Food and Farming


Village VancouverSponsored by Village Vancouver, the always-popular Food and Farming film series produces a diverse crop of documentaries that explore how the ways we grow, consume and waste food shape our world. Kicking off Saturday’s program on a hopeful note, Growing People follows three sisters in O’ahu, Hawai’i who learn about farming organically utilizing traditional indigenous practices as a way to continue their education. Employing a healthy dose of humour to tackle a serious subject, Food Stamped examines the food system in the United States and explores whether it’s possible to eat well on a budget of a dollar per meal. Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds takes us into the world of seed saving and the fight to maintain seed sovereignty in the face of efforts by multinational corporations to monopolize seed supplies. In Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, two Vancouverites investigate the effects and consequences of food waste on their own lives and globally, while so many are going hungry. Our series closes¬† on Sunday with the amazing story of The Man Who Stopped the Desert, Burkino Faso farmer Yacouba Sawadogo, who struggles successfully against the Sahara Desert and the fears surrounding his farming methods to fight hunger.

Growing People

Growing People

19 min. | 2013 |
FILMMAKER: Dana Forsberg

Saturday, March 21 | 12:30 pm | Theatre 4

Three sisters – Miki, U’ilani, and Sheila Arasato – are empowered as they reconnect to their heritage through their work at MA’O Organic Farms in the community of Wai’anae in O’ahu, Hawai’i. Its ground-breaking youth leadership program combines a revival of pre-colonial Hawaiian food practices with a path to a college degree. MA’O offers all three a way to escape from stereotypes of underachievement and crime into an environmentally and socially sustainable future for their family and community.
Co-hosted by Mount Pleasant Food Network.
film website

Food Stamped


62 min. | 2011 | Summit Pictures
FILMMAKERS: Shira and Yoav Potash

Saturday, March 21 | 1:15 pm | Theatre 4

Food Stamped is an informative and humourous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Shira teaches healthy cooking classes to elementary school students in low income neighbourhoods, most of whom are eligible for food stamps. In an attempt to walk a mile in their shoes, Shira and Yoav embark upon a challenge to eat on roughly one dollar per meal for a week. Through their adventures they consult with members of U.S. Congress, food justice organizations, nutrition experts, and people living on food stamps to take a deep look at America’s broken food system.
Co-hosted by Westside Food Collaborative .
film website

JURY FEATURE PRIZE, San Francisco Independent Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY, Lighthouse International Film Festival

Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds


88 min. | 2014
M. Sean Kaminsky

Saturday, March 21 | 2:30 pm | Theatre 4

One of the world’s most precious resources is at risk. Seeds are essential to life, providing the basis for everything from fabric to food to fuels. Approximately 90 percent of the fruit and vegetable varieties that existed 100 years ago no longer exist today. Corporations are co-opting seed genetics using patent laws. Today, corporate-owned seed accounts for 82 percent of the world-wide market. Many heritage grains are near extinction. Seeds that were lovingly nurtured over hundreds of years have been lost forever.
Maintaining seed biodiversity allows us to breed new varieties that are resistant to pests and thrive in temperature extremes in a changing climate. Open Sesame follows the challenges and triumphs of seed activists as they work to save this precious resource.
Cohosted by Marpole Neighbourhood Food Network.
film website

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

Just Eat It

74 min. | 2014 | Peg Leg Films
FILMMAKERS: Grant Baldwin & Jen Rustmeyer

Saturday, March 21 | 4:30 pm | Theatre 4

We all love food, so how could we possibly be throwing away nearly half of it? Filmmakers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm and 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. In a nation where one in ten people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling.
As Grant’s addictive personality turns full tilt towards food rescue, the “thrill of the find” has unexpected consequences. Equal parts education and delicious entertainment,¬† Just Eat It looks at our obsessions with “best before” dates, perfect produce and portion sizes that reveal the core of an issue that has devastating consequences around the globe.
Cohosted by West End Neighbourhood Food Network.
film website

IMPACT AWARD, Vancouver International Film Festival
PEOPLE’S CHOICE, Calgary International Film Festival

The Man Who Stopped the Desert


64 min. | 2010 | 1080 Films
Mark Dodd

Sunday, March 22 | 12:15 pm | Theatre 3

As early as the 1970s, desertification began to creep southwards in the land between the Sahara Desert and the forests of tropical Africa. By the 1980s the region suffered from regular droughts and starvation. People fled to the cities and many villages became deserted. Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer living in northern Burkina Faso, decided he would remain steadfast against the desert. By reviving and adapting an ancient farming technique known as Zai, Yacouba began to grow crops successfully on previously abandoned land. Yacouba’s hardest battle was not with the elements, but with the people around him. On every side he faced opposition to his techniques. Many thought his ideas were crazy. Over time, his successes became legendary.
Cohosted by Marpole Neighbourhood Food Network.
film website