Archive: 2016

For Our Food Systems Sake, Say “No” to Corporate Consolidation

| Press

When you look to the year ahead, what do you see? Ensia recently invited eight global thought leaders to share their thoughts. In this interview with Ensia contributor Lisa Palmer for Ensia’s 2017 print annual, Real Food Media founder Anna Lappé responds to three questions: What will be the biggest challenge to address or opportunity to grasp in your field in 2017? Why? And what should we be doing about it now?

Anna Lappé
December 29, 2016

The food system is one of the largest forces impacting our planet’s environment and people’s health. The choices about what crops are grown, where and how they are produced, who gets access to that food and who makes those decisions all have global consequences.

One of the challenges to achieving a more sustainable and fair food system is cor­porate consolidation in the food sector. Consider the latest proposed merger be­tween global giants Bayer and Monsanto pending antitrust approval. And remem­ber, DuPont-Dow, Syngenta–Chem China and Monsanto-Bayer (if the mergers go through) aren’t agriculture companies first — they’re chemical companies.

Particularly worrisome is that these multi­national corporations are focused on just a handful of commodity crops, while we know global food security comes from supporting biodiversity. We know that corporate control leads to political cap­ture as corporations use lobbying dollars and campaign contributions to shape public policy and regulation, with enor­mous implications for the environment and food safety. We also know that once four or fewer corporations control more than 40 percent of a market, true com­petitiveness is compromised: Consumers and farmers lack real choice and fair pric­es. Consolidation puts food workers and small-scale farmers at risk, and it increases vertical integration, further hurting farm­ers’ ability to compete.

To achieve greater food sovereignty, we need to embolden our regulators to take antitrust action against these mergers. We need to see these not as simply business deals for Wall Street analysts to angst over, but as deals that affect the very essence of our food system.

Orignal post on Ensia

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7 Movement-Building Groups to Support this #GivingTuesday

| Contest News

Dear friends, 

If your inbox is like mine, it would be impossible to miss this is #GivingTuesday — when those who can make an extra effort to support the organizations and leaders who work hard every day to protect human rights, foster a safe and healthy environment and ensure everyone has access to what they need to thrive, especially food and clean water. 

Here at Real Food Media, we work every day to share the stories of those addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty, to support farmers and food workers, and create a more equitable and sustainable food system—from seed to plate.

Now, more than ever, these folks need our support. So instead of imploring you to support us (of course, you can do that, too), we want to encourage you to support some of the courageous and bold leaders of the good food movement whose work we deeply admire. While there are so many we could include, here are suggestions for seven groups to support right now: 

Food Chain Workers Alliance 

The Alliance is one of our core partners and there’s a reason why: We love what they do and the way they bring together food workers along the food chain—from the farm field to the back of the house in restaurants. Through the connections they make among some of the 21.5 million food workers, they are helping to bring the voice of workers into conversations about health and sustainability and organize for changes that improve the working conditions and lives of workers.  

National Young Farmers Coalition 

We need more farmers! This network is one of the leading forces behind supporting the next generation of farmers. From a fabulous campaign to include farming as a public service to training and networking for young farmers. 

National Black Farmers Association

 This exceptional organization leads education and advocacy efforts on civil rights and land retention, provides agricultural training and rural economic developments services and much more for black farmers and other small-scale farmers. It’s founder, John Boyd Jr., was one of my fellow James Beard Leadership Award winners and he is one of my all-time heroes.  

Civil Eats

We need good media—and we need it now more than ever. Civil Eats is a critical place for reporting on the good food movement and food policy. Started as a labor of love, the platform has grown in recent years and is now largely supported by its readers. It’s my go-to source for understanding the food world around me—and hope it is yours, too.  

Real Food Challenge 

This amazing network is growing the good food movement across college campuses nationwide. Real Food Challenge inspires students to move their campuses to purchase more “real food” — sustainable and fair, healthy and local. What I love about Real Food Challenge is that they also work with young people to understand power in the food system and how to organize in communities for change.   

