Documentary to Highlight Those Finding Solutions to Hunger, Poverty, Landlessness

Originally published in Food Tank

A documentary film adapted from the book Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé launched on Kickstarter in May 2017.

Fifteen years after the book’s original publication in 2002, Luis Medina, a graduate Food Studies student at New York University, hopes to bring these stories to the screen by traveling through four continents to discover people who find solutions to hunger, poverty, and landlessness in their communities.

“These stories need to be shared now more than ever. At this point in history, people fear for their democracy. Film has the power to engage our senses and compel us to act in ways a book does not,” says the director. “I believe all people want to make a positive difference in the world, to be of something bigger and life serving, but so often we are afraid and feel powerless. “Hope’s Edge” seeks to inspire us to take action by showing regular people around the world doing what we never thought possible.”

The book itself was a follow-up to Frances Moore Lappé’s 1971 bestseller, Diet for a Small Planet, which challenged the idea that society needs to produce more food to feed the world.

According to the Friends of the Earth report Farming for the Future, we produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. Still, as consequence of a model of food production which significantly contributes to climate change, environmental degradation, and poor diets, around 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger.

Hunger is not caused by a scarcity in food, it’s caused by a scarcity in democracy and unequal access to land, water, credit, and fair markets, preventing people from acquiring the resources necessary to feed themselves.

“Hope’s Edge” finds new spaces for people to find the courage to take action by showing others effecting change, challenging inequalities, and finding solutions to hunger, poverty, and landlessness around the world.

Click here for the “Hope’s Edge” Kickstarter campaign.

Hope’s Edge

Read more on the Hope’s Edge website.

100+ food & ag groups stand with labor and tell Senators to Vote No on Andy Puzder nomination

| Contest News, Press

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United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

January 30, 2017

RE: Nomination of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor

Dear Senators:

Our organizations urge you to oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. This nomination represents another in a string of Trump administration appointments that betrays the President-elect’s promise to improve the lives of working people.

As CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Puzder’s nomination to an agency charged with protecting working people is rife with conflicts of interest. Puzder’s company has faced numerous Department of Labor violations for failing to pay the minimum wage or overtime: Sixty percent of inspections of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants found labor law violations and Puzder has opposed both raising the minimum wage and enforcement of overtime rules and mandatory sick leave. Puzder’s confirmation would ensure that the interests of the fast food industry—and its large meat and food industry suppliers—would prevail over the needs of hard-working people in the food system who face some of the highest rates of food insecurity due to low wages and poor working conditions.

Contrary to what Puzder and other corporate leaders at the National Restaurant Association say about good working conditions in the restaurant sector, the majority of restaurant workers are women and people of color, making as little as $2.13 per hour and rely on tips to survive. These workers face disproportionate rates of poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment and deserve a Labor Secretary who believes that, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “All labor has dignity.” Instead, with the National Restaurant Association’s champion heading the Department of Labor, workers will have to rely on vocal opponents of labor regulations to protect their basic workplace rights.

On behalf of the many people and groups who are working for a better food system that provides nutritious food and livable wages and treats the land, farmers, and animals with respect, we the undersigned urge you to oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder to Labor Secretary.

Puzder would be yet one more nominee working for the interests of big business over the interests of working people.


ActionAid USA

African American Cultural Center (Us)

Agricultural Justice Project

Alliance for Fair Food

Beyond Pesticides

Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA)

Black Urban Growers


Brighter Green

California Institute for Rural Studies

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Food Safety

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Center for Urban Education for Sustainable Agriculture

Climate Justice Alliance

Coalition of Immokalee Workers


Common Ground Community

Community Alliance for Global Justice

Community Food and Justice Coalition

Compassion in World Farming

Corporate Accountability International

Dakota Resource Council

Domestic Fair Trade Association


El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas, The Farmworkers’ Support Committee

Family Farm Defenders

Farm Forward

Farmworker Association of Florida

Farmworker Justice

Food & Water Watch

Food Chain Workers Alliance

Food Democracy Now!

Food Empowerment Project

Food First

Food Shift

Food Tank


Foundation Earth

Friends of the Earth

GMO Inside

Grassroots Gardens WNY

Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council

Green America

HEAL Food Alliance

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Health Care Without Harm

Idle No More Duluth

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

International Labor Rights Forum

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Just Food

Land Stewardship Project

Laundry Workers Center

Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University

Lucid Food

Midwest Pesticide Action Center

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice

National Black Food & Justice Alliance

National Family Farm Coalition

National Young Farmers Coalition

Natural Resources Defense Council

NC Environmental Justice Network

New Mexico Public Health Association

Ninjas for Health

North American Climate,Conservation and Environment

Northeast Organic Farming Association of

New York

Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice Center


Organic Consumers Association

Other Worlds

People’s Climate Movement NY

People’s Grocery

Pesticide Action Network

Phat Beets Produce

Pioneer Valley Workers Center

Real Food Challenge

Real Food for Kids

Real Food Media

ROC United

RootDown LA

Roots of Change

Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural

Sacramento Food Policy Council

Slow Food California

Slow Food Chicago

Slow Food USA

Small Planet Institute

Soil Generation

South Agassiz Resource Council

Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California

Springfield Food Policy Council

Student/Farmworker Alliance

Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL)

Toxic Taters

Treasure Valley Food Coalition

Union of Concerned Scientists

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

US Food Sovereignty Alliance

Warehouse Worker Resource Center

Warehouse Workers for Justice


Workers’ Center of Central New York

Young Workers United

Join the Real Food Media Team in Oakland!

| Contest News


Part-time position: 20 hours a week
Location: Oakland, CA

The Events and Administration Coordinator supports the Real Food Media and the Office of Anna Lappé. Real Food Media, housed at Corporate Accountability International, is a collaborative initiative working with partners around the country to spark conversations about our food system, catalyze creative storytelling about sustainability and justice along the food chain and connect communities for action. Anna Lappé is the Director of Real Food Media and an educator, public speaker and author. Current projects include:

  • Special Partnerships: In 2017, we are focused on our partnership with the Center for Good Food Purchasing and the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the national campaign to promote Good Food Purchasing nationwide ( (Past projects include Voices of the Food Chain with Food Chain Workers Alliance
  • Public Engagement: Ongoing public education through Real Food Media events and speeches, webinars, workshops and more with director, Anna Lappé ( In addition, Real Food Films and Real Food Reads—an online film library and resource center ( as well as a monthly book club—represent more of our public education;
  • Food MythBusters: An online action center with resources to combat the most persistent myths about our food system (;
  • Food Movement Philanthropy: In addition to the work through Real Food Media, Anna Lappé is involved with other projects that this position supports, including food movement philanthropy through efforts such as the Small Planet Fund supporting grassroots groups around the country tackling the root causes of hunger (;

Hours: Flexible days and schedule, prefer full days Mondays and Tuesdays in our Oakland office.

Location: 22nd Street and Broadway, Oakland, California and remote.


Terms: One-month trial period after which time this job description will be reviewed. We typically seek a one-year commitment. Three weeks is requested for notice of termination.

Job Description: This position is the go-to person for project administration, including fielding media and event queries and handling details for our events, both ones we produce and ones we participate in, including conferences, webinars and workshops (about 25 to 30 a year). In addition, this candidate supports our fundraising work as well as helps administer a small grantmaking program. Candidates must be adept at managing multiple deadlines as well as back-end administration. A successful candidate will be familiar with our work and excited about being part of a small team with big impact.


Event Production and Support, including:

  • Coordinating and overseeing logistics for Real Food Media hosted or co-hosted events, likely two a year;
  • Publicizing events via MailChimp listserv, Real Food Media websites and social platforms and supporting event hosts in other ways as needed and managing all event follow-up and further engagement;
  • Responding to speaking requests for Director and coordinating all travel and logistics;
  • Tracking all events for annual impact reporting.


Media and Communications, including:

  • Promoting media about the Project as relevant via Real Food Media websites, MailChimp listserv;
  • Drafting and scheduling communications with direction from Director of Programs + Partnerships;
  • Responding to all email and phone inquiries and managing CRM system and email lists;
  • Coordinating any program mailings out of the Oakland office;
  • Tracking all media queries and media hits for annual impact reporting.


Administration, including:

  • Maintaining Real Food Media calendars and project management tracking related to events, workflows and fundraising calendars via Asana;
  • Supporting Directors with preparing funding proposals, tracking deliverables and preparing reports.


Small Planet Fund Administration, including:

  • Coordinating with RSF Social Finance to administer, track and report on the Small Planet Fund grantmaking.



  • Passion for food justice and exposing corporate control of our food system;
  • Familiarity with administration of a small non-profit or business;
  • Strong communication skills and attention to detail;
  • High degree of competency using Excel and Word;
  • Self-motivated, highly organized team player with a collaborative spirit;
  • BA or MA or equivalent experience in a field related to food systems and/or business/non-profit administration and/or communications.



  • Familiar with event planning and logistics;
  • Familiar with on-line sharing systems, like Box, and project management systems, like Asana;
  • Familiar with WordPress or design programs like Illustrator;
  • Experience in grant writing and reporting;
  • Familiarity with other tools we use, including: Slack, MailChimp, Insightly, Typeform,
  • Google Apps, SproutSocial/Online Data Analytics.


Compensation: Contractor position at $25.00/hour. Must have own computer.

Deadline: January 20th

To apply: Submit your resume and cover letter via our online application (

Real Food Media is a project of Corporate Accountability International and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability or veteran status.

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

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  


| 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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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!

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,


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.



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.

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!



| 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.



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

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.

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

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!

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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.

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




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

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

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!

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.

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

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!

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.




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.


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.

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!)

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.


Less than One Week! Entries due Jan 5, 2015 @ 12p PST

| Contest News

Dun, dun, dun: the deadline is fast approaching! Whether you’re excited to watch (like us) or putting your finishing touches on to submit, we’re excited to say we’ll have a new crop of submissions in just one more week.


Crossing off your checklist:

Now we know you’re not last-minute-types (ahem), but we did get an awful lot of submissions last year right under the deadline. Santa’s not the only one making lists and checking them twice – or, thrice. So, please bear with this friendly PSA reminder to check the list before submitting:


We’re happy to answer questions that come up, but we’d rather do it now than when you’re an hour away from deadline in panic mode. (And you probably would, too.) So, be sure you know what is expected and leave room for uploading time and possible glitches. Reach out with questions!


The Textbook Farmer | Film Library Review

| Contest News, Films We Like

Featured Guest Post by Zulakha Iqbal, Small Planet Institute intern

It’s just two wheels and some metal strewn together, but for some it embodies economic stability, access to education, and a hopeful future.

Farming is just about planting crops and raising animals to outsiders, but for farmers, tending to the land is an intricate, demanding, and risky business.

Often, one sees only the simplistic character instead of the complex nature and everlasting effects of entities such as a bike or farming.

That is what we can learn from The Textbook Farmer and filmmakers, brothers Benjamin and Jacob-Siegel, and their work with World Bicycle Relief.

What started as a project on the organization known as World Bicycle Relief, turned into a short film with an even deeper message once they stumbled upon a Zambian farmer named Benjamin and his inspiring story. Before digging into the wise words of Benjamin, the economist/dairy farmer, let’s take a minute to focus on the original intention of the filmmakers, explaining the work of World Bicycle Relief and how they change lives on a daily basis. If you’re interested in learning even more about the transformative effect of a single bicycle take a peek at their groundbreaking film, With My Own Two Wheels. You can watch the whole thing here.

World Bicycle Relief is a Chicago-based international non-profit organization that operates a bicycle distribution program that helps to reduce poverty and build communities in developing countries. Armed with the knowledge and statistical proof that communities in Africa and Sri Lanka experienced a more than 30% increase in income as a result of owning a bike, the organization aims to provide well-designed reliable bikes to impoverished communities that can use them in a variety of ways to improve their overall quality of life.

For example, World Bicycle Relief reserves 70% of their bikes for the Educational Empowerment Program for girls who face extreme challenges in order to access education due to household chores, personal safety, and early marriages. The bikes improve access to schools for teachers and students with proven success rates.

