Archive: 2015

Food & Wine Blog: Meet the Workers Picking Your Berries

| Films We Like

The next installment in our partnership with Food & Wine Magazine. 

by Fiona Ruddy

On September 28, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules to protect farmworkers from on-the-job exposure to hazardous pesticides. These long overdue rules help protect the workers most at risk from these toxic chemicals in our fields. The new regulations, adding essential protections for farm workers, are a small win in the larger efforts to value and protect the 2 million Americans who grow the food we eat—the food that makes us thrive.

In Our Work Is Life, the Real Food Media Contest’s 2015 winner for best underreported issue, viewers meet some of these workers at the heart of our food system. As one worker says: “The work we’re doing is life—the life of the entire country.” The film tells the story of farm workers in the Northwest who pick berries that can be found throughout our food chain, from Häagen-Dazs ice cream to Driscoll’s distribution to big box grocery chains.

Coming together to voice their concerns for better working conditions, these farm workers created Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (Families United for Justice). To take action, Familias Unidas launched a boycott against Sakumas Brothers Berry, a company they charge is paying poverty wages and perpetuating substandard, openly hostile working conditions. The film is ultimately a rallying cry for all of us—whether we’re digging into a pint of delicious ice cream or devouring berries by the handful—to think about the workers who helped bring those berries to us and find out what we can do to speak up for their dignity.

For more information about the hands that feed us and ways to support farmworkers, please visit

Read more

Food & Wine Blog: Appreciating the Hands That Feed Us

| Films We Like

The next installment in our partnership with Food & Wine Magazine. 

How often do you think about the actual hands that feed you, those belonging to the people who make your meals? If you were the typical American eater, even a few years ago the answer was probably not at all. But that is changing. There is a movement afoot to connect eaters with workers all along the food chain, from celebrity chefs to restaurant workers behind the kitchen door to farmers and farm workers in the field. The Department of Agriculture now even has a Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program.

In Hands in the Orchestra, Kevin Longa chronicles the multicultural kitchens of the San Francisco Bay Area. Longa connects us with the passionate immigrant chefs and food entrepreneurs who serve as community anchors. These are the hands that feed us. Unfortunately, these workers are often exploited and paid poverty wages.

Longa’s short film serves as a rhythmic call to celebrate and honor the food workers nourishing our communities, a call for us eaters to look behind the kitchen doors and get to know the people who make our food.

For more information about the hands that feed us and ways to celebrate these workers, please visit

Read more

FWx Blog: Planting Self Determination and Peace in the Republic of Congo

| Films We Like

Below is a teaser for our second installment in a short series featured on the FWx blog, in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine.

by Fiona Ruddy

Since its independence in 1960 the Republic of Congo—-not to be confused with its larger neighbor to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo — has suffered decades of violence and uneven development. The country broke into a full-scale civil war in 1993 and again in 1997. It wasn’t until the late 2000s that over 200,000 internally displaced people were able return home and rebuild their lives that had been upended by conflict.

Filmmaker Austin Haeberle chronicles this ongoing transition to peace and the rejuvenation of civil society in the 2015 Real Food Media Contest’s People’s Choice winner, Mama Adrienne. In this film, we see the heart of this post-conflict healing—not in large-scale development but in something much smaller: seeds. Haeberle tells the story of Louhounou Adrienne, the charismatic force behind a community garden project established with support from the United Nations.

Click though for the film!

Read more

Food & Wine Blog: Meet the Snail Farmer of Vienna

| Contest News

Below is our first guest blog in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine.

by Fiona Ruddy

Perhaps no two sectors are more spiritually at odds than global technology and small-scale farming. But this didn’t deter Andreas Gugumuck, an Austrian who left a high-paying IBM job to revive the forgotten snail farming tradition of Vienna.

Even though friends and colleagues thought he was a little verrückt—“crazy” in German—their opinions were no match for Andreas’s single-minded focus: to bring this long lost regional agricultural tradition back to life.

While digging into the archives of his country’s culinary traditions, Andreas discovered that Vienna was once the snail capital of Europe. But after World War I, the taste for snails—and the production of them—was extinguished. It wouldn’t be until the 1960s that escargot came back into fashion in Austria, but as one of Vienna’s Michelin-starred chef’s admits, even he was sourcing them canned until Andreas came along.