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Born out of organizing efforts among farmworkers in Florida, the Coalition has grown to become one of the nation’s key voices for dignity in the fields — and for exposing and rooting out modern-day slavery. I’ve been connected with the Coalition for years and have been impressed with their persistent work on behalf of not just farmworkers in Florida where they are based, but for farmworkers across the country. As Senator Bernie Sanders said in 2008: “The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has proven that when you get up every day to fight for what is right, when you don’t give up even when all the odds are against you, when you don’t compromise on basic principles of fairness, and when you build a strong grassroots movement, economic justice will prevail over greed, and the least fortunate can successfully stand up to the powerful.”

Standing Rock

 If you haven’t already, we would also encourage you to support the fight in Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. You can give financial support through Stand with Standing Rock or Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council.

Please let us know what groups you are supporting and we’ll share on our social media, too. 

It feels good to give — and hope you will join us in supporting these groups or others in your community who you love. 

From my experience, I know that every donation means so much. Thank you! 

With warm regards,

Anna and the Real Food Media team  

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| Contest News

Dear Community,

We write to you this week with broken hearts. We also write to you with more resolve than ever to work together for the world we believe in—one based on love, not hate; one grounded in reverence for the planet and dignity for all.

We write to you grieving along with all the parents who had to explain to their children on Wednesday morning that no, the woman didn’t win, but the man who they watched say hateful things and be a cruel bully was our new President-Elect. Grieving that the lead on his agriculture transition team has been an industry lobbyist for 25 years. Grieving that the next President of the United States has been openly racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, has joked about sexually assaulting women (and has more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual assault), led the racist claim against Obama that he was not born in the United States, bragged about not paying federal taxes, has openly made fun of disabled people, wants to build a wall along the Mexican border and so much more. Grieving that our new president has denied climate science and has threatened to tear up the Paris climate agreement. Grieving for the devastating stories we are hearing of racism, sexism, anti-immigrant violence.

And, like so many, we are working through our grief to reflect on what we can do to protect and defend the progress we have made toward a more just and sustainable food system—and fight for more.

At Real Food Media, our work has always been rooted in the power of stories: They remind us who we are, who we can be; why we fight and for whom. They also expose the spin and misinformation of the powerful. As human beings, we cannot create what we cannot imagine. Stories of progress drive us to imagine this different future and fight for it – together. When we share stories of people standing up against exploitation in the tomato fields of Florida, injustice at meatpacking plants in the Midwest, water pollution from confined animal feeding operations in Missouri—we share their courage, too, and embolden others to stand up.

While we’re troubled, we are also inspired by the many victories nationwide that brought us closer to the food system we need, the food system we all deserve like the win for paid sick days in Washington and Arizona, minimum wage hikes in four states and a soda tax sweep in five cities despite $39 million in Big Soda spending to fight them. And the passage in the past month of Good Food Purchasing Programs in San Francisco schools, Los Angeles airports and, most likely, in Oakland, California schools next week.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” On weeks like this one, that bend seems so slight as to be imperceptible. But weeks like this one remind us, also, that the arc does not bend on its own: That bend, friends, is made by our working toward a shared vision of human dignity and environmental sustainability. And that’s what we plan to do: get to work, together.

As we do, we are grateful for all of you: Here’s to those who are committed to a more just and inclusive world, we stand with you and will continue to tell your story, to stand up when it is threatened and to fight alongside you.

With love,
Anna, Christina, Kris and Annie

Our friends at Real Food Challenge are hosting a call on Monday night with some wise allies to talk about how to move campaigns forward in this new moment, including:
• Mike Callicrate — a western rancher and long-time advocate against corporate control of our food system
• Marita Canedo — a Latinx farmworker organizer and pioneer of the Milk with Dignity human rights program
• Christina Hylton — Southern African-American farmer and farmer legal advocate (invited)
• Estefania Narvaez — Real Food Challenge West Coast Coordinator

We’ll be joining in. For those that want to participate, you can sign up here.