The Textbook Farmer 2Along with education, the program also helps out local farmers. Those living in rural areas can avoid walking long distances and ultimately decrease their travel time with a bike instead of paying for expensive transportation. This is a significant plight for farmers who must take their goods to sell in more populous areas. The bikes carry up to 220 lbs., enabling dairy farmers like Benjamin to be able to transport their products to distant co-ops.

However, The Textbook Farmer takes us on a more personal journey with the story of a man who offers us a unique lens and differing perspective. Benjamin, the focus of the film, is a trained economist with a Master’s degree from Australia. Upon returning to Zambia and not being able to find a job that suited his interests, he took up dairy farming. The way Benjamin’s words resonate in the few minutes of the film is so astounding that it’s no surprise that the makers of the film also found a need to focus on him.

Not only is one intrigued by Benjamin’s journey to dairy farming despite his international education, but also we are pushed into further contemplation when Benjamin himself challenges us on this notion. Why should we find an educated farmer to be a surprise? Why do we find ourselves upset that Benjamin ‘has to be’ a dairy farmer because he couldn’t find a job that suited him? According to Benjamin, we’re wrong.

“I’m a practicing economist, just in the dairy industry,” Benjamin explains as he goes over the analytics he employs in operating his farm such as cost-benefit analysis and other economic terms you would find being employed by a firm. As one of the filmmakers, Jacob Seigel-Boettner explained to me, Benjamin’s story forces us to “Reshape what jobs we see as valued by society.” Important work like farming and other blue-collar jobs have been increasingly looked down on in society in comparison with the corporate world.

Although it’s set in Zambia, the global message Benjamin exudes is one of humility and self-reflection to understand that the measurements of success are not as simple as we thought. In less than four minutes the film will have you questioning your own definition of success, hence why it is certainly worth a watch, and a visit to World Bicycle Relief to learn more about enabling farmers and communities in developing nations.

Closing with Benjamin’s own iconic words, regardless of your education, job, or background, “You are the master of your own destiny.” No matter your stance on the correlation between status and success, this is one statement most of us would find ourselves agreeing with.

 Watch The Textbook Farmer:



ZULAKHA IQBAL is currently a senior at Boston University, where she is pursuing a degree in international relations with a minor in history. During the course of her internship at Small Planet, Zulakha is excited to gain more knowledge about sustainable food practices and how environmental policy plays a major role in the fight against global poverty and hunger. She also regularly contributes as a translator of Urdu articles to an index of foreign publications. Zulakha enjoys playing the violin, going to concerts, spending time at the beach, and working on future business endeavors.


Judge Spotlight: Maria Rodale

| Contest News, Judges

We’re thrilled to welcome Maria Rodale to the judges panel for this year’s Real Food Media Contest!

Maria_Rodale_square_grayMaria is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., the global voice for health and wellness with a mission to inspire and enable people to improve their lives and the world around them. Reaching more than 100 million people worldwide, Rodale publishes some of the best-known health and wellness magazines, including Men’s Health, Prevention, Runner’s World, Women’s Health, and Organic Gardening (which will relaunch as Rodale’s Organic Life in Spring 2015). The company is also one of the largest independent booksellers in the United States with a collection of bestselling titles that include An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore and The Honest Life, by Jessica Alba.

organicmanifesto_011550_700x700Maria is an activist and a businesswoman who has made promoting the benefits of an organic lifestyle both her personal mission and her business. In 2013, she created and launched Rodale’s, an online shopping destination that offers healthy solutions for a happy life.  She also started Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen, a blog that offers a digital experience of the contemporary kitchen table: a place to exchange recipes, entertain visits from friends, and discuss timely ideas.

The author of several books, Maria is known for her 2010 title Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe.

2014 James Beard Foundation Food Conference

| Events


Health & Food: Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?

October 27-28, NYC and tune in via Livestream

For decades, a growing evidence points to food as the key to improving the health of our bodies, as well as the health of our communities and our environment. Our food choices are informed—consciously or not—by policy, society, economics, marketing and, of course, personal preference. Increasingly, food is being touted as a method of prevention, as well as a prescription for better health.

The James Beard Foundation Food Conference will convene a diverse group of thought leaders to examine the way food supports and encourages, or confuses and fails us, individually and as a society, to be healthy.

Our speakers and provocateurs will include leaders in agricultural technology, nutrition science, processing, manufacturing, policy and public health. They will challenge and widen our perspectives and offer solutions to improving the impact food has on our health. You’ll never think the same way about what you eat again.

Speakers and Panelists Include:

  • Mark Bittman, Author and Columnist, The New York Times
  • Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, Chair, Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department, University of Pennsylvania, Former Senior Health Policy Advisor on Health Care for The White House
  • Toni Griffin, Founder, Urban Planning for the American City
  • Dr. Tim Harlan, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Tulane University
  • Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, the White House
  • Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University
  • Michael Pollan, Writer/Journalist and Professor, University of California, Berkley

A full agenda and more information is available by visiting the JBF Food Conference website.


Watch the archived footage of all the speakers and panelists from the 2014 JBF Food Conference.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers Launches Fair Food Label

| Ambassadors, Films We Like

There is a trifecta of big food justice news happening today from our coalition (Coalition of Immokalee Workers), advisors (Sanjay Rawal, Director of Food Chains), and media partners (Food Day) – and we hope you’re as excited as we are.

Food Chains is joining in Food Day by working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to officially launch their Fair Food Program Label.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Fair Food Standards Council have officially released a label to help shoppers identify which tomatoes come from ethical farms.


The label, designed by Pinkwater & Putman will be available to all grocery stores and restaurants that participate in the Fair Food Program. Participants in the Fair Food Program pay one more penny per pound when they buy Florida tomatoes to increase wages for farm workers. They also commit to a worker-created Code of Conduct to ensure safe working conditions and prevent forced labor, sexual harassment and child labor in the fields.

“We have waited nearly five years before revealing this label to the world today,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW.  “Over those years, we have been doing the hard, day-by-day work of building the Fair Food Program in Florida’s fields — educating workers about their rights, investigating complaints, and identifying and eliminating bad actors and bad practices — so that today we can stand behind the fair conditions and effective monitoring process that this label represents.  We couldn’t be more proud of this label because it symbolizes the new day for workers in agriculture that we, as farmworkers and in partnership with consumers across the country, have fought so hard to make real,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW.

Whole Foods will be the first member of the Fair Food Program to display the label in their stores, starting with the South Eastern Region.

Starting this month, the Fair Food Program Label will be available in select grocery stores and restaurants that participate in the Fair Food Program.  You can look for this label, which guarantees that the tomatoes you are buying are from farms participating in the Fair Food Program. Participating companies commit to pay one more penny per pound of tomatoes, which translates into better wages for workers.  Most importantly, these companies only purchase tomatoes from farms that ensure the basic human rights of the men and women in the fields, including the right to safe working conditions, to water and shade, and to work free of sexual violence and forced labor.

The label is the result of the Fair Food Program, which was created out of the success of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)’s Campaign for Fair Food. The founders of the CIW were recently honored with the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and presented the award by Eva Longoria.

Longoria has been a longtime supporter of farmworkers including the CIW and the Fair Food Program, and recently executive-produced a documentary film on their work, entitled Food Chains.

Food Chains follows the CIW as they peacefully protest large grocery store and fast food chains to call on them to join the Fair Food Program. There are currently 12 retail food giants participating in the program, including McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Subway, Chipotle, and Walmart. This is what it will take to bring humane living conditions and fair wages to the workers.

“The Fair Food Label is a historic moment for both consumers and for workers. In an era when there is so much interest in food, this label will allow consumers to know that the products it represents were picked by people treated well and paid fairly,” said Food Chains director and advisor to the Real Food Media Contest, Sanjay Rawal.

In support of the label launch, the filmmakers have released a sneak peak of the film, available here.

Food Chains, which stars Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser, and members of the CIW, will open in theaters nationwide, distributed by Screen Media, on November 21,. It will also be released on iTunes on November 21st and VOD starting November 27, Thanksgiving Day, and in a Spanish language version.

Learn more about Food Chains and how to support Fair Food locally at and on Facebook and Twitter. 


View and download the Food Chains trailer:

Food Chains – Trailer from Screen Media Films on Vimeo.


| Contest News

open for entries


September 29, 2014 

Joanna Dillon, Real Food Media Project
510 281 9023 


Food Stars Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters Join Judging Panel to Select Top Digital Super Shorts on Sustainable Food


SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The Real Food Media Project launches its annual short films contest and announces its new film library today. Produced by award-winning author Anna Lappé, the film library will be the largest repository of short films about food, farming, and sustainability in the country. The contest, now in its second year, will bring together leading food luminaries as judges, advisors, and media partners, including the Jamie Oliver Foundation, the James Beard Foundation, and celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio and Alice Waters, and hopes to receive hundreds of entries from around the world.


“More people are curious about the story behind their food,” says contest judge Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of the documentary A Place at the Table. “The Real Food Media Contest inspires filmmakers to make creative short films and provides a platform to get these important stories seen and heard by a huge audience. We can’t wait to see the new crop of films.”


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. Viewers can find short films on everything from berry pickers in the Northwest to teens going green in the heart of the Bronx to siblings raising hogs sustainably in rural North Carolina.


“By making these films available to the public for free through our new online library, we hope that these films will be tools for anyone anywhere to learn more about where their food comes from and to inspire them to get involved,” says Anna Lappé, director of the Project and a bestselling author and sustainability advocate.


With the launch of its online film library, the Real Food Media Project is also announcing the call-for-entries for this year’s contest. The contest seeks unique stories on topics including local food heroes, innovative food projects, and underreported food issues. New this year, the contest includes an animation category in honor of the 10th anniversary of the factory farming exposé The Meatrix, watched more than 20 million times.


“The contest is a great opportunity for filmmakers to lend their talents to telling powerful stories about film and for grassroots groups to come together with up-and-coming filmmakers to tell their own stories,” says Sanjay Rawal, a contest advisor and director of the film Food Chains.


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. Entries must be submitted at by January 5, 2015.


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
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • 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



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.



100 Pop-Up Film Festivals!

| Contest News

Requests to host Pop-Up Film Festivals have been steadily rolling in, with just over a hundred events in the works.





teaser Pop-Up Film Festival link


From Romania to BedStuy Brooklyn, via bikes and barns, the stories of the Contest are spreading far and wide. We’re not kidding, check out this shiny new map:



Click, zoom, search – join events or host your own. If you’re in the Bay Area, come join us with Food First for a Pop-Up event with Contest founder, Anna Lappé on Wednesday, September 17.

Help us get the word out to your food + film friends: Bring short films on sustainable food + farming to your community: Host a Pop-Up Film Festival with @RealFoodFilms

Insiders Tip: How To Find Filmmakers

Photo: Bill Rice via Flickr

Do you have a great idea for the Contest and need help finding a filmmaker?

You’re not alone. Now in its second year, the Contest has spurred on collaborations with filmmakers and food systems leaders to create compelling content and launch stories in front of thousands around the world. Featuring cash prizes and opportunities to work with leaders in the food and film industry, here are some tips to find filmmakers who’d be eager to connect and capture your would-be stories. And who knows, you may be looking outside when you’ve got a budding filmmaker right under your nose. Maybe it’s you.


Finding Filmmakers in your Area

Here are a few tips to find great filmmakers:

  • Search for documentaries that are similar to the subject matter to what you’re planning to produce OR that has a style of filmmaking that you like. Look in the credits and see who produced it.
  • Search on Vimeo for films and shorts from your area and see who produced them. You can also search profiles for location. Send them a message on Vimeo and start up a conversation.
  • Every state has a local film commission with local listings. Make a call and ask for recommendations of contacts or send an email.
  • Try a Google search for “film and video production companies in (your city).” Read their company bio and see if they do documentaries and/or short films. (Be aware that these leads may not be interested in doing pro bono work unless: they’re interested in the prizes and publicity that could come their way, and/or they strongly believe in your cause. Even if they can’t help you, they might be able to point you in the right direction to other filmmakers who might be a good fit for your project.)
  • Call the film department at your local university. They might be able to make some recommendations. Many high schools also offer film and video courses.
  • Attend a local film festival and/or find the organization who organizes the festival and ask them to make recommendations on filmmakers who may be interested in your project.
  • Contact documentary filmmaking organizations such as the International Documentary Association or Center for Independent Documentary.
  • Leverage your development skills and collaborate with local talented filmmakers to apply for grant opportunities.
  • Join a filmmakers chat room such as Creative Cow or DVXuser and pitch your project. (Be aware that you never know who’s going to respond, so make sure you fully explore their films, experience and references.)
  • Try Spidvid which connects people who want to make videos and documentaries.



