

In alpha order, a list of ten real food films worth viewing while noshing on a modest-sized serving of organic, non-GMO popcorn.

1. Dirt: The Movie (2009)

A funny, thoughtful, and, um grounded look at the fundamental ingredient vital to everything that feeds us.

2. Food Fight (2008)

An amusing account of modern American ag policy and food culture that sprouted a counter-revolution among veggie-obsessed Californians.

3. Food, Inc. (2008)

The rock stars of the ethical eating movement — Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser — weigh in on all that is wrong in America’s industrialized food system. Methinks my son summed up this film best: “Sometimes the scariest films are the ones that are real.”

4. Fresh (2009)

Down with the corporate behemoths of the American food economy who threaten the country’s food security, livelihood of small farmers, and our choices as consumers. This doco features fresh thinking from urban farming activist Will Allen and sustainable farmer Joel Salatin.

5. Killer at Large (2008)

This film tackles the giant-sized topic of America’s obesity epidemic with talking heads and the story of a 12-year-old who undergoes liposuction.

6. King Corn (2007)

Two friends head to the heartland to learn a thing or two about how food is farmed and where food comes from.

7. Super Size Me (2004)

Cult classic with Morgan Spurlock eating his way to bad health on a month’s worth of Maccas. Required viewing for fast food fans.

8. The Garden (2008)

A group of mostly working class, Latino South Central Farmers fought the good fight — and they’re still at it — for the basic human need to grow food, in this Academy Award nominated film.

9. The Future of Food (2004)

Deborah Koons Garcia reveals the unappetizing truth about genetically modified foods: Do you really know what you’re dishing up for dinner?

10. The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2006)

A flamboyant farmer turns his family’s dying farm into a thriving CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Bonus: He flaunts a feather boa while driving his tractor.

11. Food Stamped (2010?)

Special mention to a work-in-progress: A film-and-food couple reveal how hard it is to eat well on a really tight budget.

Okay, what’s missing — or doesn’t deserve to be in this line up? You know you have an opinion, oh yes you do. Let me know below.


11 Responses to “10 Top Documentary Food Films”

  1. edwina Says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive list of food films. i need to check some of these out.

    One that I love is Our Daily Bread. No dialogue, just an interesting look at food industry processes. Fascinating!! Check it out.

  2. marthaandme Says:

    I haven’t seen any of these. I’m afraid it will make it impossible for me to eat anything but lettuce grown in my own back garden!

  3. Kathryn McGowan Says:

    Great list. I would add As We Sow by Jan Weber (full disclosure: she’s a friend of mine).

    It’s a lovely film about the disappearance of family farms in the Mid-West due to the incursion of big industrial operations. It was awarded “Best Documentary” in the Rural Route film festival. You can find more information about it here: http://www.aswesow.com

  4. Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) Says:

    Food, Inc. was really well done – I want to see Fresh as well!

  5. Kris Says:

    Oh. King Corn is perfect for people who won’t actually sit and read “Ominvore’s Dilemma” – such as my husband. Have yet to see Food, Inc, but want to! And of course, Super Size Me – ugh.

  6. Alexandra Says:

    I was disappointed by the documentary win. I really felt Food, Inc. was an amazing movie that needed a boost.

    Instead, the Academy opted for The Cove, which I watched Saturday night. The Cove limits itself to one outrage in Japan, the killing of dolphins, whose meat is fed to Japanese children, increasing their body burden of mercury.

    Food, Inc. describes how all our food here in the USA is being altered, how the subsidized crops corn and soybeans turn up in many packaged foods, how Monsanto is forcing out the small farmer and imposing genetically modified seeds.

    I felt sick after watching both documentaries, but think the message of Food, Inc. is more urgent and should be watched by all foodies so they can help spread the word.

  7. Almost Slowfood Says:

    Nice roundup! I’ve only seen like one of them, but I’d love to see them all.

  8. Steve O Says:

    “The World According to Monsanto” is a great documentary. They do a great job of exposing how U.S. politicians and government agencies are selling out, along with most of the world for that matter, to greedy corporations. It’s got GMO, rBGH, frivolous lawsuits, government lobbying, and much more. It opened my mom’s eyes, she had no idea of the danger of GMO’s and the extent to which they are used in the USA.

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