While Andreas’s enterprise—lovingly shot in this short video—may be part homage to the past, it also represents a radical vision of a more sustainable future: Snails convert plants into protein much more efficiently than livestock, affirming recent calls to eat more alternative proteins to reduce our ecological footprint.

A snail is the emblem of the international Slow Food movement, and director Kevin Longa’s film Verrückt: The Snail Farmer of Vienna is an apt reminder that even the tiniest (and slimiest) creatures can lead big changes in our food system.

Click through for the film.

Read more

Help us spread the buzz: Year 3 is open for submissions!

| Contest News

Find a tweet you like and click on it. Voila. It’s ready to send into the twitterverse.

Same goes for the Facebook posts. (Yes, that simple.) We’d love your help getting the word out.

Thanks for being part of the hive mind!

2016 Real Food Films Social Launch posts copy

// Download 2016 Real Food Films Social Launch posts

Read more

FWx Blog: One Farmer’s Story of Discovering Humane Livestock Slaughter

| Films We Like

Below is a teaser for our first installment in a short series featured on the FWx blog, in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine.

In Soft Slaughter, director Allison Milligan takes viewers behind the scenes into the world of humane slaughter. Butcher Mary Lake, of Vermont’s The Royal Butcher, narrates a literal and philosophical tour of the slaughterhouse floor and the growing movement to produce “ethical meat.”

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, over 88% of hogs in the United States are slaughtered in industrial-scale operations with livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These factory farms house animals in inhumanely tight quarters, causing stress and disease among herds and flocks. Their overuse of antibiotics breeds dangerous resistance; they cause water and air pollution; the list goes on.

But all around the country, bucking incentives from the USDA, farmers and butchers are embracing more humane and ecologically sound methods of animal husbandry, even slaughter.

Read (and watch) the full story here.

Read more

Press Release: Announcing Year 3 of Real Food Films Contest

Christina Bronsing-Lazalde
Real Food Media



Food Movement Changemakers Raj Patel & Bryant Terry, Media Innovators at Upworthy & Vimeo Join Panel of Judges and Partners to Select Top Digital Super Shorts on Sustainable Food



SAN FRANCISCO — October 23, 2015 — In the past two years, over 300 filmmakers from around the world have entered the world’s largest short films competition for films on food, farming and sustainability. Today, Real Food Media announces the launch of its third-annual Contest year with a call for submissions of super-short films on underreported issues, unique changemakers and creative solutions to foster a broad, public conversation about solving our global food system’s most intractable problems – from hunger to diet-related illnesses to environmental crises.


Details about guidelines can be found at Submissions are due by March 1st, 2016 at 9pm PST/12 midnight EST. The top ten finalist films will be announced April 1st, 2016 at Madrone Studios in San Francisco.


Contest judges include some of the nation’s most significant leaders in food, farming and film, from restaurateur Tom Colicchio to chef and author, Bryant Terry. “Each year I enjoy judging the short film competition,” says the James Beard Foundation’s Susan Ungaro, a contest judge. “These short documentaries offer of great overview of what’s important, what’s inspiring and what’s concerning in our complicated but joyous food world.”


Awards include a $5,000 Grand Prize, $2,000 for Runner-Up and special awards for Best Cinematography, Underreported Issue, Food Producer Profile, Innovative Initiative and Animation. Media partners include film festivals and online video platform, Vimeo, bringing wide distribution opportunities for films and valuable networks for filmmakers. (See below for complete list). Winning films have been shown around the world – from a festival in Istanbul to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City to Food & Wine’s online platform. In addition, the Contest works with dozens of universities on events and special programming, including with anchor partners Occidental College (Los Angeles) and Gustolab Institute for Food Studies (Rome).


“In two years, we have been blown away by the creativity and vision of filmmakers, both seasoned and new,” said Anna Lappé, national bestselling author and Real Food Media founder. “We’ve also been delighted by the reach of our free Pop-Up Film Fests, showcasing winning films. From New Zealand to Romania to across the United States, more than 200 communities have shown these powerful films, sparking conversation worldwide.”