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Devour! Food Film Fest Includes Three 2016 Real Food Films Winners

| Contest News, Events, Press

Devour! The Food Film Fest is an international festival celebrating cinema, food and wine culture. The five-day festival takes place in the culinary epicenter of Nova Scotia – the town of Wolfville, Kings County. The festival is an experiential celebration of food on film, the culture of food and the dramatic impact it has on our day-to-day lives. The sixth edition of Devour! The Food Film Fest is slated for November 2-6, 2016.

We wish them another awesome Film Fest and are proud to share that this year’s program includes three 2016 Real Food Film Winners:

The 2016 Grand Prize Winner Home Flavored

In this powerful and poignant portrait of a Latino American family, award winning Youth Speaks poet Monica Mendoza tells the haunting story of how corporations continue to colonize the bodies of her culture and how to we can return to our roots. Directed by Jamie Wolf, written by Monica Mendoza and produced by Youth Speaks.


Home Flavored | 2016 Real Food Films Winner from Real Food Media on Vimeo.

The 2016 winner for Best Producer Profile, Farmed with Love

Fed up with food safety problems in China, a mother in Shanghai returns to the farm to help rebuild her trust in the local food system through organic farming. Directed by Wang Yu and produced by Li Yang.


Farmed with Love | 2016 Real Food Films Winner from Real Food Media on Vimeo.

The 2016 Grand Prize Runner up and winner of best cinematography, Naturali Tea

Beyond water, tea is the number one consumed beverage in the world. An organic Japanese tea farmer with over three decades of experience shows that soil health is essential for the environment and the future of tea. Directed by Jeremy Seifert and produced by Aaron Stair.


Naturali Tea | 2016 Real Food Films Winner from Real Food Media on Vimeo.


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Pop-Up Film Fest, Food + a Farm Tour

| Events


This weekend we joined the Logan Square Farmers Market in Chicago for a sold out Pop-Up Film Fest that included a screening of the 2016 short film finalists and winners, a behind the scenes look at the aquaponic operation at Metropolitan Farms and snacks by Chef in the Hood.

The afternoon kicked off at Silent Funny, a living and breathing arts space and community hub in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park. Before the screening, participants explored the industrial space including a series of rooms filled with a variety of mixed media art works. Nearly 40 of us gathered for the screening with opening remarks by Whitney Richardson, the Logan Square Market manager and Kris De la Torre, our Chicago based Programs and Communications manager. The screening was followed by a discussion of food issues and initiatives in the Chicago area before we walked the two short blocks to Metropolitan Farm.

Benjamin Kant, Founder/CEO of Metropolitan Farms dropping some knowledge.

Benjamin Kant, Founder/CEO of Metropolitan Farms dropping some knowledge.

At Metropolitan Farm we were met with a warm welcome by Benjamin Kant, the Founder/CEO. Ben shared his tremendous knowledge about the science and art of raising tilapia and growing nutritious greens in the middle of an industrial corridor. The farm’s mission is to grow fresh food in the city – right where it is eaten. By doing so, they hope their work will result in a healthier, more secure and environmentally sustainable food system. They are an aquaponic facility built over concrete, converting a vacant industrial site into a productive growing space. The event wrapped up with delicious snacks by Chef in the Hood including tilapia and watercress greens from the farm. We were thrilled to participate in such an inclusive community-driven event. Thanks to everyone who was able to make it and to Logan Square Farmers Market for hosting a great afternoon.

If you feel inspired to host your own Pop-Up Film Fest get in touch! We offer plenty of resources to plan your own film fest, big or small.

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Berkeley vs. Big Soda

| Press

In 2014, Berkeley successfully passed a bill to levy a tax on sugary drinks. In the face of over 2.4 million dollars spent by Big Soda in a series of failed lawsuits and fake grassroots front groups, real citizens used their collective voice to deliver a healthy change.