Pitching Filmmakers on your Project

Here’s the key thing to remember when approaching filmmakers: since most experienced filmmakers won’t work for free (they have to make a living just like everyone else), be creative about what you may be able to offer if funding is limited. Are you a farmer? Offer a CSA share! Are you a non-profit with expertise in an area they could benefit from? Offer your skills. Help them write a grant proposal for an upcoming project. Pitch the project to them highlighting the food and film industry leaders they’d get their work in front of including Contest judges, advisors, ambassador schools, and networks. The cash prizes are sugar on top of a meaningful new collaboration.


Become  the Filmmaker – yes, you!

If you’re interested in the Contest, chances are you’re drawn to film as a powerful way to tell stories. Yes? There are some incredible resources by filmmakers for filmmakers out there to help you learn and develop the skills to be capture your own impressive stories. Show us your reality as you know it best. According to the team behind Desktop Documentaries, there’s never been a better time to be a filmmaker. What was once reserved for an elite few, making documentaries is now within reach of anyone with access to a camera and the internet. There are loads of resources on the cheap to help you get there, including free video editing software and – you can even make a movie with your iPhone. Our media partner, Disposable Film Fest, was founded exactly for this reason – to celebrate the democratization of cinema made possible by low cost video technology: everyday equipment like mobile phones, pocket cameras, DSLRs and other inexpensive devices. If this sounds like an exciting chance to try your hand at filmmaking, we’d love to see your work. There are truly incredible stories, solutions, and innovations to be shared – the future of our food depends on us to spread them far and wide.

Step behind the lens! Follow your instinct. Now’s the time.

Some suggestions here are cross-posted from Desktop Documentaries, there’s plenty more information and resources on the website.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Jean-Marc Abela

| Contest News

Meet Jean-Marc Abela, 2014 Real Food Media Contest finalist and the filmmaker behind The Gift.

A self-taught documentary filmmaker with 15 years experience, Jean-Marc works as a freelance director/cinematographer. He has completed two independent feature documentaries. In Shugendô Now, he explores man’s relationship to nature through the experiences of Japanese tradition of Shugendô. In Diversidad, he follows a group of young adults who embark on a journey to discover their relationship to the food they eat – scroll to see the trailer below. Jean-Marc has a deep passion for Permaculture and has created several short films on the subject and also teaches workshops on the permaculture design process. His third film currently in development is about Emergence and Living Systems.


When did you first start making films? What is it about film that drew you?

I started in highschool really. From the age of 15 I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker. I liked a few aspects of it and how it incorporates elements of all other art forms. But as I started I naturally tented towards documentary filmmaking because the lifestyle is a natural fit. It really is the school of life – I go out there and explore subjects I want to learn more about, but like school I need to go home, do my homework and edit the film in a way that is interesting for others to watch. So its sums up to learning and sharing which is great fun!


How did you learn about the story you highlighted in your film?

The project was shared to me by my father who thought since I make films about food that I should probably participate. I found Dan Jason through a friend who knows him well and had told me about him many times suggesting I go meet him, so when the opportunity came we connected and after a day of filming we had this film!


What do you hope people walk away from your film thinking about?

The beauty and bounty that nature provides if we just learn to live with it. Those little seeds pack so much potential its incredible! Concretely I hope people then choose to plant good seeds instead of commercial seeds.


What other issues would you have expanded on?

We can go really far with looking at seeds and we see that a feature films do that. Obviously the genetic manipulation and patenting of seeds is very important subject. But I think there are many more aspects of seeds that we as a general public don’t know much about and I look forward to exploring that in the future.


Who inspires you?

Michael Pollan. I really love his books.


Which organizations would you recommend that people can get involved with?

In Canada a great organization around seeds is USC Canada.


What’s next for you – do you have another project in the works?

Yup! Lots:

  • A short film in a similar style about Permaculture
  • A series on cooperatives and explaining how the worker/owner model is very important
  • Documentary on Emergence and the system view of life
  • More short films on seed farmers


Watch The Gift:

The Gift | 2014 Real Food Media Contest Winner from Real Food Media Project on Vimeo.

The Gift stillframe w quote

Also from Jean-Marc, check out:

Diversidad – A Road Trip to Deconstruct Dinner

“Diversidad – A Road Trip to Deconstruct Dinner” is a documentary about a group of young Canadians who got on their bikes to raise awareness of the impacts of the World Trade Organization and industrial agriculture.

From the waterfronts of Vancouver to the mountaintops of Mexico, this is a journey that lifts the veil of youthful idealism. They discover that growing food organically isn’t quite as obvious as they thought for reasons they couldn’t imagine. They see that a lot of inner city families in the US do not have access to fresh food, let alone the opportunity to grow their own. Perhaps their biggest realization is that their point of view on the plight of the undocumented farm workers isn’t quite what they had read about before they left their homes back in Canada. As they travel south they begin to realize that perhaps this journey wasn’t so much about what they had to share with the world, but more about what they had to learn from the world.

Upon their return home, they are confronted by the reality of being part of the system they’re fighting against… Can they practice what they preach?

Diversidad | Trailer from Jean-Marc Abela on Vimeo.


Jean-Marc is based in Montreal. Stay connected and follow his work at

logo_twitter_bird_18x13  @JeanMarcAbela  |  vimeo_logo Jean-Marc Abela  |  instagram logo  jeanmarcabela

Connect with Sustainability Leaders in Portland

| Events


We’re excited to announce that Contest founder Anna Lappé is delivering a keynote at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference & Expo in Portland, OR on October 26 – 29. Themed Innovation for Sustainable Economies & Communities, the Conference will also feature a keynote from Greenpeace USA Executive Director and “Story of Stuff” creator Annie Leonard. With nearly 2,000 participants, AASHE’s annual conference is the largest gathering of higher education sustainability professionals and students in North America. In one of the most innovative sustainable cities in North America, attendees from around the world will come together at AASHE 2014 to network and share new innovations, activities, frameworks, learning outcomes, tools, strategies, research, theory and leadership initiatives that are changing the face of sustainability on their campus and surrounding communities.

Check out the full schedule for the Conference & Expo

facebook_icon_email_footer Follow announcements and updates on the AASHE 2014 Conference & Expo facebook page

Student Summit

The energy of AASHE Student Summits is infectious and a highlight of the conferences. These summits bring together hundreds of students from around the world to share ideas, ask questions, challenge each other and be inspired by sustainability champions like co-founder Bill McKibben (2011 Student Summit keynote speaker), Solar Mosaic founder Billy Parish (2012 Student Summit keynote speaker) and Fight for Light co-founder Markese Bryant (2013 Student Summit keynote speaker), and this year Contest founder Anna Lappé will be delivering a keynote during the Student Summit.

student summit
Photo: Raj Patel with students at AASHE 2013

These summits are a must for:

  • students just learning about sustainability issues
  • seasoned sustainability student leaders
  • professional development
  • gaining the skills and knowledge to lead the sustainability transformation


Student Summit lineup: Sunday, October 26, 2014

7:00 AM 8:30 AM Registration Opens
8:30 AM 10:00 AM Welcome & Opening Keynote with Andy Keller
10:00 AM 12:00 PM Morning Workshops
12:00 PM 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM 3:30 PM Afternoon Workshops
3:30 PM 4:45 PM Closing Keynote with Anna Lappé

* All Student Summit attendees are encouraged to attend the Opening Keynote and Exhibit Hall Reception on Sunday evening.

Please visit this page to view the student summit sessions.

2015 Real Food Media Contest Winner to be debuted at TEDxManhattan: March 7, 2015

Since its first year in 2011, TEDxManhattan has been creating a powerful platform for stories about innovations in food businesses and sourcing (are insects the future of food?), providing critical information about food workers and what’s happening behind the kitchen door, and – perhaps most importantly – uniting the many growing voices intersecting around issues of fair, safe, and sustainable food to take action and change policy. To date, its videos have now been watched nearly six million times. Our very own Contest founder, Anna Lappé, was a part of the lineup of speakers in 2013.

Change Food logo


TEDxManhattan is a project of Change Food, a non-profit organization helping to shift the U.S. food supply to a regional, sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. As founder of both, Diane Hatz is building a powerful connection between education and action. Diane believes that together, we can do more – she’s seen it in action. She believes the only way we’re going to create real change in the food system is by building bridges – this is how we will be even more successful in building momentum to amplify the impact and reach of this swelling food movement.

(We couldn’t agree more.)

We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2015 Real Food Media Contest will be debuted at TEDxManhattan this year.



Confirmed speakers for the 2015 event include:

  • Joel Berg, Executive Director, NYC Coalition Against Hunger
  • Henry Hargreaves, Photographer
  • Kendra Kimbirauskas, CEO, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
  • Nikiko Masumoto, Masumoto Family Farm
  • Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
  • Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder and President, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
  • Ali Partovi, Angel investor/advisor, Facebook, DropBox, Flixster, Break Media, Causes, Farmigo & more
  • Stefanie Sacks, Culinary Nutritionist, author, host, “Stirring the Pot” radio show on Hamptons NPR
  • Anim Steel, Director, Real Food Generation
  • Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director, GrowNYC

Can’t be at the event in Manhattan? Host a viewing party!

The full day of talks will be webcast live from NYC, providing access to viewers worldwide. There is no fee associated with hosting an official viewing party, just compliance with TED’s rules. The day is scheduled to allow viewing parties time to hold discussions, bring in local speakers, and sample local foods. Learn more at

More information on remaining speakers and the TEDxManhattan program will be provided as details are finalized.

Read the press release here.

Change Food is a media partner with the Real Food Media Contest – don’t miss out on all the great resources through newsletters, the Guide to Good Food blog, and upcoming events with Change Food.

Study with Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies

Announcing an exciting opportunity from Real Food Media Contest Ambassador, Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies:



Looking for a place to do your Food Studies research project or (masters) thesis work?

Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies is always looking for engaged and motivated graduate students. To apply, you should have finished your undergraduate studies, or you should be able to finish within a short time. Your background should be in Food Studies, Food Science, Environmental Studies, Economics, Political Science, Design and Critical Thinking, Food Education and Pedagogy, Urban and Community Planning, Communication and Media, Nutrition, Biology or related (food) areas. You will be part of one of our research groups that works within your area of interest. Graduate students from every part of the world are accepted.

This is a unique opportunity for students to display their talent within our field of research, on international research projects about Food Systems, Food Education and Pedagogy, Food Security and Food & Culture and to collaborate with some of our partners in the food field: FAO, BCFN Foundation, AMIExpo, SlowFood, Cerealia Festival, other U.S. University food-oriented research centers.



  • An international research and study environment
  • Individual supervision and mentoring
  • Modern facilities
  • Support, supervision, mentoring can be provided at distance (you can develop your research project in your country – we will help you and suggest how to collect your data, we will support you to organize your data, and we will work together on reporting your research results, and to give them visibility thanks to the collaboration with our academic and private partners)



We do not offer scholarships. We strongly believe in “collaborative and distance” work that is possible thanks to ICT technologies – so feel free to apply even if you don’t live and work in Rome. In addition, we help and support students and collaborators to apply for and obtain scholarships and grants (reference letter, research proposal, etc).


Gustolab is currently looking for:

Graduate students – specifically but not limited to Asia, Africa, South America and North America – with interest in food systems, methods for creating training for policy makers in the food field, educational assessments, urban and community planning, food security, food waste, sustainable agriculture, food design.


How to apply:

If you are interested in joining one of our research projects, contact our or write directly to the GL Institute Director, Dr. Sonia Massari at by August 31, 2014.



Under the Mango Tree

| Films We Like

We have big respect for Katrina and the team behind Under the Mango Tree – this story and the services the clinic provides are absolutely critical. Let’s support our community-based storytellers, folks. If you can help push them to the finish line with your support, please do! And as always, spread the word.