“My first reaction when selected as a Contest finalist was a great sense of validation and honor knowing that my film was selected by judges who are luminaries in the world of food and sustainability. And then something really interesting happened after the contest; I began getting requests to screen my film at festivals across the web and the world. It’s amazing how the Contest became the catalyst to finding an audience for my work.”
– Dustin Hughes, 2015 Finalist


“The Real Food Media Contest gets to the heart of why I make films, which is to provide new perspectives on the way we eat and grow. Not only is it a great avenue to share these films, but it is also building a network of likeminded filmmakers. We’ve collaborated with other winners of the Contest and hope to do the same this year.”
– Daniel Klein, The Perennial Plate, current Contest judge and 2014 and 2015 Prize Winner


The 2015 Contest winners – including a youth spoken word about the ravages of diabetes, a meditation on humane animal slaughter and planting peace in the Congo – are part of the free Pop-Up Film Fest lineup. More information can be found at



Contest Judges:

  • Johanna Blakley, PhD, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California
  • Philip Bloom, filmmaker
  • Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief, Food & Wine
  • Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table
  • Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO, International Culinary Center
  • Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders, Food52
  • Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, filmmakers, the Perennial Plate
  • Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model, and television host
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Davia Nelson, audio storyteller, the Kitchen Sisters
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • Eli Pariser, co-founder, Upworthy
  • Raj Patel, best-selling author and food justice activist
  • Maria Rodale, chairman and COO, Rodale Inc.
  • Brad Simpson, film producer, Color Force
  • Bryant Terry, award winning chef, author and activist
  • Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation
  • Karen Washington, farmer and activist
  • Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse, founder, The Edible Schoolyard Project
  • Emily Zweber, organic farmer, first AgChat Foundation executive director


Contest Media Partners:

  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Change Food
  • Devour! The Food Film Festival, Nova Scotia
  • Disposable Film Festival
  • Eat Drink Films
  • Edible Communities
  • Food & Wine
  • Food and Farm Film Festival
  • Food Book Fair
  • Food Day
  • Food52
  • GOOD
  • James Beard Foundation
  • Lexicon of Sustainability
  • Slow Food USA
  • SXSW Eco
  • Tastemade
  • Vimeo


Contest Advisors:

  • Haven Bourque, Founder, HavenB Media
  • Wendy Cohen, Partner and principal at Picture Motion
  • Danielle Gould, Founder and CEO, Food+Tech Connect
  • Fred Haberman, Co-founder and CEO, Haberman
  • Diane Hatz, Founder and Executive Director, Change Food
  • Saru Jayaraman, Founder and Co-director, Restaurant Opportunities Center United
  • Navina Khanna, Movement Strategy Center
  • Joann Lo, Co-director, Food Chain Workers Alliance
  • Mischa Nachtigal, Co-founder, Food + Farm Film Fest
  • Sanjay Rawal, Director, Food Chains
  • Eric Slatkin, Food + Video Director
  • Naomi Starkman, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Civil Eats


Anchor Schools:

  • Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies: Rome, Italy
  • Occidental College: Los Angeles, CA


Contest School Ambassadors:

  • Berkeley Food Institute
  • Chapman University
  • Chatham University
  • Cornell Performing and Media Arts & Cornell Small Farms Program
  • DCTV
  • Green Mountain College
  • Indiana University – South Bend, Center for a Sustainable Future
  • Institute for Community Research, Food Justice Youth Corps
  • Johns Hopkins, Center for a Livable Future
  • Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Columbia University Teachers College
  • Shenandoah University, Blue Ridge Institute for Environmental Studies
  • Sterling College
  • The New School
  • Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy
  • UC Davis
  • UC Santa Cruz: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
  • University of California Los Angeles, Institute for Sustainability
  • University of Vermont



The Contest is directed by leading sustainability advocate and award-winning author Anna Lappé and is part of the Real Food Films initiative of Real Food Media. Real Food Films includes an annual contest for super-short films on food, farming and sustainability; an online video library for educators and advocates; and resources for Pop-Up Film Festivals around the world.