Since that watershed victory, the Berkeley vs. Big Soda campaign lives on as a resource and an example to other cities that hope to take the same positive action. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events and fundraisers. You might run into a few familiar faces!

Real Food Media founder Anna Lappé with Alice Waters and Malia Cohen.

Real Food Media founder Anna Lappé with Alice Waters and Malia Cohen.


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If You Think Eating Is A Political Act, Say Thanks To Francis Moore Lappé

| Press

Our founder, Anna Lappé and her mom, Frances Moore Lappé spoke with Allison Aubrey of the Morning Edition for the NPR series Boundbreakers: People Who Make A Difference.

Check out this inspiring interview and the wonderful summary Allison Aubrey shares of the conversation.

Originally published on NPR’s Morning Edition series Boundbreakers: People Who Make A Difference
By Allison Aubrey

When Frances Moore Lappé wrote the best-selling Diet For A Small Planet back in 1971, she helped start a conversation about the social and environmental impacts of the foods we choose.

And, back then, what she had to say was revolutionary. Her idea that a plant-centered diet could be better for the planet — and our health — than a meat-centered diet was considered radical. “It was heresy,” Lappé told me during a recent interview.

Read the full interview here.

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In Remembrance of our Friend, Founder of the French Culinary Institute & Real Food Films Judge Dorothy Cann Hamilton

| Judges

We celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Dorothy Cann Hamilton, a Real Food Films judge and advisor. Following this tragic news we want to honor Dorothy’s sound advice, her passion and knowledge of food, culture and cooking she generously shared not only with us, but with generations of chefs, students and TV audiences.

We would like to share the NY Times tribute that was published as a reflection and a remembrance of an extraordinary woman.

With deepest condolences,

Anna Lappé and our Real Food Films team

Originally posted in The New York Times
Sept. 19, 2016
By Sam Roberts

Dorothy Cann Hamilton, a food aficionado who started a vocational course that evolved into one of the world’s leading culinary schools, died on Friday on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. She was 67.

She died of injuries sustained in an automobile collision, said Bruce McCann, her cousin and the president of the International Culinary Center in California, the West Coast branch of the school that she founded in New York City in 1984 as the French Culinary Institute. She was the chief executive there.

The police said her SUV and a truck hauling a camper collided.

Ms. Hamilton, who lived in Manhattan, had a home in a remote corner of Cape Breton Island, in Fourchu, which she described in a blog post as “my family’s home village.” She was there to close her home for the winter and to meet with local educators.

The International Culinary Center is an outgrowth of her father’s training institute in the mechanical trades. Located in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, it counts more than 15,000 chefs as graduates, among them, Bobby Flay, Dan Barber, Wylie Dufresne, Christina Tosi, David Chang and Zak Pelaccio.

The center’s deans and teachers have included professional chefs like Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner, Jacques Torres, Alain Sailhac, Jose Andres, Nils Noren and Cesare Casella.

Ms. Hamilton was also the host of “Chef’s Story,” a PBS television and Heritage Radio Network series that profiled chefs. Last year she became one of only four Americans (the others were Julia Child, Thomas Keller and Alice Waters) to receive the Legion of Honor from the French government for promoting French cuisine in the United States.

Read the full tribute here.

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Host Your Own Pop-Up Film Fest

| Contest News

Looking for a fun – and free – activity this summer? Interested in learning more about food, farming, and sustainability? Love great stories? Look no further: Host your very own Pop-Up Film Fest!

