Take a look at what it’s like to be a banana grower in Ecuador who benefits from fair trade, or a tea farmer in Japan. See how climate change is threatening sugar maple trees.
These 10 super-short films are the finalists in this year's Real Food Films contest, produced by Real Food Media, a collaboration of food and farming organizations led by educator Anna Lappe (one of TIME magazine's "Eco" Who's Who). A number of cash prizes are up for grabs, including the $500 People’s Choice, which you can vote for here through April 30.
Which film will you be voting for?
1. Beyond the Seal
A behind-the-scenes look at how fair trade practices benefit banana growers in southwestern Ecuador.
2. Farmed With Love
Meet Hou Xueying, a charming organic farmer near Shanghai who has defied her peers and built a successful operation where she grows rice, wheat and maize free from chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. She raises ducks in her rice fields – they fertilize the crops, loosen the soil and kill pests. And it’s her dream to turn her farm into a school to teach children where vegetables come from. “Only conscious foodies can save the world,” she says at the film’s conclusion.
3. The Kelly Street Garden
A community garden in South Bronx that started in 2011 has thrived, becoming not just a collaborative place to grow food but a place to teach the community wellness through fitness, cooking classes and arts.
4. Everybody Eats
There are many ways that groups across the country are collaborating to fight hunger, but this film focuses on one specific concept: community cafés, and the One World Everybody Eats restaurant model, which encourages people to pay what they want or can for meals.
5. Saving Sap
Climate change is on the minds of everyone in the food industry and two New Hampshire families, who fear it could threaten the maple industry by affecting tree health and sapping season.
6. McEwen & Sons True Grit
“I bought the mill and then decided to find out how to run it,” says Frank McEwen. His organic corn processing facility in Wilsonville, Alabama, supplies stone-ground organic grits, cornmeal and polenta for retail and restaurants. “I really believe the organic corn we use is tastier, and we do it fresh.”
7. Home Flavored
It’s a real dilemma: For cultures that use sweets as a way to show that they care and as a symbol of nostalgia, obesity and diabetes aren’t on their minds—until it starts to take over their lives. “We are literally killing ourselves trying to find parts of ourselves in Coke bottles,” the narrator says.
8. A Sustainable Catch
A group of fishermen off the coast of Thailand have come together in attempt to stop overfishing from destroying their livelihood.
9. Mindful Vineyards
Harvesting grapes can be back-breaking work. Here, the owners of Ceja Vineyards share the efforts they make to take care of their farm workers.
10. Naturali Tea
Toshiaki Kinezuka converted his Shizuoka tea farm to organic 40 years ago and developed a farming ecosystem that produces delicious green and black teas. “If you use an organic fertilizer, the microbes and the earthworms will multiply,” he says. “They become abundant, and the tea is rich.”