Real Food Media is a collaborative initiative, working with partners around the country to spark conversations about our food system, catalyze creative storytelling and connect communities for action. Real Food Media produces Real Food Films, a Food MythBusters series and other special partnerships, including the Voices of the Food Chain project with Food Chain Workers Alliance.



Twitter: @realfoodfilms

Instagram: @realfoodmedia

Facebook: realfoodmediaproject




Read more

Food Day / Film Day – October 24

| Events, Films We Like

What are YOU doing this Food Day?

Food Day — a national day of action to spark conversation and promote real food policy change — is this Saturday. For our friends in the San Francisco Bay Area we are excited to share an event organized by EatDrinkFilms to celebrate great food with great films.

The EatDrinkFilms Food Day / Film Day Festival will pair films with tastings from local food purveyors. The festival kicks off with a selection of “Celluloid Appetizers,” short films from the Real Food Films Contest. The “Celluloid Appetizers” event is free and open to the public, beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Exploratorium.

The festival will continue all day at The Roxie with the San Francisco premier of three films – In Defense of Food, El Somni and The Ways of Wine. For more information and tickets, click here

Read more

Voices of the Food Chain: Dinner + Panel

| Events

On November 18, 2016 join event hosts the Brower Center and Real Food Media for the launch of “Voices of the Food Chain.” This event will feature a family-style dinner and a conversation to celebrate the hands that feed us with food systems advocate Eric Schlosser, Joann Lo from the Food Chain Workers Alliance, restaurateur Alice Waters – and other special guests.

Click here for tickets & details.


Co-Sponsors: Berkeley Food Institute, California Institute for Rural Studies, Corporate Accountability International, CUESA, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Lexicon of Sustainability, Pesticide Action Network, Real Food Real Stories, Roots of Change, Real Food Real Stories, UC Berkeley Labor Center

Party Host Committee: Alexa Delwiche, Andre Carothers & Firuzeh Mamdouh, Anna Lappe & John Marshall, Carolyn Federman, Marcy Coburn, Neda Nobari, Pandora Thomas, Saru Jayaraman, Yalda Modabber & Matthew Stromberg

Media Sponsor: Civil Eats

Read more

New Media Partnership: Food & Wine

| Contest News

We are thrilled to announce our new media partnership with Food & Wine and it’s “maniacal sibling,” FWx.

Over the course of the fall we will feature several of the 2015 Real Food Media Contest winners on the FWx blog. We are excited to shed new light and provide additional resources for action related to some important topics – farmworkers’ rights, sustainable agriculture, and humane slaughter – just to name a few.

We also hope seeing these shorts in a new context will get you inspired to create and submit your own film for the 2016 contest!

For up to the second alerts, make sure to follow FWx on Facebook.

And check out our first two posts about films Soft Slaughter by Allison Milligan and Mama Adrienne by Austin Haeberle!

Read more

Whiskey + Pizza + Bite-Sized Food Films

| Events, Films We Like

An Evening to Celebrate Real Food Media

Thank you to everyone who joined last night’s sold out crowd in celebration of Real Food Media. It was an honor to come together over two of our favorite things – whiskey + pizza – and dig deeper into our food system while sparking creative change.

If you missed the event we suggest you pour yourself a stiff beverage, order a pie from your favorite local pizzeria, and queue up some standout films from the 2015 Real Food Films Contest finalists: Food, Our Work Is Life, and Verrückt: The Snail Farmer of Vienna

Now dim the lights and you are ready to recreate the magical evening on Gather’s patio!

Thank you to our friends at Gather and Hudson Whiskey for your generous and delicious contributions that made the evening possible.

Read more

Film2FarmAid Film Fest

| Contest News

Kick off 30 Years of Farm Aid This Week!