Pop-Up Film Fest backyard


Every year, Real Food Films puts on an international short film competition that catalyzes creative shorts that encompass the many aspects of our food system. Now, we invite you to bring Real Food Films to your community by hosting a screening party that features the 2016 Top 10 Finalists, or any combination of the 70+ films in our free library. Here’s the recipe:



We will provide:

  • digital reel of the Top 10 Finalist Films from the 2016 Real Food Films Contest (total run time < 40 min)
  • 2016 Screening Guide, including an Action Hub of resources to help you plan your screening, spark discussion and get involved in the issues raised in the films
  • A free library of over 70 films under 4 minutes to mix and match your own program
  • An event listing on our website to promote – if your event is open to the public



  1. Pick a date and location
  2. Register your Pop-Up via our Real Food Films site
  3. Invite your friends, family, students, colleagues, congregants etc.
  4. Add a sprinkle of food and fun
  5. Play the digital reel
  6. Discuss, reflect, and vote for your favorite film!


Interested? Sign up!

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Anna Honored with 2016 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award!

| Press

james_beard_logo and award

We are so thrilled and excited to share the wonderful news that our Project Director, Anna Lappé, will be honored among this year’s James Beard Leadership Award winners:

From Anna:


This is a particularly significant honor because of my respect for previous award winners and this year’s other honorees including Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Raj Patel, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, and John Boyd, Jr. Check out the fantastic work of these fellow awardees from farmworker rights to hunger advocacy to rooting out inequality in the food system – see the full press release here. It’s such an honor to be recognized among them.


In the past few years—thanks in large part to our dedicated supporters and amazing team—we have been able to have even greater reach and I’m so pleased the Foundation is recognizing the work in this way. Sincere thanks to all those who have been a part of our growth and impact!


With gratitude,


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Announcing the 2016 Real Food Films Winners

| Contest News, Press

RFF Letterhead logo

May 2, 2016


Christina Bronsing-Lazalde
Director of Programs + Partnerships
Real Food Media
773 808 6737




SAN FRANCISCO — May 2, 2016 — A stunning diversity of food and farming stories win top honors in the third annual Real Food Films Contest, the food movement’s first and only competition for short films about sustainable food and farming. Founded by author and advocate Anna Lappé, the Real Food Films Contest received 160 submissions from 20 countries this year. Films were required to be four minutes or under and feature original voices that lift up underreported stories at the heart of the food movement. Film styles ranged from documentaries to advocacy films to spoken word poetry shorts. Real Food Films’ prestigious panel of judges—including Padma Lakshmi, author Raj Patel, James Beard Foundation’s Susan Ungaro, and chef Tom Colicchio—selected the prizes from the top ten finalists.

The 2016 Grand Prize winner is Home Flavored a haunting story of how soda companies impact the lives of Latino families in the United States. Contest judge, Raj Patel, described the film as a “powerful fusion of slam poetry, documentary, essay, argument and anthropology. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen, and couldn’t wait to hear the next line… It’s the kind of filmmaking that’ll get food issues to a far wider audience.”

Directed by Jamie DeWolf from Oakland, California, Home Flavored features spoken word poet Monica Mendoza and was produced with The Bigger Picture, a collaboration between Youth Speaks and the University of California San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations designed to combat the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes by empowering youth to change the conversation.

Real Food Films media partners — the James Beard Foundation, Slow Food USA, Vimeo among others — will promote the 10 finalist films online and at in-person events around the country. All the films are free to watch online or at more than 50 Pop-Up Film Fests to be hosted around the country. The entire Real Food Films library, of more than 70 captivating short films, is viewable at


Additional Prizes include:

First Runner Up + Best Cinematography: Naturali Tea | Jeremy Seifert, Aaron Stair
Fujieda, Japan
After water, tea is the number one consumed beverage in the world. An organic Japanese tea farmer with over three decades of experience shows that soil health is essential for the environment and the future of tea.

Lens On Hunger Award: Everybody Eats | Justinian Dispenza, Tanner Presswood
Boone, North Carolina
Addressing hunger with dignity, pay-as-you-can cafes are popping up across the world. This film tells the story of one innovative, and delicious, alternative to conventional hunger relief efforts and reveals the resiliency and compassion of community at the same time.

