This December, one film isn’t aiming for feel-good laughs. Fair Food is a documentary about producers, businesses and communities that recognise Australia’s food system needs help. A collaboration between the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) and food publishers and facilitators The Field Institute, Fair Food documents the people pioneering new approaches to food production and distribution.
A series of passionate interviews, the film looks at issues including the duopoly of the supermarket system forcing prices down and strangling the opportunity to improve methods of production. The result is a degraded system, where the need to produce more for less compromises animal welfare, soil health, waste management and ultimately drives producers off their land. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Fair Food takes a look at how the Fair Food Movement is helping producers and consumers to find ways around the existing system, by building new production and distribution systems of their own. From the ethical meat production and paddock-to-final-product practice at Jonai Farms, to the Open Food Network linking up ethical producers with consumers, or the public-housing gardens by Cultivating Community, Fair Food shows the positive steps we can take to heal our food system.
“[The film is] a joining of forces between the food community and the creative community – where ideas meet aesthetics in common purpose to articulate a very important message; food and farming matters to us all,” says The Field Institute’s director, Ewan McEoin. “We believe that this is something worth spending our time on, and that through the visual delight of the cinematography and the soundtrack we can convince people to embrace the fact that this also matters to them.”
The film features and draws on input from food-industry professionals – including chef Ben Shewry of Melbourne’s Attica – to share powerful ideas.
“I think that films have a way of breaking through to people,” says Shewry. “If done well, films about sustainable food can inform consumers and help them make more responsible choices when purchasing food to cook at home or eating in restaurants.”
Doctor Nick Rose of AFSA agrees. “This film sends a message that everyone should hear: the Australian food system is dysfunctional. As a country, we need to support the pioneers who are healing it. That’s just the right thing to do.”
“The food system needs to change – we need to see more clean, waste-free farming, more support for small farms and small local businesses and a larger understanding of what real food actually is,” says Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered closed-loop farm, which produces and forages a diverse range of plants and flowers (more than 500 from just over one acre of land). “We don’t believe in telling people what to do, but want to show them how and why. And that is exactly what Fair Food is all about.”
Fair Food is screening in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from the first week of December. For locations check out: justfoodfilms.com