Quantcast

Award-Winning Sundance Film Offers 'Innovative Solutions to Mend our Broken Food System'

Food

Sundance Institute premiered the Short Film Challenge today at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The program "is designed to spark global conversation about solutions to challenges like extreme hunger and poverty," according to Sundance. Beginning today, the short films will premiere on a variety of digital platforms.

The film features Gary Paul Nabhan and other food activists who "are coming up with innovative solutions to mend our broken food system."

There were 1,387 submissions from 89 countries on Tongal.com, a creative platform "which powered a global call for film entries that used the transformative power of storytelling to generate discussion, shift perceptions around extreme worldwide concerns and harness the power of independent film to create a global conversation about these issues." The Short Film Challenge is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Of the more than 1,300 submissions, five were ultimately chosen as the winners. One of those winners, "Man in the Maze," tackles fixing our broken food system. The film is directed by Phil Buccellato, Jesse Ash and produced by Food Tank in partnership with Greener Media. Shot in Southern Arizona, the film features food activist, writer and conservationist Gary Paul Nabhan. The film shows how Nabhan and other food activists "are coming up with innovative solutions to mend our broken food system."

Nabhan is the W.K. Kellogg endowed chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center. He's also one of the founders of Native Seeds/SEARCH, which works on both of sides of the border to strengthen food security. A 1990 MacArthur Fellow, Nabhan has been hailed as a scholar of genetic diversity and a pioneer in the seed saving community.

The esteemed professor and farmer sees Southern Arizona as a critical place to fix the food system. "We're sitting here north of the largest inland port of entry for food in the world and the third largest port of entry for fresh produce in the United States," says Nabhan, referring to Nogales, Mexico.

Billions of pounds of produce and thousands of tractor trailers pass through this border town on their way to American supermarkets, according to Yolanda Soto, president of Borderlands Foodbank. Just how much of our produce arrives via Mexico? "Twenty-five to 30 percent of all the produce we eat year-round," according to Nabhan.

“With that is a tremendous amount of food waste because if the Florida tomato prices drop on a certain day, 120,000 pounds might be thrown into a landfill just because of the pricing,” says Nabhan. Some of that food is salvaged for food banks or used as animal feed, but most of that food ends up in landfills. "This is one of the most biologically and culturally diverse regions in North America, and yet it has one of the highest rates of unemployment and childhood food insecurity," says Nabhan. "And if we can't use that biodiversity to make life better for the very people who live here, something is wrong."

We have a food system in which half of all food is wasted, yet millions go hungry. Food recovery must play a role in building an equitable and sustainable food system. That's where places like Borderlands Foodbank come in. At Borderlands, they rescue between 30 and 40 million pounds of produce per produce season. "Santa Cruz County, for one, has a very, very high rate of diabetes," says Soto. "Feeding people nutritiously is extremely important and vegetables are expensive."

Produce at local markets in rural towns is expensive and residents have to pay the higher prices or go farther away to grocery stores to get fruits and vegetables. Through a partnership with Amado Produce Redistribution Outreach Services, Borderlands Foodbank provides residents with perfectly good produce that would have otherwise been thrown out.

This is just one of the many solutions that Nabhan and other farmers and food activists propose to "rebuild the food system from the bottom up in a participatory way." You can watch the short 8-minute film exclusively on the Arizona Daily Star’s website for the rest of the week.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

4 Innovative Community Food Projects Empowering Low-Income Residents

The Solution Under Our Feet: How Regenerative Organic Agriculture Can Save the Planet

Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser Expose the Real Cost of Our Food

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less