People’s Choice Award + Best Student Film: Beyond the Seal | Leah Varjacques and Katherine Nagasawa
El Oro Province, Ecuador
Beyond the Seal peels back our understanding on the most eaten fruit in the United States–the banana–uncovering its toxic production and the people behind a movement to change the industry.

Best Underreported Issue: Saving Sap | Ian Maclellan, Eloise Reed, Dylan Ladds
Loudon, New Hampshire
A story of how climate change touches food, Saving Sap tells the tale of maple syrup tapping in New England and efforts to adapt to a warming world.

Best Food Producer Profile: Farmed with Love | Wang Yu, Li Yang
Shanghai, China
Fed up with food safety problems in China, a mother in Shanghai returns to the farm to help rebuild her trust in the local food system through organic farming.

Best Innovative Initiative: The Kelly Street Garden | Alison Hall Kibbe, Rebecca Scheckman, Sasha Phyars-Burgess, Seyi Adebanjo, Tiana Thomas, Rosalba Lopez Ramirez
South Bronx, New York City
Can a group of dedicated residents rebuild trust and community connections? The Kelly Street Garden in New York City’s South Bronx shows what’s possible when individuals dig deep and commit to transforming neighborhoods through art, wellness – and fresh, healthy food.

Best Animation: Save the Bees | Marta Topolska, Mark Mos
United States
Bees are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. They are key to healthy ecosystems, plants and agriculture. This short animation tells the story behind dwindling bee populations, and asks us to take action.


Real Food Films sparks conversation about food, farming, and sustainability around the world through an international film competition and engaging public events. Real Food Films is an initiative of the Real Food Media, harnessing media and storytelling to educate, inspire and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming via this online film Contest, grassroots events, a web-based action center and strategic partnerships. Visit to explore the new film library and to learn more about the Contest. Follow us on Twitter @realfoodfilms, Instagram @realfoodmedia and like us on Facebook at Real Food Media.



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Pop-Up Film Fest: Food and Fun for All!

| Contest News, Events

Last night 125+ of our closest and newest friends came together for our first Pop-Up Film Fest of the year. It was a honor to showcase our ten Real Food Films finalists to an audience hungry for food system change.

Although the in-person film vote was split, we are certain everyone agreed that the snacks and drinks provided by our friends Alta Salsa, Sweetgreen, Shrub & Co., House Kombucha and St. George Spirits were winners all-around.

Thank you to our event partners Real Food Real Stories, Berkeley Food Institute, UC Berkeley GradFood, Student Organic Garden Association, The Berkeley Student Food Collective and the Bay Area Book Festival; our media sponsor, Civil Eats; and our incredible hosts at the David Brower Center.

Just in case you missed the evening, you can still host your own Pop-Up Film Fest using our finalist reel and Screening and Action Guide. All of the information is available for free here.

Finally, a huge thank you to Youth Speaks, the Bigger Picture and Gabriel Cortez for providing us with an amazing start to the evening — See below for Gabriel in action!

"Perfect Soldiers" – Gabriel Cortez {The Bigger Picture Project} from Wolf and Holmes Studios on Vimeo.

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Get to Know Our Finalists!

| Contest News, Films We Like

We are now in the last week of of People’s Choice Voting and can hardly believe that our Real Food Films 2016 winners will be announced next week.

While you wait patiently for May 2, make sure that you have read up on the cinematographers, directors and producers that made this year possible. We are honored to showcase these then all-star films, and are grateful for all of the filmmakers’ hard work to shift the narrative on food, farming + sustainability.

Visit our Film Library and click through to a short to learn more about the faces behind the films!


