One of my favorite forms of advocacy is storytelling — through stories, we build community and connect our experience. And documentaries are one of the most powerful ways to inspire change. That’s why, in 2020, I organized the Center for Biological Diversity’s first Food Justice Film Festival.
Food justice and environmental justice are intertwined. Society is shaped and sculpted by food culture and nutritional security. And often the exploitation that rips into the Earth and wastes precious resources is driven by the same forces that poison our land with pesticides and spread inequity and injustice in their wake.
From Sept. 15 to Sept. 18, our third annual free virtual Food Justice Film Festival highlights stories and speakers that need to be heard. The movies explore connections between food justice, sovereignty and sustainability and explore how grassroots activists are creating movements that connect what we eat to our wellbeing and the health of the planet.
Thursday, Sept. 15
Poisoning Paradise — Many Native Hawaiian communities are surrounded by experimental test sites for genetically engineered seed corn, and pesticides are sprayed upwind of their homes, schools, hospitals and shorelines. Poisoning Paradise details the ongoing struggle of Hawaiians fighting to advance bold new legislation governing the fate of their island home.
Friday, Sept. 16
Fruits of Labor — This is the story of a Mexican American teenager who works long days in the strawberry fields and the night shift at a food processing factory. We follow along as she navigates the forces that keep her trapped in poverty and threaten to separate her family. Fruits of Labor is a lyrical meditation on agriculture, nature and ancestral forces.
Saturday, Sept. 17 (short films)
RETURN: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health and Spirit — Tlingit, Muckleshoot, Oglala Sioux, Menominee and Seneca women are sparking physical and spiritual rejuvenation across the continent by reclaiming traditional foodways and eating as their ancestors did — nutritiously and locally.
- From Gangs to Gardens — Ietef Vita (aka DJ CAVEM) is an organic gardener, vegan chef, activist and award-winning hip hop artist working with Denver’s young people to build healthy eating habits and prevent gang violence through gardening and hiphop culture.
The Seed Saver — The challenges of a young farmer expand our idea of what and who American farmers are as Kristyn Leach explores her Korean heritage with other Korean American farmers.
Sunday, Sept. 18
I’m Just a Layman in Pursuit of Justice: Black Farmers Fight Against the USDA — This film chronicles the experiences of Black farmers fighting against the discrimination and injustices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also known as the last plantation.
Watch the Films
Watch the Panels
In addition to the films, the Food Justice Film Festival will include panel discussions with filmmakers and activists, including Shoun Hill and Waymon Hinson (filmmakers of I’m Just a Layman in Pursuit of Justice: Black Farmers Fight Against the USDA), and Indigenous activists Jennifer Gauthier, Andrea John Spako, and Marian Naranjo (featured in RETURN: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health and Spirit).
The prerecorded panels are free to watch and available to the public during and beyond the festival.
Webinar: Environmental Health and Reproductive Justice
You can also join the Center for Biological Diversity and Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health on Sept. 8 for a webinar about how toxic chemicals — including those used in industrial agriculture — impede reproductive justice. We’ll offer solutions on how to advance reproductive and environmental health. Register for that webinar now.
Write to me with your questions at EarthFriendlyDiet@BiologicalDiversity.org.
For the wild,
Jennifer Molidor, Senior Food Campaigner
Population and Sustainability Program
Center for Biological Diversity