Connect + spread the word >> Indiegogo | Facebook | Twitter

Before David Abdulai reached the age of 10, he lost both parents and all ten siblings to poverty-related diseases. He survived the streets of Tamale, Ghana by scrounging in trash bins and sleeping in the dirt. With fierce determination, he put himself through high school and eventually graduated from medical school. He returned to Tamale to found Shekhinah Clinic in 1991. The following year, he launched a meals-on-wheels program that now feeds over 150 of the town’s destitute each day, most of whom suffer from mental illness. The program has created peace in the town and is just one of the programs at Shekhinah, which provides unconditionally free medical care to anyone who needs it, no questions asked.

Watch the video above to meet Dr. Abdulai and see the food program in action.

The clinic has limited access to resources, relying only on spontaneous donations from inspired visitors. Since the economy tanked, they receive fewer donations. The goal of this film is to create a lasting piece of media that can be used by multiple parties – the clinic, nonprofits, student activists, etc.  to tell the story of the clinic and inspire viewers to donate to its critical work. 

We’ve raised significant funds already and just need one extra push to get this project off the ground. We have traveled to Ghana and finished shooting the film, and now we’re ready for post-production – all the technical components that it takes to make this story shine.

The Director/Producer of Under the Mango Tree, Katrina Moore, was so inspired by Dr. Abdulai and the clinic staff that she has spent the past 1.5 years bringing this story to the screen. The goal is to edit the film to about 25 minutes to be used for the clinic’s fundraising and outreach efforts.

What We Need & What You Get

This film can make a huge difference to Shekhinah Clinic’s staff and patients. Storytelling is a powerful persuasion, and sharing the story of Dr. Abdulai and the clinic can unlock doors for funding and partnerships worldwide – partnerships that could sustain the clinic for generations to come. This story must be told, and we need $10,000 to get us over that last hump. The funds will be used to pay all of the talented and skilled people involved in finishing this film, and your contribution will get us there. For a film, even a short one, $10,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions poured into big-budget documentaries. 

Check out the perks!

Let’s Get Growing Cities on PBS!

| Films We Like

by Dan Susman – Director, Growing Cities

Most of us have heard about the problems in agriculture, from GMOs and CAFOs to aging farmers and mad cows. But, what all these acronyms and stats don’t add up to is change. So, about four years ago, my friend Andrew Monbouquette and I decided it was time to showcase positive stories of people transforming the food system from the ground up. And this is what our inspiring new documentary film, Growing Cities, is all about.

The film follows us as we travel the US, visiting the people who are challenging the way this country grows its food, one vacant city lot and backyard chicken coop at a time. From Detroit to Des Moines we’ve found urban agriculture has remarkable power on many levels—it connects people to their food, strengthens communities, revitalizes blighted areas and much more.

With 80% of our population now considered urban, we have a unique challenge of educating people about farming, when we’ve moved further away from it than ever. In fact, I believe one of the biggest obstacles we face in bringing good food to the table of public consciousness is the stories we tell.

You can help Dan and Growing Cities spread good food stories to millions on PBS by supporting their Kickstarter

After four years traveling around the country we know there are good food heroes in every community. Nonetheless, most people only know about the celebrity foodies, like Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and Alice Waters – who, don’t get me wrong, are all doing incredible work, but it’s important for people understand, the work of the good food movement can and is happening everywhere.

While many are still flocking to the good food movement’s hotbeds, like the Bay Area and New York City, more and more farmers and good food advocates are putting down roots in their own smaller hometowns. For instance, in Omaha, Nebraska, where I’m from, a collective of young people came together to form Big Muddy Urban Farm, which has a 25-member CSA and grows on vacant lots throughout the city. In the heart of industrial farming country, these farmers are a wonderful example for residents, many of whom don’t know a CSA from a GMO — which, let’s be honest, is probably true for a majority of Americans.

To me, this is our blueprint for changing the food system— we must branch out and work in the places that need it most, often in our own backyards. As Eugene Cook, a farmer in Atlanta, says in the film, “Grow something: grow where you are.”

Please help Growing Cities spread these inspiring farmers’ stories to millions on PBS! Learn more and donate on their Kickstarter page:


Meet the Filmmaker

Dan Susman (Director, Growing Cities): Dan has lived, breathed, and eaten urban agriculture over the past three years making Growing Cities. He has visited countless urban farms and food projects across the country and worked with many leaders in the sustainable agriculture movement. He is also the co-founder of Truck Farm Omaha, an edible education project which teaches local youth about sustainable farming and healthy foods.  

This weekend! GreenFeen Juneteenth Summit in Brooklyn

Bridge11Registered guests receive a one-night hotel stay courtesy of our sponsor She Soars.

For a full description from the event website:

DiorNoel is the founder of GreenFeen, a startup recycling company designed to teach a sustainable culture. As an active member in her community DiorNoel will bring representatives from her networks to help Bridge the Gap for Juneteenth Summit.

Intergenerational relationships are accomplished through action. This summit will coordinate the various skills people have to build a greater network that help sustain local economies with an emphasis on old and new knowledge. By organizing people with common goals, DiorNoel uses her degree in Urban Sustainability to promote human interconnection.

Juneteenth is a nationally celebrated commemoration marking the official end of slavery in the United States. Although President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that the Union soldiers landed in Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now truly free.

To celebrate the past, present, and future experience of the African Diaspora, community activist DiorNoel will host the first Juneteenth Summit to include panel discussions, live performances, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs.

We celebrate the PAST by highlighting the farmer with a short-film screening from 2014 finalists of the Real Food Media Contest. We will also feature Executive Chef Linda Chesterfield who will do a healthy cooking demo. We celebrate the PRESENT with a mixer including young and seasoned professionals. We celebrate the FUTURE with a panel discussion on Sustainability and what it really means to cultivate this for the future.

The Professional is a person seasoned in their field of work, displaying advanced skill and the ability to educate the next set of employees. You are the leadership young professionals look to for guidance! Join us and become a team leader during our mentoring breakout sessions where your invaluable knowledge can help inspire younger generations.

The Young Professional is a person eager to learn more about their field by displaying ingenuity and passion for becoming a future leader. Whether you are in high-school, college, or a recent graduate YOU are the inspiration children look up to when they see your success! Join us for our mentoring breakout sessions where you have the opportunity to network and build your future.

Tickets are sold at


Announcing: Pop-up Film Festivals

| Contest News

Exciting news, folks. (Cue exciting news official drumroll…)


The Real Food Media Contest Finalist Films are coming to a theater – or backyard, or rooftop, or living room – near you!

We’re rolling out a new feature to bring you this year’s finalists in one seamless digital reel. Plus a packed event guide to get the ball rolling, complete with:

  • An event planning checklist – We see you, type A folks, and we have a list just for you to check off. (You’re welcome.)
  • A discussion guide to follow the screening and spark up conversation
  • A spotlight on local action in your community
  • Social media starters to spread the #realfood word


We’re excited to share these stories far and wide. Let’s put a spotlight on the strategies and solutions that place sustainable food systems front and center. Here’s to a more just and sustainable world – one field and plate at a time.




San Francisco Green Film Festival: Ticket Giveaway!

| Community Prizes

Join the San Francisco Green Film Festival at the Roxie Theater this weekend! We’re thrilled to count the SF Green Film Festival among our media partners for the Real Food Media Contest this year. The film festival kicked off this week in San Francisco and they’ve offered up tickets to a few lucky winners of the Real Food Media Contest community.

To win tickets to Seeds of Time or Lunch Love Community,
EMAIL US >> christina<at>smallplanet<dot>org
Please indicate which film you’d like to attend in the subject line.

This is a first come, first serve opportunity!

*This post will be updated as tickets are claimed.*
Tickets for both films are still available.

Lunch Love Community

Helen De Michiel, USA, 2012, 90 min

Sunday, June 1, 1:00pm (SF Premiere)
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., San Francisco

Fighting childhood obesity starts at school, Berkeley teachers have found. Focused on the real-life experience of community advocates and food professionals that have worked with educators in Berkeley, CA, this is an interactive session using short films and expert discussion to inspire change in the way kids eat. Watch the film and join an interactive discussion with Lunch Love Community at the San Francisco Green Film Festival on June 1.


Seeds of Time

Sandy McLeod, USA/Denmark/Italy/Norway/Peru/Russia, 2013, 76 min

Monday, June 2, 6:00pm (California Premiere)
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., San Francisco

A perfect storm is brewing as agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food. Join the film screening and discussion following with: Sandy McCleod, director, Cary Fowler (film’s subject), Greg Dalton, Climate One at the Commonwealth Club.


Real Food Media Contest is BACK for Round 2!

| Contest News

Sekita Ekrek Entertainment PR
202 415 6560

Food Stars Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters Join Judging Panel to Select Top Digital Super Shorts on Sustainable Food
SAN FRANCISCO — April 22, 2014 — Stories about sustainable food are popping up everywhere as more Americans seek a deeper understanding of the nation’s food system. The Real Food Media Project is celebrating this interest with a call for entries beginning today to its second annual competition of digital super-short food films.

The 2015 Real Food Media Contest invites a new crop of digital submissions from 30-seconds to four minutes that tell unique food stories, with original voices and creative cinematography. Diverse formats for submission range from documentary to advocacy and experimental. This year’s contest also seeks animated submissions in honor of the 10th anniversary of The Meatrix, a digital short on factory farms watched 20 million times to date. Entries must be submitted online at by 12 pm PST on January 5th, 2015.

“Last year’s inaugural contest was a resounding success,” says Anna Lappé, director of the Real Food Media Project, and award-winning author and sustainability advocate. “The 156 submissions from 26 states featured content from 19 countries and were a testament to the powerful stories about food, farming, and community around the world. The more great minds we have thinking about these issues and producing creative ways to deliver the messages, the better.”

A panel of food and film luminaries will select the top films and the public will vote online for the “People’s Choice Award,” starting February 3rd, 2015. Winners will be announced in early March 2015.

Contest judges include:

  • Thelma Adams, Yahoo! Movies contributing editor
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • 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
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • 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


“More and more people are curious about the story behind their food,” says Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table. “The Real Food Media Project’s short films competition inspires filmmakers to make creative short films and provides a platform to get these important stories seen and heard by a huge audience. We can’t wait to see the new crop of films.”

The contest seeks entries that bring a fresh take on a topic of the filmmaker’s choosing or respond to the following style prompts: Documentarystyle shorts focused on a local food hero or showcasing an innovative community food project; advocacy shorts that take on diverse themes, from food workers rights to junk food marketing to kids; and experimentalentries that bring to life the concept “you are what you eat.” For more information about submission guidelines, visit

The Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 and distribution opportunities with the contest’s media partners, including the Food and Farm Film Festival, Disposable Film Festival, GOOD, Slow Food USA, James Beard Foundation, Food Book Fair, and more. Other cash prizes will be awarded along with prizes for Best Cinematography, Best Student Film, Best Underreported Issue, Best Food Producer Profile, and Best Innovative Initiative Profile.
The 2014 award-winning films – including stories of oregano farmers in Mexico, youth gardeners in the Bronx, and a family raising hogs sustainably in North Carolina – are currently touring in the Real Food Media Project’s Pop-Up Film Festival. More information can be found at


The Contest is directed by leading sustainability advocate and award-winning author Anna Lappé and is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, a national initiative to spread the story of our food with creative movies, an online film contest, a web-based action center and grassroots events. The Project’s mission is to educate, inspire, and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming around the country and the world. Visit to learn more about the Contest and to enter the competition. Follow us on Twitter, @realfoodfilms, and like us on Facebook, at realfoodmediaproject.


OUR LAND: a Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century

| Events, Farming

If the Real Food Contest finalist film OUR LAND resonated with you – here’s your chance to discuss the issues at the heart of farmland access today with leading voices in the field. A truly important event — not to be missed. If you’re in or near the Bay Area, see the full lineup of speakers and events throughout the weekend. The OUR LAND series is the comprehensive look into the real challenges and creative frontiers for new farmers, led by Severine v T Fleming and the Agrarian Trust.

OUR LAND: a Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century

April 26 + 27, Berkeley CA

Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley and the David Brower Center


Agrarian Trust, a program of the Schumacher Center for New Economics, is pleased to announce the schedule for the 2014 Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century: OUR LAND.

In the next 20 years, an estimated 400 million acres of farmland will change hands as 70% of current farmland owners retire. Meanwhile, entering farmers struggle to compete with non-farming landowners for access to prime farmland, particularly in peri-urban areas. This dilemma of farmland succession is shared by Greyhairs and Greenhorns alike, who all hope for a more sustainable and resilient farming future.