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| Contest News, Press

RFF Letterhead logo

April 1, 2016 

Christina Bronsing-Lazalde, Real Food Media
773 808 6737





SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Real Food Films Contest is pleased to announce the outstanding finalists in its third short films competition featuring stories about food, farming, and sustainability. From the depths of fishing in Thailand, to the true grit of Alabama, the changing climate of maple syrup and creative ways to quell hunger, the ten finalist films cover a broad range of topics in today’s growing good food movement. A panel of judges, including Padma Lakshmi, Raj Patel, Susan Ungaro, 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 2016 Finalists were selected from 160 submissions representing filmmakers from 20 countries in this year’s first ever call for entries outside of the U.S. and Canada. Diverse formats include documentary to advocacy to spoken word. Films are all four minutes or under and feature original voices and stunning cinematography that lean toward the get-your-hands-dirty stories at the heart of the food movement over the perfectly styled plates of restaurateurs. Top 10 short films eloquently capture action in the food system from down the block and around the globe.

This year’s finalists include:


Prize winners will be announced on May 2, 2016 and include a $5,000 Grand Prize, a new $5,000 Lens on Hunger Award, as well as $5,000 more in awards for best student film, best cinematography, and more. All winning films have distribution opportunities with Contest media partners, including Devour! The Food Film Fest, Disposable Film Festival, SXSW Eco and Vimeo.


Viewers can join Real Food Media in celebrating the stories featured in these Top 10 films and vote for their People’s Choice favorite now through April 30 online. Live screening events are free to host by signing up for a Pop-Up Film Fest; to date over 200 have been hosted around the world.


Contest judges include:

  • 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
  • Emily Zweber, organic farmer, first AgChat Foundation executive director


Entries from the 2016 Contest will join the Real Food Films Library, a curated collection of short films about food, farming, and sustainability, produced by award-winning author Anna Lappé. The Project’s film library showcases winners from the first two years of the Contest and 40 more carefully selected films, all under four minutes, organized by categories that include innovative food business, global voices, youth leaders, underreported issues 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, harnessing powerful media and storytelling to educate, inspire and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming via this online film Contest, grassroots events, a web-based action center and strategic partnerships. Visit to explore the new film library, to learn more about the Contest, and to enter the competition. Follow us on Twitter @realfoodfilms, Instagram @realfoodmedia and like us on Facebook at Real Food Media.



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Submissions Are In – And We’re Just Getting Started!

| Contest News

We feel like it’s Christmas morning. 159 films were submitted to the 2016 Real Food Films Contest. Real Food Media HQ is already picking out our snacks for a cozy afternoon of reviewing. We can’t wait to see what we’ll learn and who we’ll meet in this year’s bumper crop of films.

From here, we’ll be tapping our advisors for feedback as we narrow down the Top 10 Finalists by April 1 before we send on to our all-star judges panel.

Until then, you can gather your own judges panel / potluck / picnic to watch and vote on this year’s finalists: Sign up to host a Pop-Up Film Fest in April! All hosts and audiences during the month of April will be able to cast your votes for People’s Choice Award and will be entered to win fun real food freebies from cookbooks to DVDs to popcorn and art projects for your events.

Thanks for all being a part of building an incredible community of real food storytellers, media makers and a library of soon to be 70+ films these past three years. Stay tuned for April 1!

Big gratitude,
Anna, Christina, Fiona and Annie
Real Food Media

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Food Chains wins #DocImpact Award

| Films We Like

Congratulations to our Real Food Films Advisor, Sanjay Rawal, and his production team for winning the 2016 Doc Impact Award! This award celebrates documentary films that have the greatest impact on society.

This accolade is well deserved, Food Chains is one of the most spectacular films to expose the realities of farm labor in America, the power behind the $4 trillion global supermarket industry, and the revolutionary work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

For more information on the film, and to learn how you can take action, click here.

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Food & Wine Blog: A Meditation on the Importance of Seeds

| Films We Like

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

by Fiona Ruddy

The Gift chronicles Canadian farmer and seed pioneer Dan Janson. Poetically filmed and directed by Jean-Marc Abela, this short film is a poignant reminder of beauty hidden in the smallest places.

With Valentine’s Day nipping at our heels, surrounded by temptations of far-flung diamonds or flowers, this film is a Zen-like prompt to slow down and focus on the gifts all around us. The diminutive nature of seeds masks their power: As Janson recounts with awe, one Amaranth plant can house a quarter of a million seeds.