Join us as Farm Aid celebrates thirty years and hosts its first ever Film Fest! Three evenings will feature films on the challenges, victories, and everything in between that makes family farming a worthy dirt-under-your-nails lifestyle. Kicking off Thursday’s program of short films, Sue Arbuthnot and Richard Wilhelm of Hare in the Gate productions have curated a fantastic lineup featuring several shorts from our Real Food Films collection. Our very own Christina Bronsing-Lazalde will be leading a Q&A panel following the screening and Dustin Hughes of Bread will also be joining us from Los Angeles.And — not to be missed: On Saturday, September 17, a panel discussion will feature local family farmers; Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid’s executive director; and Sarah Vogel, lead counsel in Coleman v. Block, a national class action that stopped farm foreclosures and is featured in the closing scene of the film Country.

Each evening, a post-screening reception will feature local foods, beer and wine at the rooftop farm at McCormick Place.

Films scheduled for screening include:

  • Country, directed by Richard Pearce and written and produced by William Wittliff
  • Dryland, by Sue Arbuthnot and Richard Wilhelm
  • Brookford Almanac, by Cozette Russell
  • The Last Barn Dance, by Ted Richardson and Jason Arthurs
  • Food Patriots, by Jeff Spitz
  • Food Forward: Urban Farming, by Greg Roden
  • Century Farm, by Melissa Gregory Rue
  • Isabelle’s Garden, by Jeffrey Palmer
  • A Chicago Ranch, by Donald Jay O’Brien
  • Harmony Gardens, by Solomon Horner*
  • A Greene Generation, by Tim Alden Grant*
  • Food Hero: Kristin Carbone, by Shalini Kantayya and Real Food Media Project*
  • Bread, by Dustin Hughes*
  • The Berry Picker, by Allison Milligan*
  • Our Work is Life, by Luke McKinley*


*Film is a past Real Food Media Contest finalist and/or included in the Real Food Films film library
Read more

New Media Partnership: Vimeo

| Contest News

You may have seen our films on the Vimeo platform over the past two years, but for 2016 we are taking our relationship with Vimeo to the next level – official partnership level! We are excited to join their vibrant community of media makers, and distribute our films to a wider audience.

This is just the beginning of the many new partnerships, judges, and prompts we have in store for 2016. Check back soon for more, the Contest will open for Year 3 on October 15!

Read more

12 New Films: Take a peek at the Film Library

| Contest News

Christina Bronsing-Lazalde, Real Food Films




Spotlight on community-based food solutions, family farmers, growth of urban farms and an edgy spoken word critique of the influence of the sugar industry



SAN FRANCISCO — May 26, 2015

A dozen new films featuring creative projects at the heart of the food movement launches today as part of the Real Food Media Project’s expansive film library. The films tell the stories – in four minutes or less – of the momentum toward community-based food systems: from farming strategies to keep traditions alive to clever agricultural approaches in the dry Southwest. Free and open to the public as educational resources for film screenings and community events, the Real Food Media Project’s film library now features over 50 videos curated from submissions its annual international contest, creating the world’s largest collection of short films on the sustainable food movement.


Film library media partners include the James Beard Foundation, Tastemade, SXSW Eco and Slow Food USA. The Contest’s prominent judges include journalists Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, Norman Lear Center’s Johanna Blakley, film critic Thelma Adams, Padma Lakshmi, Alice Waters, and chef Tom Colicchio.


“Our growing film library showcases the best in short films on food, farming and sustainability,” says film library founder, Anna Lappé, “It’s amazing what a punch you can pack in four minutes. “I laughed, I cried, I wanted to make pie.”


The Films:  

Blueberry Pie | Norebo, Finland
The simplicity of from-scratch blueberry pie cooking made like Grandmother Rhea Aminoff used to at Norebo, Kallvik outside Helsinki, Finland.

Bunker Vietnamese | Queens, NY
A Queens, New York restaurant serves up Vietnamese street food, inspired by the chef’s parents.

Camelina | Lamberton, MN
A Minnesotan farm family converts from chemical to organic farming and transforms their land, their family and their business.

Dry Land | Tucson, AZ
A rainwater savant shows how even in the driest desert cities there is untapped potential in rainwater.

From Seed // Land & Freedom | San Diego, CA
An urban garden in San Diego brings together families and communities.

Green Bridge Growers | South Bend, IN
Learn about Green Bridge Growers, a community farm that connects autistic young adults with a sustainable aquaponics business. 

Operation Apple | Grand Isle, OR
A granddaughter and her friends help her grandparents in their annual apple harvest and cider-pressing.