We will examine this imminent inflection point from historical, ecological and political economy perspectives, and address both practical and philosophical approaches to transition. With both national and international speakers joining to reflect on this topic, we expect a full room and a lively convening of stakeholders.

Speakers include:

  • Joel Salatin
  • Kathy Ruhf
  • Gary Nabhan
  • Gloria Robinson
  • Wes Jackson
  • Raj Patel
  • Gayle Mclaughlin
  • Anuradha Mittal
  • Elizabeth Henderson
  • Eric Holt Gimenez
  • Reggie Knox
  • Severine v T Fleming.



Through the lenses of history, ecology, political economy and direct experience, our speakers will address both practical and philosophical approaches to transition.  As a nation we face a landmark decision; we can lose our land to commodification, toxic monoculture and corporate concentration, or we can move this land into sustainable, regional food production with more farmers, more owners, more regional resilience.

Please join us on April 26 + 27 to join the conversation about farmland access and transition.

This event is presented in partnership with Chelsea Green Publishing, The David Brower Center, Berkeley Food Institute, California FarmLink and Roots of Change.

All lectures will be recorded as podcasts for farmers and others who cannot make it in person. To get the lectures, join the email list.

Read up on the event details and reserve your ticket today at 



Severine v T Fleming, Managing Co-Founder, Agrarian Trust

Kristen Loria, Events Coordinator, Agrarian Trust

office (at) agrariantrust (dot) org


Please join us. For event details and to reserve your ticket:

Three Cheers For Our 2014 Judges

| Judges

Big thanks are in order for the incredible panel of judges who helped us launch the first year of the Real Food Media Contest. We truly appreciate the insight and vision you brought to the table. Glad to be grounded by such an inspiring group of storytellers and changemakers.

Get involved with the 2014 Real Food Media Contest Judges’ projects:




Mom and organic farmer are the most important of Emily’s many titles and hats she wears on a daily basis. Emily and her husband co-own and operate a fourth generation organic dairy farm with her in-laws. The Zwebers are Organic Valley farmer owners. The Zweber Farm is nestled in the rolling hills of South East Minnesota where it is home to the family farm, lush pastures, and ample natural wildlife. The Zwebers have three children ages 6, 4, and 2 that keep Emily quite busy. In addition to the farm, Emily serves as the executive director of the AgChat Foundation, an organization that empowers farmers and ranchers to use social media. You can find Emily’s blog at



PhD, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California

Johanna Blakley, PhD, is the managing director and director of research at the Norman Lear Center, a media think tank at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Johanna has two talks on as well as a TEDx talk about measuring the impact of the documentary film Food, Inc. In partnership with the Gates Foundation and the Knight Foundation, she has just launched the Media Impact Project, a major effort to improve methods for evaluating the social impact of media.



Academy Award-nominated director, Food Inc.

Director Robert Kenner has won an array of awards and garnered rave reviews for his documentary work exposing some of today’s least talked of, but most impactful, social and environmental issues. His documentary, Food Inc., was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Emmy for Best Documentary. After Food Inc., Kenner launched FixFood, a social media action project. He is currently at work on a new documentary for Participant Media that examines a playbook of tactics used to sow doubt about public safety issues.



Director and producer, Soul Food Junkies

Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and anti-sexist activist. Hurt is also the former host of the Emmy-nominated series, Reel Works with Byron Hurt. His documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS’ Emmy-award winning series Independent Lens. Byron’s latest film, Soul Food Junkies, won the CNN Best Documentary Award at the American Black Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. Soul Food Junkies aired nationally on PBS’s Emmy-Award winning series Independent Lens in January and April 2013.



Cookbook author, actress, model and television host

Padma Parvati Lakshmi’s debut cookbook Easy Exotic won her the “Best First Book” award at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She has been the host of the U.S. reality television program Top Chef since 2006, for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. In 2010, Top Chef won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.



Chez Panisse and The Edible Schoolyard Project

Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant, has championed local, sustainable farms for over four decades. She is also the founder of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, a model public education program that integrates edible education into the core curriculum, and brings children into a new relationship to food with hands-on planting, harvesting, and cooking. The mission of her non-profit organization, The Edible Schoolyard Project, is to gather and share the lessons and best practices of school gardens, kitchens, and edible education programs worldwide. Waters is also the author of ten books including 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution and The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.



Executive director of the Sundance Institute

Keri Putnam is the Executive Director of the non-profit Sundance Institute, overseeing the Institute’s annual Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Feature Film, Documentary, Film Music, Theatre and Native & Indigenous Programs. Before joining Sundance, Putnam served as President of Production, Miramax Films and Executive Vice President, HBO Films.



Journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma

Michael Pollan is the author of five books: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Second Nature, A Place of My Own, The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazinesince 1987, Pollan is also the James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. His writing on food and agriculture has won numerous awards, including the Reuters/World Conservation Union Global Award in Environmental Journalism, the James Beard Award, and the Genesis Award from the American Humane Association.



Journalist and author, Fast Food Nation

Eric Schlosser is an award-winning journalist and a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. His work has also appeared in Rolling StoneVanity FairThe Nation, and The New Yorker, among others. He is the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Command and Control.



The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that works to bring food education to schools and youth groups, businesses and communities through raising awareness and hands-on training. We raise awareness through the media to galvanize policy changes at a local and national level. |

Food Book Fair: Ticket Giveaway

| Community Prizes

Hey, NYC! Get your spring on at Food Book Fair

Nothing says spring in NYC like strolling through the inspiration and delicious local fares of chefs, farmers, artists, writers, designers and food innovators. Find them ALL in one place April 25-27 at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg!

The Third Annual Food Book Fair brings people together to celebrate the intersection between food culture and food systems. This year’s three-day fair spans a pop-up bookstore opening April 18 with more than 200 books, 20-plus food magazines, 60 visionaries, panel discussions, a film screening, pop-up brew pub AND pop-up farm, an entrepreneurial resource clinic, and our second annual Pitch Competition.


Food Book fair is offering tickets to lucky Real Food Media Project winners

Sign up for one or all below!
Enter each drawing by clicking on the event title.

We won’t use your name or email for anything other than the ticket giveaway.

You must enter your name by midnight PDT on Monday, April 21 to be entered in the drawing. Winners will be notified by email on Tuesday, April 22.

Food + Film : Fed Up Screening

Presented by Rodale Books

Laurie David, Author, The Family Cooks
Paul Holdengraber, Director, Live from New York Public Library

The Food Book Fair will host the first New York screening of the documentary “Fed Up followed by a Q&A with Executive Producer Laurie David. A film that upends the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and how to lose it, “Fed Up” reveals a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history. David will also discuss her new book, The Family Cooks.

Book signing to follow in Wythe Library (12:00-12:30PM)


Food + Farming + Scale Panel

Margaret Gray, Author, Labor and the Locavore
Scott Chaskey, Author, Seedtime
Theresa Marquez, Mission Executive, Organic Valley

As a community awareness with regards to the sustainable food movement grows, the question of scalabilty becomes ever more pertinent. How can local, organic food be made accessible on a larger scale? Does that goal detract from the very mission of keeping food production on a small scale? How can a balance be reached? Come hash out some of these questions with some industry experts.


Food + Social Entrepreneurship Session

Sunday, April 27, 2:00PM – 3:00PM

The acts of preparing, serving, and eating food are some of humanity’s simplest forms of community. The locally- and socially-engaged aspects of cooking and dining are often challenged by the industrial scale of contemporary food production.

A natural launchpad for enterprise, small food and drink establishments are an ideal vehicle to employ socially conscious practices. Entrepreneurs, writers, and editors will engage in conversation over how to create and maintain business with this focus.

Special guests include:

  • Ellen Gustafson, Co-Founder of FEED and Food Tank, Author of We the Eaters
  • Christophe Hille, CFO, Northern Spy Food Co. and Fleisher’s Grass-fed Organic Meats
  • Steve Hindy, Co-Founder of Brooklyn Brewery, Author of TheCraft Beer Revolution
  • Moderated by Alex Postman, Executive Editor, Rodale Books

COMMUNITY VOICES: Documentary Film Screening | Orange, CA

| Ambassadors, Events

Ambassador spotlight on the fantastic work coming out of Chapman University and the Community Voices program led by Sally Rubin. If you’re in the Orange / Anaheim / Los Angeles area — head on over to Dodge College for what is bound to be a meaningful night and an inspiring event.

“The power of documentary portraiture to convey the nuance and subtlety of human experience is undeniable. The Community Voices program offers our students the opportunity to explore this magic while simultaneously being of direct and impactful service to the causes they care about right here at home, in Orange County.”
– Sally Rubin


COMMUNITY VOICES Documentary Film Screening

Thursday, 5/12 at 7pm

Folino Theater, Dodge College


Community Voices is a social issue documentary film program that links Chapman University documentary film students with Orange-County based organizations. Each semester, groups of students produce short character-driven portrait films that highlight causes the partner organizations aim to serve. The films are then used in the outreach and fundraising campaigns of these organizations, and are distributed via PBS broadcast, online streaming, educational distributors, and festival release. Community Voices films have won numerous festival awards and accolades, and have been seen by tens of thousands of television viewers in Southern California. Please join us as we celebrate these students and partner organizations. The screening will be followed by a panel with the filmmakers and a reception featuring delicious, FREE food.


Screening Details:

Thursday, May 12th at 7pm
Dodge College
283 North Cypress Street, Orange, CA 92866
On street parking is available
No RSVP necessary
Contact with questions



Films include:


by Andrea Suleiman, Yvette Chou, and Nayobi Maldonado-Ochoa
Organization: Goodwill OC
This film tells the story of Roger, an Orange County resident who, plagued by bipolar disorder and a difficult past, struggles to overcome the demons that keep him from the satisfying, independent life of his dreams.



by Sarah Huffman, Matt Rogers, and Rachel Howell
Organization: Mental Health Association of Orange County
A homeless woman with an artistic gift tries to get her life back on track, in the face of many odds.



by Carmen Carrillo, Joey Fischground, and Nicholas McDonald
Organization: Achievement Institute of Scientific Studies
A high school junior crams for the SAT’s while trying to help raise her family, the fulfillment of her college dreams resting on the outcome of one exam.



by Marisol Diaz, Chris Denton, and Colin Arp
Organization: Old Orchard Conservancy
An Orange County activist fights to save the last orange orchard in the county from development.



by Casey Acaster, Sydney Guthrie, and Shaneika Lai
Organization: The Wyland Foundation
An Orange County activist fights to save the last orange orchard in the county from development.



by Michael Gutierrez and Megan McKeown
Organization: El Viento
As the United States rests on the cusp of substantial immigration reform, one young man considers whether or not to pursue the benefits behind the DREAM Act.

With many thanks to The Dhont Family Foundation for their generous support of the Community Voices initiative.


Filmmaker Spotlight: Brendan Van Meter and Stephen Ritz of Green Bronx Machine

| Ambassadors, Contest News

Green Bronx Machine - Brendan Van Meter

Brendan Van Meter, Beaconhouse Media

Meet Brendan Van Meter and Stephen Ritz behind the 2014 1st Runner Up and People’s Choice Award Winner, Green Bronx Machine. The energy and passion the Green Bronx Machine sends out into the world is contagious. Read on for your dose of Green-Bronx-powered inspiration.


When did you first start making films? What is it about film that drew you?

Brendan: I’m a lifelong filmmaker. I started at home with my brother, Ryan, continued through Chaminade high school’s ETV program and on through college at RIT’s School of Film & Animation. Ryan introduced me to Diane Hatz in 2010 and along with lots of help from my team, I directed the video production for the first TEDxManhattan in 2011. This was probably my first introduction to the Food Movement and the catalyst to the growth of my company, Beaconhouse Media.


How did you learn about the project and people you highlighted in your film?

Brendan: I first learned about Stephen Ritz and Green Bronx Machine the same way lots of people learned about him: through the screen at TEDxManhattan 2012. The difference is that I could look over the top of my screen and see him jumping around the stage as he said things like “the biggest 6th grader you’ll ever meet.” He kept all my camera operators in constant motion and my focus had to stay on screen. Stephen received a standing ovation and we jokingly say it was love at first bite!