Janson asks viewers to pause and think of the humble seed grower, the individuals quietly keeping biodiversity alive. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, just twelve seed varieties supply three quarters of the food that nourishes the planet—a scary sign of biodiversity loss. Janson and his comrades around the world—these heroic seed savers—are trying to reverse this troubling trend.

Instead of that box of chocolate or a dangly delight, we advocate for giving the gift of seeds to your loved ones this February, and passing on the gift of life. For some great ideas, visit Janson’s website

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One Month Left to Stick a Fork in it!

| Contest News

The ONE MONTH COUNTDOWN before the Real Food Films Contest is officially here!

That’s right, we’re only a month away from the submission deadline for a chance to win a total of over $15,000 in cash prizes this year, wide distribution with media partners including Vimeo, and all eyes on your work from filmmakers and food-fans alike.

We can’t wait to see what ground-breaking, heartfelt, humorous, and inspiring stories come our way this year. You’ve got one month to join in this international conversation about a better food system. So, as they say – lights, camera, action!

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Real Food Films Hero Featured on National Public Radio

| Films We Like

“In this food desert where it is easier to buy liquor than lettuce, he’s helping students grow a garden inside his fourth floor classroom.”

The Real Food Films team was thrilled to see Stephen Ritz, of the Green Bronx Machine, featured as one of National Public Radio’s 50 Great Teachers.

Listen to the NPR piece, and to watch Mr. Ritz and his students in action – check out the 2014 film from the Real Food Films archive, winner of the People’s Choice category!

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BREAKING: Real Food Films Announces NEW $5K Lens on Hunger Award

| Contest News

BREAKING: We are thrilled to announce a brand new category for the 2016 Real Food Films Contest: the Lens on Hunger Award offers a $5,000 prize and top films in this category will be featured in our new Lens on Hunger series of grassroots events taking place across the U.S. and Canada this year.

Short films in this category will feature stories about:

  • root issues and causes of hunger
  • solution stories about how communities are addressing hunger
  • individuals, schools and organizations making a difference
  • creative ways to eat well on a limited budget
  • policies that make good food affordable and accessible


Who do you know that’s fighting for equity and access across the food system? They could win $5,000 and share their story with thousands this year through the Lens on Hunger series.


Deadline is March 1st. Details on submissions guidelines can be found here.

The countdown is on as we’re less than six weeks away from the deadline. We appreciate your help getting this exciting announcement in front of those who have a story to tell.


Twitter - Lens on Hunger Award 2

Twitter - Lens on Hunger Award 3

Twitter - Lens on Hunger Award 4

Twitter - Lens on Hunger Award 1

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Finalists in Their Own Words

| Contest News

To everyone that tweeted, blogged, facebooked, or shouted from the rooftops last week – thank you! January is off to a roaring start because of your unwavering support. This week we are thrilled to feature the engine of the Real Food Films Contest: Filmmakers!

Without the vision and voice of filmmakers, the 2016 Real Food Films Contest wouldn’t be a contest at all. We know from the experience of the past two years that this process is an enriching journey and career launchpad for up-and-coming media makers. Don’t take our word for it – read on for what filmmakers had to say about the Contest:

Click on the images to tweet:

Twitter - Dustin Hughes

Twitter - Daniel Klein

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Bring on the Films!

| Contest News

Happy New Year from Real Food Media!

We are thrilled to start the year off with a bang and re-up the push for our third year of the Real Food Films Contest. We can’t wait for another fresh crop of short films to spotlight some new inspiration in the movement for a more just and fair food system — and we invite you to join us and help cultivate these envelope-pushing voices.

We are committed to presenting high quality, meaningful films to view in April, and appreciate your help in bringing new voices and filmmakers into the fold. Please join us in this final push and spread the word!

Click on the image to tweet:

Twitter - Bring on the Films

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