Fertile Ground: Five Films For the Ecofeminist in You


Images from the film What's on Your Plate: an illustration of plants growing, a picture of two young girls in green t-shirts, and a blurb about the film that reads: Knowing where our food comes from has never been more important. In this witty and provocative documentary for kids and families, Sadie and Safiyah explore their place in the food chain


Within the last several years, some great eco-themed movies have swirled about in theaters and Netflix queues. Both scripted and documentary, these films have been effective at conscious-raising and spreading the word to take action to heal our wilting planet. They cover some of the bases of our eco-crisis, but this is in no way a comprehensive list. It is only a sampler platter of the fine films out there!  All of these films can be viewed through an ecofeminist lens, bridging the gap between environmental issues and feminist ones.  There are layers of oppression in everything from food justice to gentrification, and there is much ground to tap into and discussion to be had. 

I opted to only list some of my favorite documentaries, though there are many excellent fictional ecofeminist films out there (lots of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, you-fucked-with-nature-and-see-what-happens? ones, like Children of Men and Wall-E). I also will admit there are many documentaries I have not yet seen. (Both Blue Gold and Flow have to deal with crucial water issues, and both are supposedly great.) Lastly, this small list is of films whose themes were both inspiring and upsetting, but all made me want to take action, even in small ways.

What’s On Your Plate?

As a farmer, this is one of the movies I watch when I’m in a bad mood. The film follows two girls in New York City as they get more connected to and educated about the food they eat. It’s both inspiring and fun, and since it revolves around kids, it is extra motivating for me.


OK, so kind of the same theme (sorry, food is my thing!), Fresh came out about the same time Food, Inc. did, which is too bad, since it was largely overshadowed. I didn’t dislike Food, Inc., and am glad its popularity spurred awareness pertaining to the damaging effects of industrial agriculture; however, these films had distinctly different ways of presenting their material. While Fresh was uplifting and carried the same anti-agribusiness principles, Food, Inc., made me want to crawl into a ball, read People magazine and just plain give up on life. Even though you may know the issues that both these movies contain, the key difference was that Fresh reminded me sweetly, making me want to get up and make a meal, while Food, Inc. made me want to forget dinner all together. 

The End of Suburbia

A documentary about the end of cheap oil and energy, this film is a peek at what’s coming. It also is a call for a more localized economy and a more sustainable way of living. 

No Impact Man

This film, made by NYC-based writer Colin Beavan, follows Beavan and his family as they decide to live for one year doing as little destructive impact on the environment as possible. When this film came out it received a fair amount of mixed criticism—mostly faulting Beavan’s supposed self-indulgence—but for me, it carries a lot of inspiration and reminders about living consciously. 

Blue Vinyl

Filmmaker Judith Helfand sets out on a journey to uncover the toxic secrets underpinning the blue vinyl siding her parents are putting on their house. The exposure to vinyl chloride—the key ingredient in vinyl—is a largely ignored hazard, from the making of it in factories set in poor, low-income areas and off-gasing chemicals in the atmosphere—giving these neighborhoods a load of disturbing health problems—to the disposing of it in landfills. I saw this film years ago, and it still haunts me (in a good way).  For our farm materials, we avoid buying PVC whenever possible because of it.

What say you, commenters? What documentaries (or other movies) do you recommend?

Previously:  Beauty Products and the Beast, OCCUPY the Earth

by Alison Parker
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7 Comments Have Been Posted

FLOW - For the Love Of Water

FLOW - For the Love Of Water - a film about the global water crisis and particularly, it's impact on women.

FLOW- For the Love of Water

I agree with the above commenter. FLOW--For the Love of Water--is really great.

My main dissapointment with

My main dissapointment with Food Inc was that I wanted to see more about the crop industry. It was absolutely important that they did show how animals are farmed but I eat so much fruit and vegetables that this is a big concern for me. I try to buy organic as often as possible but sometimes my wallet doesn't always allow for it :(

Same here, actually. I'm a

Same here, actually. I'm a vegan and while it was nice to see an attempt to 'expose' where meat comes from, I would have enjoyed more information about the ways plants are harvested. They did soy beans, but that wasn't enough - I certainly don't consume soy nearly as much as I consume any other fruit/vegetable.

my recommendation

I can only add to your list "Forks Over Knives." It made me, an intractable carnivore, wish I didn't love meat so much. It did, however, make me much more aware of the problems associated with eating meat and subsequently cut down on my own consumption in favor of "fork" food. Thanks for the titles on this list. I confess there are a couple I've never heard of and now will seek out and watch.

It sounds interesting thanks

It sounds interesting thanks for the share :)

There are layers of

There are layers of oppression in everything from food justice to gentrification, and there is much ground to tap into and discussion to be had <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/garciniac/">pure garcinia cambogia</a>

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