Stephen Ritz, Green Bronx Machine

When I saw the Urban Farming NYC and Welcome to Green Bronx Machine videos, I knew there was a local story of national importance worth telling in their words. Remarkably, our film is just a starting point. Since filming at that location, Stephen and his students have gone on to install BOTH indoor and outdoor academic learning gardens that have transformed the entire community; in fact, they’ve outfitted numerous schools across the Bronx and America! For them, it is all about the work and all in the delivery. The program is literally putting food on the table, putting people to work, inspiring students and teachers and changing destinies, lives and outcomes.

The fact that we won the People’s Choice Award speaks to the energy, enthusiasm and Amer-I-Can spirit that they are spreading. The mission and work of Green Bronx Machine are impacting people, schools and communities around the world while branding the Bronx and Stephen’s students in a unique way. It shows people moving up the food chain from consumers to producers! To see the interest and support speaks to a whole new reality and more importantly, entirely new possibilities for people and communities everywhere. Stephen is right when he says this is about growing citizens moving those who are “apart from” to becoming “a part of” in ways that benefit all of society. That was the story I was determined to share.

Robin Romano filmed the interview segments, but unfortunately passed away in November 2013. He was a documentary filmmaker, still photographer and a champion of human rights who was “recognized as a global expert on child labor and spoke frequently at conventions, conferences, and as a guest lecturer at universities.” Robin, Stephen and the boys actually became very close and enjoyed working together both in the studio and in the field. They had hoped to create a running series highlighting their work.

His passing was devastating to all of us. That we were able to incorporate his footage into this piece and create a film that was recognized and so well received is a fitting tribute.

Watch Green Bronx Machine:


What do you hope people walk away from your film thinking about?

Brendan: Stephen and his students are truly making a difference. Our film was a simple one: short takes from on the spot interviews while doing their work. It was in-the-moment with a message that anything is possible. Their movement, as local as local can get, was born in a classroom and with a simple desire to impact lives. It teaches us that folks anywhere and everywhere can be the solution.

Stephen’s enthusiasm for his work, his students and the improvement  and empowerment of his community is unparalleled and an inspiration to everyone. Food is a problem for so many people in our country and around the world. I hope more people will see how food can be a solution, how it can change lives and how it can change what sometimes seems like predetermined outcomes. I hope this inspires people to find, start or build up solutions in their community.

Stephen: We want people to walk away thinking about how they can get involved, how they can make a difference, how transformation is absolutely possible — and how it is up to individuals at the most local and granular levels to initiate and be the change they want to see in their lives. If all my students are willing and able, so should everyone else! We are the folks we’ve been waiting for! This movement, spirit and moment are replicable and the work is damn worthy!


What are the main themes you’re trying to bring to life in your film?

Brendan: Our themes are hope, optimism, people power, self-determination and change: that committed people have the ability to change their own and others lives. There is a joy to what Stephen and his students are doing; a spirit, a sense of resilience and endless resourcefulness. We wanted this film to be as authentic and genuine as possible – entirely unscripted; a slice of what they do and why. When Stephen says he is CEO – Chief Eternal Optimist – of Bronx County – he means it.

Stephen: Many folks look around and ask, “Why?” We believe, “Why not?” We believe that people should not have to leave their neighborhood to live, learn and earn in a better one – we’re taking ownership. This film shows that. We intended to represent “the real.” Our hope and goal is to inspire people to perspire and to aspire – that we will create an actionable moment for everyone, everywhere! We wanted to convey our positive insurgency and passion!


What inspires you?

Brendan: What inspires Stephen is the work, his students and his family – all of his family from his own to his extended student and community family. And he believes they are just getting started. His work, vision and mission are growing support that is absolutely inspiring to all of us! With that brings tremendous responsibility and commitment and they welcome that. It all starts with people and it all starts with planting seeds.

Stephen: I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my community. Collectively we are working on a platform of collaboration and coalition to affect and effect changes top down and bottom up; locally, nationally and internationally. This is about cultivating minds and harvesting hope. Students who show up to school on a daily basis inspire me. Teachers who teach students that where they learn matters – regardless of zip code – inspire me. Parents who encourage students and read to them at night inspire me. People who encourage others to dream of life as it could be and should be inspire me. Veterans, senior citizens, volunteers, farmers, homesteaders, equity warriors – people who want to make a difference inspire me. Every single morning and every single breath inspires me! We’ve got work to do! How can we inspire you? 


What’s next for you – what other projects are in the works?

Brendan: We dream of a larger documentary and reality show documenting the growth and challenges of the students, program and possibilities. We’d love to film an updated short sharing what we’ve accomplished thus far, all based on the first film. Meanwhile Stephen speaks nationally and internationally looking to grow his work and impact working around his local school and work commitments. We are all excited about the Green Schools National Convention and Greenbuild 2014. I’m going to continue to work with Stephen Ritz and Green Bronx Machine to spread their mission. I will also continue working with Diane Hatz, TEDxManhattan & Change Food.

Stephen: We have several projects in the works: from building community gardens to building out schools – locally, across the country and abroad – to creating online and digital platforms to teach the technology and share best practices. I’m thrilled to be working with the US Green Building Council, Center for Green Schools and Green Schools National Network. Green Bronx Machine is soon to be featured in an Office Depot spot highlighting exemplar teachers and my work was recently featured in Katrina Fried’s Welcome Books Publication, American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom highlighting top teachers in America.


How can people get involved?

Stephen: At the end of the day, this is about raising healthy children and healthy communities rooted in the absolute fact that it is easier to raise healthy children than to fix broken men. Youth who have access to one kind, caring and competent adult in their life are more likely to succeed. We urge you to be a kind, caring, competent, dedicated adult in a child’s life. Do something spectacular – you’ll feel better! Feel free to reach out to us at – we always have a project going on and there is always something to be done. We like to say Green Bronx Machine is coming to a city near you soon – we are!

We want to thank everyone who has and continues to support us – the love has been amazing. We congratulate and salute all the entrants for amazing work – collectively we watched and discussed every entry – we were truly inspired and therein lies the true victory for everybody. Continue to imagine and invent life as it could be and should be: Remember, together, we can all prosper!


Brendan and Stephen are based in the New York City area. Stay connected and follow their work at, and


logo_twitter_bird_18x13  @beaconhousmedia | @greenBXmachine

facebook_icon_email_footer  Beaconhouse Media | Green Bronx Machine

youtube_logo  Beaconhouse Media | Green Bronx Machine


Food system career started with a single bite

| Contest News

Ambassador Spotlight:
Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz

We’re proud to partner with Tim and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz — leading the way for campuses and communities across the country to make real strides toward sustainable sourcing.

by Harry Mok
Originally posted on UC Newsroom, 3/6/14

Tim Galarneau

Photo credit: Carolyn Lagattuta/UC Santa Cruz

Can a tomato change your life?

For UC Santa Cruz’s Tim Galarneau, his first bite of a ripe heirloom tomato was an epiphany — one that put him on the path to becoming one of the chief architects and a champion of UC’s sustainable food movement.

“I had never eaten tomatoes like that. Growing up, I was used to those translucent beefsteak tomatoes,” Galarneau said. “Here are these wild purple things that looked like a Rorschach blot. I bit into it and there was an explosion of flavor.”

Galarneau was a teenager living in suburban Albany, N.Y., when he visited his uncle’s Santa Barbara ranch and tasted fresh, handpicked produce for the first time.

His astonishment led to an interest in agriculture, food systems and how they are tied to environmental, economic, labor and social issues. He moved west for college and ended up at UC Santa Cruz, where beginning in 2002 he was instrumental in student movements to support sustainable practices and transform the campus dining halls into a model for sustainable food service.

Path to sustainability

“There was no going back once I came here. I found my path in life,” said Galarneau, who is now a food systems education and research specialist at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

As an undergraduate, Galarneau helped lead a campaign that passed a student referendum for a self-imposed fee that raises $250,000 annually for sustainability projects and programs.

After graduating, Galarneau advised and supported subsequent efforts to pass student referendums to fund additional sustainability initiatives, including programs for implementing sustainable food and farming practices on campus.

The campaigns fostered a culture of collaboration that helped UC Santa Cruz change its practices, Galarneau said. Part of that was the effort to develop a sustainable purchasing policy for campus dining halls.

UC Santa Cruz dropped the outside contractor that operated its dining facilities for more than 30 years. The campus began managing its own food service and created a pioneering program that established goals for buying food that is locally sourced, organic, fair trade and produced in a humane manner.

Spurred on by that success, Galarneau and others throughout the UC system set their sights on other campuses. In 2009, their efforts led to a university-wide sustainable food policy that includes sustainable food procurement, waste reduction and facility efficiency goals.

The policy commits UC campuses and medical centers to purchasing at least 20 percent of their food from sustainable or local sources by 2020. As a result, UC locations now offer more healthy meal options and work to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

‘The Alice Waters of campus foodies’

Galarneau’s impact has not gone unnoticed. Mother Jones magazine has called him, “the Alice Waters of a burgeoning movement of campus foodies,” and, in 2011, the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference named him the UC Sustainability Champion.

Galarneau’s activism has spread beyond the University of California.

In 2010, Galarneau co-founded the Central Coast School Food Alliance, a partnership between UC Santa Cruz, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County that promotes nutrition education and access to healthy, fresh food for children in the region.

Galarneau was also a facilitator for 40 Garden Enhanced Nutrition Education trainings across the state to more than 2,000 K-12 school staff members and educators. The UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology partnered on the farm-to-school training project with the California Department of Education’s Nutrition Services, the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers.

Nationally, Galarneau helped launch the Real Food Challenge, which aims to convince thousands of universities and colleges across the country to set goals to buy 20 percent of their food from sustainable sources by 2020. The shift in purchasing would drive roughly $1 billion more annually toward sustainable food production by the next decade.

All the work is an effort to build community engagement and leadership to combat the more than $4 billion a year spent on food advertising, much of it marketing junk and processed foods to young people, Galarneau said.

“Schools don’t have $4 billion to market healthy and sustainable food options,” Galarneau said.

The constant barrage of food ads makes it even more important that schools can offer healthier alternatives, Galarneau said. And the foods themselves often provide a learning opportunity.

UC Santa Cruz’s dining halls, for example, pioneered events such as Healthy Mondays, an offshoot of a national Meatless Monday initiative, and Farm Fridays, which brings farmers to campus to talk about how produce is grown.

Students enjoy a healthy meal, and in the process, learn about where their food has come from. And they gain a better understanding about why sustainable and locally sourced food is better for their health and the environment, Galarneau said.

“The more we provide the story behind food systems and the connections, the more people see where they fit in the food system and the more they see what kind of food system they want to be part of,” Galarneau said.

Filmmaker Spotlight: Meet Daniel & Mirra of The Perennial Plate

| Contest News

Meet Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, the filmmakers behind The Perennial Plate and creators of Homeward,’ Grand Prize winner of the 2014 Real Food Media Contest. 

When did you first start making films? What is it about film that drew you?

Daniel: I made my first film in 2005-6 with my brothers and cousin – we traveled from Cairo to Cape Town, filming stories about the impact (positive and negative) of foreign aid in Africa. I knew very little about film going into the experience and “learned on the job” – then it was a matter of editing down 300 hours of footage into 80 minutes. It was an extremely challenging (and rewarding) process. It wasn’t until a few years later when I was tired of cooking professionally that I decided to take up film again. I wanted a way to combine my passion for food, activism and film together into one project. The Perennial Plate – our weekly documentary series was born from that mashup. Mirra, who had never picked up a camera before, was dragged into the mix back in 2009 by chance, and ended up being a natural.

Mirra: The camera allows you to meet people and find yourselves in situations you would have never dreamed of. It gives us a chance to see a day in a person’s life that is different than our own, and really hear their story… which is something I really enjoy and feel grateful to be doing.

The key to our job is finding a way to make our subjects feel comfortable enough to truly open up. And I think that’s what draws me to documentary filmmaking most of all.


How did you learn about CAXTLE oregano cooperative and the people in your film?