The Dealer | Oakland, CA
A collaboration between filmmaker Jamie DeWolf and The Bigger Picture Project, The Dealer is a poignant, edgy spoken word piece about the effects of sugar on children.

The Future has an Ancient Heart | Irvine, CA
At Alegria’s one-acre farm in southern California, 70,000 plants and 60 different cultivars are flourishing.

The York Region Food Charter | Toronto, Canada
The compelling story of the unique rural-urban character of the region and how they are connecting to build a strong local food system.

Together We Grow | Philadelphia, PA
A seeds-eye look at the University of Pennsylvania’s unique food and farm education project.

Vacant Lot Initiative | Phoenix, AZ
Sustainable farming blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona.


About the Real Food Media Contest

Real Food Films, directed by national best-selling author and sustainability advocate Anna Lappé, is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, which runs creative communications campaigns to spread the story of sustainable food and farming. Visit to learn more and to view the film library. Connect with us online on Twitter via @RealFoodFilms and @AnnaLappe, Instagram via realfoodmedia, and on Facebook at Real Food Media Project.




Read more

Announcing the 2015 Real Food Media Contest Winners

| Contest News

Joanna Dillon, Real Food Media Contest



Oyster divers in Long Island, Peace-building in the Congo,
Spoken word poet sounds the alarm on soda


SAN FRANCISCO — March 9, 2015 — A stunning range of food and farming stories win top honors in the second annual Real Food Media Contest, the food movement’s first and only competition for short films about sustainable food and farming. Winners were selected from among 175 submissions by the Contest’s advisors. Prizes were determined by the Contest’s prominent panel of judges, including journalists Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, Norman Lear Center’s Johanna Blakley, film critic Thelma Adams, Padma Lakshmi, Alice Waters, and Tom Colicchio.

All under four minutes, the winning films are diverse in style, perspective, and place, but share common themes: renewal of respect for the labor and natural resources at the heart of food production, empowerment of communities through advocacy, and celebration of sustainability along the food chain.

The Grand Prize winner is At Needle Point, a powerful spoken word piece about the crippling epidemic of diabetes. (This film also won the Student Prize). Directed by Jamie DeWolf from Alameda, California the short was produced in partnership with The Bigger Picture, a collaboration between Youth Speaks and the University of California San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations designed to combat the rising epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes by empowering youth to change the conversation. Tom Colicchio said, “This provocative film delivers a big message… If this doesn’t get through to people, I don’t know what will.” Contest Director Anna Lappé announced the Grand Prize winner on Saturday at TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat in New York City.

The Grand Prize winner and all the winning films are promoted by Contest media partners— including James Beard Foundation, Tastemade, and Slow Food USA — and are free to watch online or at more than 50 Pop-Up Film Festivals being hosted around the country. You can see the other winners and our film library of more than 40 captivating short films at


Additional Prizes include:

  • 1st Runner Up: Soft Slaughter | Allison Milligan, Boston, MA
    Disillusioned with conventional meat production, Mary Lake becomes a butcher and brings humility to the act of slaughter.
  • People’s Choice Award: Mama Adrienne | Austin Haeberle and Wendy Jacques, Maplewood, NJ
    For the women of Kinkala in the Republic of Congo, sustainable farming is about more than growing organic vegetables. Still recovering from a decade of violent conflict, these women know that sustainability means physical, economic, and emotional security – it means peace.
  • Best Underreported Issue: Our Work is Life | Luke McKinley, Seattle, WA
    A glimpse into the complex story of migrant farmworkers in the United States. Told primarily through the voices of indigenous Mexican campesinos, the film shows one group’s advocacy for dignity and fairness on a berry farm in Washington.
  • Best Food Producer Profile: Verrückt: The Snail Farmer of Vienna | Kevin Longa, Burlingame, CA
    Meet Andreas, who leaves a cushy tech job at IBM to resurrect the lost art of snail farming. Sustainable, efficient, and tasty, snail farming is a green alternative to mainstream meat.
  • Best Innovative Initiative: Growing Good Bugs | Julie Philips, Studio City, CA
    Meet hand-grown bugs and the freshest flies from California in this look into the role of beneficial insects in sustainable farming.
  • Best Cinematography: The Oyster Men | Peter Crosby and Show Love, Brooklyn, NY
    A small group of Baymen are committed to the rare practice of diving to hand pick wild oysters in the Long Island Sound. At once deeply rewarding and highly challenging, the practice is virtually unknown, yet produces some of America’s tastiest and most unique oysters.
  • Best Animation: FOOD | Siqi Song, Valencia, CA
    Stop-motion animation brings interviews with real eaters from around the world to life as ‘edible characters’ discussing the impact of our food choices.


