Favorite food systems TV series, Docs and Movies

I just watched the 6-episode series The Next Thing You Eat (2021) (trailer here) starring innovative chef and restaurateur David Change (available on Hulu - you’ll need a VPN to watch it outside of the US). The show critically examines the future of food taking on ‘the rise of the machines’ where they explore the future of food automation and delivery, to fast-food and lab-grown burgers, what will restaurants and food systems look like in 2050, and the future of breakfast and sushi.

I appreciate how David Chang brings a conscience to these questions. He is excited about technological developments and efficiencies but also deeply worried about the impacts on labor. They weave in Chang’s personal story as his dad moved to the states, began as a dishwasher and worked his way up the restaurant chain, implying that future low-skill immigrants won’t have the same opportunities for upward mobility. The first episode talks about the history of food delivery including a 130 year delivery system in Mumbai where Dabbawalas deliver 200,000 meals a day without modern tech, to how delivery robots are roaming the streets of Los Angeles right now. I think they struck a really good balance in how they presented these critical questions about what future we’re (unwillingly) signing up for. If you’ve also seen the series, I’d be curious to know what stood out to you and what you thought of it.

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We have another thread on book recommendations so I’m starting one on what are your favorite documentaries, TV series and/or movies on food systems? There’s a lot of cooking competitions (I personally love Top Chef) and material that centers gardening, farming, cooking and restaurants, but they aren’t all concerned with the ‘food systems’ that they are a part of.

Which ones have you really connected to or been highly entertained by? Have any of them rewired the way you think about or engage with food and food systems more broadly? Food, inc. (2008) may come to mind for many. I found Honeyland (2019) to be absolutely visually stunning with really impressive storytelling where it seems like the weight of the world is bearing down on this one beekeeper in the mountains of Macedonia. I’d love to hear both older and newer, popular and obscure recommendations, from around the world!

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Hi All

A great thread that you have begun here! I am taking part in a Chinese-UK food ECR workshop, and one of the people mentioned this new hit drama series from China called: Going Rural or The Smell of Warmth

The synopsis is A food blogger and newspaper editor Yu Ming Yang was appointed the secretary of Shi Gou Village, and embarks on a journey to rebuild the village through organic farming, CSA, and tourism. You can watch the entire thing on youtube with subtitles: https://youtu.be/9rQe5GmyNS4

It is interesting to see how different countries engage with this in their media, eg the Archers and Clarkson’s Farm TV show.

Happy friday

Christian