We have the amazing pleasure of traveling the world looking for stories about what we (and you) like to call “Real Food”. When we knew we were going to Mexico, we reached out to Steve Sando who runs an incredible bean company, Rancho Gordo, out of California, but also has a lot of great connections in Mexico. He immediately thought of this Oregano collective. The collective was a bit nervous about coming on our own, so Steve actually flew down and made the trip with us. We rented a truck and drove way up into the mountains. Once we were there, we fell in love with Isaies – we knew he had a beautiful story to tell, it was just a matter of getting him on his own to share his experience.


What do you hope people walk away from ‘Homeward’ thinking about?

All of our films share the theme of “food”, but when it really comes down to it, the films are about people. And so we want viewers to walk away with a personal connection to the people in the film. Maybe it will make them think differently about farm workers, about cooperatives, about Mexico — maybe it will make them wonder who it is that grows the oregano at their local grocery store.


What are the main themes you’re trying to bring to life in ‘Homeward’?

There were a couple themes in this story which we thought were important. The first, of course, is shifting U.S. perspectives on Mexico. Mexicans generally don’t want to leave their country, it is economic pressure that necessitates the move. Another theme is the impact of community/cooperation along with leadership — and how it can provide an amazing avenue for change.

During filming — when we first arrived at the cooperative in Hildago, we were welcomed with the sights of the farmers building the barbacoa. We saw that meal as a good jumping off point for a film about the power of community. It was just wonderful to see this community of farmers coming together to make this incredible meal and to have this united excitement over an organic crop that was actually giving them a strong livelihood.

So much news about Mexico is bad news, so to share the proud story of someone who doesn’t want to make the dangerous trip to the US, but would rather build up his own community was especially inspiring. I think that is what most people want — it’s just not always an option. So it’s amazing to see these folks in the mountains of Mexico doing just that.


If you had more time, what other issues would you have expanded on? 

We talked to a lot of the other oregano farmers, almost all of whom had traveled to the US and come back after years of working in various jobs. They were excited about this opportunity to be home and their stories would have helped show what a difference this collective was making. Also, Isaies was very much inspired by his brother who recently passed away. Together, they had been working on this mission. Including that story would have added a further personal element.


Who inspires you? 

We get inspiration from a lot of different places as our work covers several areas: food, activism, travel and film. We are constantly inspired (and blown away) by the quality of other’s work. Watching films, talking to farmers, visiting other parts of the world and being reminded of the inequality and injustice that continues to thrive all around us. Because of our work we get to meet so many inspiring people. We were very impacted by our trip to Mexico — beyond the story you see here, we also filmed stories on corn and chocolate and we found individuals with deep rooted commitment to food transformation. Amado Ramirez Leyva from Itanoni Restaurant in Oaxaca for example.


What’s next for you – do you have another project in the works?

We have spent the last 14 months traveling around the world documenting stories of the people who produce their own food in a sustainable way. Homeward was one of those stories. We are very lucky to have an amazing sponsor, Intrepid Travel, who funds our project but gives us complete creative control. I don’t know how we got so lucky. We put out short (4-6 minute) videos every other week on our website: These videos will be coming out until late summer. After that, we are in the works of a larger project that hopes to involve other creators.

Watch Homeward:

Daniel and Mirra are based in Minneapolis, MN. Stay connected and follow their work at

logo_twitter_bird_18x13  @perennialplate + @kaleandcola

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| Contest News, Press

Joanna Dillon, Real Food Media Contest

Haven Bourque, HavenBMedia

Revival of Community, Pride in Farming and
Respect for Labor at the Heart of Sustainable Food Stories

SAN FRANCISCO — March 4, 2014 — A stunning range of food and farming stories from across North America took top honors in the first annual Real Food Media contest, which today announced its final five winners in the food movement’s newest, most vibrant competition for short films about sustainable food and farming. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 were awarded to the top five films, chosen from a treasure trove of over 150 submissions from 25 states and the District of Columbia and 4 countries around the world.

The winning films, though diverse in style, perspective, and place, share common themes: revival of pride in farming as a way of life, resilience of rural communities and cities growing food sustainably, and renewal of respect for the labor and natural resources at the heart of food production. The winning films are:

Grand prize: Homeward, by Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine of The Perennial Plate in Minneapolis, MN
After watching friends and family leaving their community in Mexico for the United States, entrepreneurial farmers in Hidalgo created a thriving cooperative, keeping their families together with organic oregano. As the grand prize winner, Homeward will be screened at the Food & Farm Film Fest in San Francisco in April 2014.

1st runner up and People’s Choice winner: Green Bronx Machine, by Brendan Van Meter of Suffern, NY
Green Bronx Machine feeds the minds, hearts and stomachs of students in the poorest congressional district in America. Stephen Ritz and his community plant school gardens and harvest organic citizens. *Green Bronx Machine was also selected as the ‘People’s Choice’ winner, earning nearly 2,000 online votes from the film’s supporters.

2nd runner up: A Greene Generation, by Tim Grant of Charlotte, NC
In rural western North Carolina the Greene family runs a small, organic, family farm. 14-year old Nathaniel Greene and his siblings are passionate about caring for their pigs, their land, and about producing good food.

3rd runner up, tied: Who Keeps the Beekeepers, by Timothy Powers of St. Petersburg, FL
We’ve heard about the bees, but what about the beekeepers? The voices of the last remaining beekeepers talk about the future of our food supply.

3rd runner up, tied: The Gift, by Jean-Marc Abela of Montréal, Québec
On a small speck of land off the island of Vancouver, Dan Jason farms seeds. In this poetically shot short film, Jason shares his vision of the bounty of nature.

The archive of over 150 short films may be one of the largest ever created in service of the good food movement. The contest, directed by national best-selling author and sustainability advocate Anna Lappé, is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project and an extension of the highly regarded Food MythBusters series, viewable at

A prominent panel of judges representing diverse perspectives on the food system made the selections. Judges included: Michael Pollan, Padma Lakshmi, Alice Waters, Byron Hurt, Eric Schlosser, Robert Kenner, Norman Lear Center’s Johanna Blakley, Sundance Institute’s Keri Putnam, The Jamie Oliver Foundation and organic farmer Emily Zweber.

“What impressed me about Green Bronx Machine is the huge impact this urban farming project is having on an entire inner-city community. Not only are kids learning about healthy plants and vegetables, but they are learning team work, hard work, and the dedication to see a project through,” said judge Emily Zweber of Zweber Farms in Elko, Minnesota.

Seen through the lens of these filmmakers, these stories illustrate the deep connections between all of us to our food, farmers, beekeepers, seeds and soil.

“The Gift reminds us that we have the power in our own hands to feed the world. It’s hope for mankind in a small package.” said judge Padma Lakshmi, Top Chef host, cookbook author, actress, and model.

The contest generated over 100,000 views of the top finalists’ films, with votes coming in from over 40 countries — planting the seeds for what may become an annual event that taps the storytelling artistry and passion so prevalent in the good food movement. The Real Food Media Project is a collaborative initiative to spread the story of food with this film contest, creative films, a web-based action center, and grassroots events. Visit to learn more and to view the top 10 films and final five winners. Engage with us on Twitter via @FoodMythBusters and @AnnaLappe with hashtag #RealFoodContest and on Facebook at Real Food Media Project.


Fixing Food in Four Minutes or Less

| Contest News, Press

by Anna Lappé
Cross-posted from Huffington Post, 2/18/2014

Last fall, when I launched the first-ever Real Food Media short films contest with project partners around the country, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I just knew that there were incredible stories of people farming, growing, cooking, and sharing food as well as fighting the good fight to fix our broken food system that people weren’t hearing. I wanted to create a platform to bring those stories front and center to be shared widely.

I invited some of my favorite people in the film industry, restaurant business, and advocacy world for sustainable food and farming to be advisors and judges for the contest. We reached out to food changemakers, filmmakers, and film and sustainability students from around the country to encourage them tell their stories through short films. And we were blown away with the results, with 156 films from all over the country and the world pouring in.

Honestly, I was hoping we’d get 25 submissions, and crossing my fingers for 50. But 156? Never would have guessed that we’d receive this much interest from such high-quality filmmakers. I was concerned that we might just get films about artisanal mayonnaise in hipster Brooklyn, but instead we received films that reflect the true diversity of the food movement and represent a range of topics, from topsoil to bees, urban agriculture to seeds, beginning farmers to backyard gardeners.

After a tough task of choosing the 10 finalists, we’re thrilled to announce the official selections of the first Real Food Media Contest. From the streets of the South Bronx to an oregano cooperative in Mexico, the films turn their lens to food, in all its beauty and complexity. From a doc-style short film about the threat of another Dust Bowl to a first-person narrative about a young farmworker in the Northwest, each film is unique and powerful. We hope you will enjoy them!

We’re counting on you to help us select the people’s choice, so head over to and let us know which film you like best. Or do what we’re doing and host a screening party, potluck or brownbag lunch to watch the top 10 with friends and colleagues and vote together on your favorites. Weigh in at, or give your two cents on Twitter with the hashtag #realfoodcontest. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Invite your Friends: Watch the Top 10 Finalists!

| Contest News

Host a brownbag lunch at your office, in your dorm — invite friends for a potluck, organize a gathering for your CSA community, school group, or Slow Food chapter — and cast your vote by March 2, 2014.

Homepage Voting image

Hosting a screening? Download customizable invites and flyers and our Screening + Discussion Guide


Connect with us!

Promote your screenings and upload photos of your gatherings to #realfoodcontest to link up with our community on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

[More images are available on our Screening Resources page]

RFMC Community Screening Invite






Short Films to Watch (and Vote on) Right Now

| Contest News, Press

By Anna Lappé
Cross-posted from Civil Eats | 12/12/2014

What do beekeepers, oregano farmers, and poetic seed savers have in common? They’re just some of the amazing people profiled in the first Real Food Media Contest’s top 10 films.

I launched the Contest last year along with a coalition of amazing food and farming organizations—from Real Food Challenge to Sustainable Table to the Food Chain Workers Alliance—to create a platform for creative new voices to share the untold stories of our food system: The good, the bad, and the exquisite.

With some fabulous advisers, we took on the arduous task of pairing down 156 films to 10 finalists. Now, we’re calling on you—the voting public—to weigh in on a “People’s Choice” Award at Judges from the food and film industry–including Michael Pollan, Padma Lakshmi, and Alice Waters–will then cast their votes for the top three films by March 2nd and all the winners will be announced on March 4, 2014.

It’s no surprise to me that the national interest in our food system has spiked to unprecedented levels, but I would have never guessed we’d get such a great response to our first call for entries. The films range in topic from the crisis in commercial beekeeping to the success of an urban gardening program in the South Bronx, and they prove just how hungry young filmmakers and community advocates are for a deeper exploration of our food. The archive of over 150 short films may be one of the largest ever created in service of the Good Food Movement.

Here’s are three films to whet your appetite:

Hands in the Orchestra

Go behind the scenes in San Francisco restaurant kitchens in this rocking short about the hands that feed us.

The Berry Picker

A college student in Oregon spends her summers picking berries with her parents.

Reaping the Whirlwind

The Dust Bowl is not just a chapter in U.S. history books. This short doc talks about why we could face another Dust Bowl and what we can do about it.

Now head on over to to watch the rest of the films and cast your vote. While you’re there, you’ll also find materials to help you host screening parties and spread the word on social media.


| Contest News

‘People’s Choice’ open for audience vote on a favorite sustainable food and farming story

SAN FRANCISCO — February 12, 2014 — The nation’s newest, most vibrant competition for short films about sustainable food and farming — the first annual Real Food Media Contest — announces that it has chosen the top 10 films from among a bumper crop of over 150 entries. Public voting for the ‘People’s Choice’ film is now open to all food and farming community members at The top three films and ‘People’s Choice’ winners will be announced and cash prizes awarded on March 4, 2014.

National interest in our food system has reached an unprecedented level in recent years. The overwhelming response in both the sheer volume of films submitted and the breadth of topics — from the crisis in commercial beekeeping to the struggle of farmworkers in the Northwest to the success of an urban gardening program in the South Bronx — proves how hungry young filmmakers and community food advocates are for a deeper exploration of our food. The archive of over 150 short films may be one of the largest ever created in service of the good food movement.