About the Real Food Media Contest

The Contest, directed by national best-selling author and sustainability advocate Anna Lappé, is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, which runs creative communications campaigns to spread the story of sustainable food and farming. Visit to learn more and to view the winning films. Connect with us online on Twitter via @RealFoodFilms and @AnnaLappe, Instagram via realfoodmedia, and on Facebook at Real Food Media Project.


Read more

Join us at TEDxManhattan on March 7th

| Contest News, Events

We are thrilled to be joining the TEDxManhattan lineup on Saturday, March 7 to announce the Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Real Food Media Contest

TEDx logo

The entire day will be livestreamed on Saturday, March 7 from 10:30am-6:00pm EST. Last year there were 150 viewing parties around the world, sign-up to host your own or check out the map for viewing parties near you!

Follow the action on social via #TEDxMAN and connect with us @RealFoodFilms and @annalappe.

The winners of all other awards will be announced on our website following the LIVE debut of the Grand Prize Winner. Check back soon!

Speakers and topics include:

  • Nikiko Masumoto – Legacy of three generations of Japanese American family farmers. Masumoto is a farmer on the Masumoto Family Farm and co-author of The Perfect Peach.
  • Anim Steel – Food justice. Steel is Executive Director and co-founder of the Real Food Challenge.
  • Ali Partovi – What’s the real economics behind organic food costs? Partovi is an angel investor who has worked with Dropbox and Facebook and co-founded LinkExchange, iLike, and
  • Stephen Reily – How do cities build platforms to help the local food economy achieve sustainability and scale? Reily is an attorney, entrepreneur, civic leader, and founder of Seed Capital Kentucky.
  • Michele Merkel – What is legal is not always right – fighting for justice in rural America. Merkel is the co-director of Food & Water Justice, the legal arm of Food & Water Watch.
  • Marcel Van Ooyen – Scaling up local food distribution to take it from niche to mainstream. Van Ooyen is the Executive Director of GrowNYC and former Legislative Director for the New York City Council.
  • Robert Graham – Teaching doctors about the importance of food to health. Graham is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Integrative and Holistic Medicine.
  • Stefanie Sacks – How small changes in eating can make big differences. Sacks is a culinary nutritionist, author, radio show host, educator, speaker and consultant.
  • Joel Berg – The only real way to end hunger in America. Berg is Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.
  • Dana Cowin – The power of ugly vegetables. Why ugly, bruised vegetables are the future of food. Cowin has been Food & Wine’s editor in chief since 1995 and oversees the Food & Wine brand.
  • DJ Cavem – Health education through art and hip hop music. DJ Cavem is an international recording artist and 2014 Music Educator Award Grammy Nominee. He is the founder of Going Green Living Bling and Eco-HipHop.
  • Henry Hargreaves – How end-of-the-world doomsday preppers are thinking about their food. Hargreaves is a New York City based photographer and artist.
  • Shen Tong – The impact of venture capital money and investment dollars in the food system. Tong is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, foodie, social activist, and writer. He founded Food-X, a food-business accelerator.
  • Kendra Kimbirauskas – The rift between the good food movement and the explosion of factory farms in the U.S. Kimbirauskas founded the group, Friends of Family Farmers, operates a farm in Oregon, and serves as Chief Executive Officer of Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP).
  • Danielle Nierenberg – Why the food system will fall apart without women farmers. Nierenberg is a food and agriculture expert and president of Food Tank.
  • Danny Meyer – Fine dining and chain restaurants – the evolvement and overlap of the two. Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. 
  • Debra Eschmeyer – Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy at The White House.
Read more

Roll out the #greencarpet this Sunday

| Contest News, Events
Watching the Oscars next Sunday night? Our friends at Birchwood Cafe and Field Guide Inc in Minneapolis are having a “green carpet” screening of the Real Food Media Contest finalists before all the Oscars action kicks off. “What a great idea..,” we thought. (Minnesotans are full of great ideas.) If you want to host your own Oscars party – or are already going to one, let people know they can show up an hour early for some seriously inspiring short films. Cast your ballot for your favorites in food, farming and sustainability before you see how the Academy cast theirs for Hollywood’s red carpet revelers.


And the #NOMNOMination goes to…

What’s a list of nominees without showing some love to our favorites in food, cooking, eating, farming, recipe stand-ins, and all around culinary creations. Send a message to your favorite farmer, chef, potluck-er, or pot-licker!

@RealFoodFilms: “My #NOMNOMination goes to @alicewaters for donating cookbooks to share with those of you who love making messes in the kitchen!”


(And those of you who give shout-outs via a #NOMNOMination on twitter, facebook or instagram will be entered into a drawing to win one!)

Read more

2015 Contest Finalists Announced!

| Contest News

February 3, 2015

Joanna Dillon, Real Food Media Project
510 281 9023


‘People’s Choice’ open for audience vote

SAN FRANCISCO, CA— The Real Food Media Contest is pleased to announce the remarkable finalists in its second short films competition featuring stories about food, farming, and sustainability. From a backyard bread baker to farmworker organizers to an entrepreneurial snail farmer, the ten finalist films cover a huge range of topics and underreported issues in today’s growing good food movement. Films were selected from over 175 submissions. A panel of judges, including Padma Lakshmi, Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and chef Tom Colicchio, will select the Grand Prize winner, first runner up, and special awards. Online voting, starting today, will determine the “People’s Choice Award” at

The 2015 Contest invited a crop of digital submissions from 30-seconds to four minutes that tell unique food stories, with original voices and creative cinematography. Diverse formats include documentary to advocacy to spoken word, and, new this year, animated submissions in honor of the 10th anniversary of The Meatrix, a digital short on factory farms watched more than 20 million times.

“We were blown away by the powerful stories and the creativity in the films we received this year,” said Anna Lappé, Real Food Media Contest founder. “It thrills us to get these stories to audiences around the world.”

A panel of food and film luminaries will select the prizewinners from the top ten finalists, to be announced in early March 2015. Prizes include a $5,000 Grand Prize as well as awards for best student film, best cinematography, and more. All winning films have distribution opportunities with Contest media partners, including the Food and Farm Film Festival, Disposable Film Festival, SXSW Eco, and the Food Book Fair.

Contest judges include:

  • Thelma Adams, Yahoo! Movies contributing editor
  • Johanna Blakely, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California
  • Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table
  • Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders, Food52
  • Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post chief film critic
  • Byron Hurt, director and producer, Soul Food Junkies
  • Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model, and television host
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Maria Rodale, Chairman and CEO, Rodale, Inc.
  • Aarón Sanchez, award-winning chef, cookbook author, and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped”
  • Eric Schlosser, journalist and author, Fast Food Nation
  • Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation
  • Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse, founder, The Edible Schoolyard Project
  • Emily Zweber, organic farmer, first AgChat Foundation executive director

Entries from the 2015 Contest will join the Real Food Media Project film library, the largest repository of short films about food, farming, and sustainability in the country, produced by award-winning author Anna Lappé. The Project’s film library showcases last year’s Contest winners and 30 more carefully curated films, all under four minutes, organized by categories that include innovative food business, youth and urban agriculture and more.


The Contest’s mission is to spark conversation about food, farming, and sustainability around the world through short films and engaging public events. The Contest is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, a coalition of leading food and farm organizations in the United States working together to spread the story of our food with this online film Contest, grassroots events, creative movies, and a web-based action center. Visit to explore the new film library, to learn more about the Contest, and to enter the competition. Follow us on Twitter, @realfoodfilms, and like us on Facebook, at Real Food Media Project.


Read more