The contest, directed by national best-selling author and sustainability advocate Anna Lappé, is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project and an extension of the highly regarded Food MythBusters series, viewable at

“I was blown away by the 156 submissions: creative filmmakers turning their lens on food, in all its beauty and complexity,” says Anna Lappé, director of the Real Food Media Project. “After a tough task of selecting the ten finalists, we’re thrilled to announce the official selections: from a doc-style short film about the threat of another Dust Bowl to a first-person narrative about a young berry picker in Oregon, each film is unique and powerful.”

A star-studded panel of judges will select the top film. Cash prizes will be given to the best 10 films and the People’s Choice winner, including a $5,000 grand prize and a screening at the Food & Farm Film Fest in San Francisco in April 2014.

Contest judges include:
• Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model and television host
• Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
• Robert Kenner, Academy Award-nominated director, “Food Inc.”
• Eric Schlosser, journalist and author, Fast Food Nation
• Johanna Blakley, managing director, Norman Lear Center, USC
• Byron Hurt, director and producer, “Soul Food Junkies”
• Alice Waters, Chez Panisse and Chez Panisse Foundation
• Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute
• The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)
• Emily Zweber, organic farmer

“This contest is the first of its kind, creating an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to make their mark. Now, more than ever, we need these stories to be told,” says Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and a contest judge.

“Corporate interests are investing vast sums of money in storytelling designed to influence Americans’ food choices. I am encouraged that so many original voices have come forth in this contest, keeping the food and farming dialogue in the hands of the people,” says journalist Michael Pollan, another contest judge.

The Real Food Media Project is a collaborative initiative to spread the story of our food with this film contest, creative films, a web-based action center, and grassroots events. Visit to learn more, view the Top 10 films, and vote for the ‘People’s Choice Award.’ Deadline for voting is March 2, 2014.

What to Expect this Week

| Contest News

In case you missed it, we’re still catching our breath from the 156 entries that you all submitted to the contest! Many of the films were uploaded in the day or two before the deadline, so we are still working our way through and we want to give our advisors time to do the same. Don’t rush a good thing, right? You all put so much energy into making those four minutes, we find ourselves needing a few more to give them their due.

Top Ten Films

We’ll announce the top ten films by the end of the day on Tuesday, Feb. 11. These are the films that:

  •  judges are voting on to determine top honors
  • – have a chance at the 1st place film debut at the 2014 Food + Farm Film Fest in San Francisco
  • – are eligible for the People’s Choice Award


Yes, that’s right: people’s choice – which means we need you, the people!
Online voting opens on Wednesday, Feb. 12th: get your family, friends, office mates, neighbors, CSA-ers together to celebrate by screening your film and all the top contenders! Whether it’s a potluck night, a happy hour, a real food throwdown, get it on the calendar before March 2nd to watch the entries and keep the momentum going:


Throw a Real Food Party w: logo

+ Announcing: Staff Picks

Ten spots is hard. (Too hard.) We decided that we want to showcase more films that don’t land in the top ten: films that we loved, that we learned from, that are shedding light on important aspects of the food system. An encore round, if you will. More on this soon, but it’s clear that there are stories to tell – so we’re looking for more microphones.

If you have any questions in the meantime, let us know! We’re at info <at>

156 entries to the first-ever Real Food Media Contest

| Contest News, Judges

Wow, you all brought your A game.

Our team is overwhelmed, touched, and INSPIRED by the stories you all have sent in. Incredible accounts of the on-the-ground, real deal work, sacrifice, victories, innovation and conviction that represent the heart and soul of this growing movement.

You put your lens on farmworkers in the fields, struggles against consolidation, food incubators, youth flexing leadership muscle, the role of community in supporting local agriculture, the importance of beekeepers, meat production with integrity, food education for all ages, urban agriculture models that are healing the planet, and indigenous traditions that are being honored and revived, whoa. (WHOA.)

We laughed, we cried. (No, really. We did.)  We learned a lot along the way and are more affirmed than ever that we are shifting the tide to more sustainable and meaningful relationships – with our food systems, this planet, and each other. THANK YOU for sharing your stories for this contest, for bringing to life the people and projects that drive you and letting us into your world.

Real Food Media Contest posts


From here, we’re sending them off to the judges and will be uploading the top films live to the website on February 12 to open online voting and determine the People’s Choice award. Voting closes March 2, so get your friends, family and farmers together to watch the entries and get inspired.



Just add friends

Vimeo Uploads – Hold Tight!

| Contest News

To those who are having trouble uploading your films, please hold tight! There is an issue at Vimeo and they are working to resolve it. You can monitor it here along with us:

We’re confident they’ll have it sorted soon!

10 days and counting!

| Contest News

We’re officially coming up on the contest deadline for submissions on February 3!

(Ahem.) That’s right, folks. Get your air guitars and 80’s hair ready. It’s the final countdown.

So get your submissions in, don’t put it off!

Triple check the guidelines to make sure you’re ready and ask your questions now.

Once we hit 9pm EST on February 3rd, there’s no turning back.

We can’t wait to see your films!

Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

Another great opportunity for reporting on food and important intersections around the world:

2014-2015 Competition Deadline: February 28, 2014 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

The Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship is a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program that provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in up to three countries on a globally significant social or environmental topic. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.

The wide variety of new digital media tools and platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for people from all disciplines and backgrounds to share observations and personal narratives with global audiences online. These storytelling tools are powerful resources as we seek to expand our knowledge of pressing transnational issues and build ties across cultures.

Through the Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, Fulbrighters will undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue, comparing and contrasting how that issue is experienced across borders. Utilizing a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media, Fellows will tell their stories, or the stories of those they meet, publishing their work on National Geographic media platforms with the support of National Geographic’s editorial team.

For the 2014-15 academic year, applications will be accepted for projects focused on one or more of the following themes:

  1. Biodiversity

  2. Cities

  3. Climate Change

  4. Cultures

  5. Energy

  6. Food

  7. Oceans

  8. Water


Read more and apply here

UC Berkeley Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship

| Judges

Attention all early and mid-career journalists interested in reporting on food and farming!

The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is offering eight $10,000 postgraduate Food and Farming Journalism Fellowships:

In a new program established by Michael Pollan (also a Real Food Media Contest judge), the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, the Fellowship is aimed at early and mid career journalists and presents an opportunity to report ambitious long form stories on the full range of subjects under the rubric of food systems: agricultural and nutritional policy, the food industry, food science, technology and culture, rural and urban farming, agriculture and the environment (including climate change), global trade and supply chains, consolidation and securitization of the food system and public health as it relates to food and farming. The Fellowship is a project of the Knight Center in Science and Environmental Journalism, and is supported by a grant from The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation.


  • $10,000 Fellowship
  • Applications Due March 1, 2014
  • Open to print and radio journalists for 2014 (to expand to multi-media and video in the future)
  • Eight journalists will receive $10,000 to travel and report these stories
  • Preference to U.S. focused stories


Online applications are due March 1, 2014, and should include a one-page pitch with a clearly defined story idea, not just a subject. The pitch should reflect some preliminary research, providing a clear sense of place, characters, narrative and reporting strategy. The application also requires a CV, two letters of recommendation and published clips. UC Berkeley will announce this year’s fellows by May 1, 2014.

Those interested in applying will need to be available the week of June 24-28, 2014 for a 4-day workshop at UC Berkeley with the 2014 cohort of fellows, fellowship director Michael Pollan, guest editors from national publications and managing editor Malia Wollan. Travel, lodging and meals for the meeting will be covered by the fellowship. During the first session, fellows will refine their story pitches with the help of the editors, and develop a reporting and publishing or broadcast strategy. Fellows will also have opportunities to meet with and interview faculty members and researchers doing work relevant to their stories at UC Berkeley.


School Ambassador Profile: Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis

| Ambassadors

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis brings together the expertise of more than 70 UC Davis faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate student researchers and undergraduate students to address big emerging issues related to food and farming sustainability.   We partner with farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, nonprofits, policymakers and local communities to ensure that our research and teaching respond to the needs of the people of California and the world.  ASI is working to create a more sustainable food system in several ways:


We nurture the next generation of leaders in agriculture through an innovative new undergraduate major in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, and we teach children and adults throughout various communities about food, nutrition and the environment.


We work with many partners on large-scale research endeavors on topics ranging from the sustainability of global supply chains, nutrient management and clean water in agricultural production, and access to markets for beginning and ethnic farmers.  Our research strives to ensure nutritious and accessible food, fertile soil, healthy communities and environments, and prosperous farms and ranches.


We work hard to ensure that research done at the university is widely communicated to our stakeholders, and prioritize our work based on the feedback we receive from stakeholders and partners.

ASI houses a number of projects including the UC Davis Student Farm, the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility.

More information on ASI at UC Davis and our various projects can be found at

For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

Upload Pics to Instagram + Win Your Pick of our Contest Perks!

| Contest News

[Instagram upload from Nomadic Frames on the making of their Real Food Media Contest entry]

Instagram photobombers alert!

We’ve been hearing plenty of you are busy over the winter break shooting, editing and polishing your footage. We want to see what you’re up to! Upload your behind-the-lens shots, production pics, editing-in-action on instagram with #realfoodcontest and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win your choice of the contest perks. (Have you seen them??! They are pretty amazing.) Your choice, as in, ANY of the amazing one-on-one conversations with leaders in the food and film industries including Raj Patel, Fred Haberman, Plus M Productions, Corinne Bourdeau, Jeremy Siefert, Farmrun.

Read about all the contest perks here. 


Upload your pics with #realfoodcontest by January 12th at midnight PST to be entered. Check back on our news feed for the winner!



School Ambassador Profile: Cornell Performing & Media Arts

| Ambassadors

Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts is housed within the elegant Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. A regionally recognized cultural facility, the Schwartz Center’s marble walls encompass all the elements needed for teaching and performance in theatre, film and dance: four performance spaces; dance and theatre rehearsal studios; scenery, costume and prop shops; sound and lighting design studios; and state of the art film editing and production suites.

The Schwartz Center serves as a catalyst for the creative and intellectual endeavors of the many talented students, faculty and staff at Cornell. Students with varied interests—in criticism, film production, theatre, acting, directing, theatre and media history, screenwriting, dancing, film, media, sound design, lighting, costumes, multimedia work or international media and theatre work—can all find courses, productions, events, clubs and organizations, competitions and special opportunities at the Schwartz Center.

All of the department’s activities build on a commitment to diversity and collaboration across all areas of the department, as well as across Cornell and the broader community. Also part of the department is Cornell Cinema, which has been cited as one of the best campus film exhibition programs in the country, screening close to 150 different films/videos each year, five nights a week in the beautiful Willard Straight Theatre. Each calendar includes an array of classic Hollywood and foreign films, independent titles, documentaries, experimental work, recent International cinema, silent films with live musical accompaniment, cult classics and recent Hollywood and arthouse hits, in addition to guest appearances by visiting filmmakers and faculty.

Follow Cornell Schwartz Center and Performing & Media Arts on Facebook or twitter for latest news and events and check out the new YouTube channel for a glimpse into the Cornell lens:


For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

School Ambassador Profile: Cornell Small Farms Program

| Ambassadors

The Cornell Small Farms Program serves as a clearinghouse and sounding board for small farms across the Northeast, producing new publications to address information gaps, and fostering collaborative teams to address hot-button issues. Their mission is to foster the sustainability of diverse, thriving small farms that contribute to food security, healthy rural communities, and the environment.

Read up on all your Small Farm News

The Cornell Small Farms Program publishes the Small Farm Quarterly magazine once each season, a monthly e-newsletter called the Small Farm Update, and regularly updates resources and events on their website.

Since 2007, they’ve been heading up the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, which offers:

• a menu of 6-week online courses on topics ranging from business management to production
• self-paced tutorials to help aspiring farmers create the foundation for a business plan
• connection for new farmers to a Northeast-wide network of organizations serving beginning farmers
• instructional videos of successful farmers’ production techniques and business advice:



CSFP_logo_v3a_windmill_chixNewBFLogo4 26 11 copy

Link up with Cornell Small Farms Program and Northeast Beginning Farmer Project on Facebook

For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

Hand-drawn Wordmark from Farmrun

| Community Prizes

PERK: A hand-drawn custom title/wordmark for your next film from Farmrun.

There are powerful movements sweeping the agricultural landscapes in this country, and those farms, farmers, butchers, ranchers, fermenters, restauranteurs and bakers need their stories to be communicated to the world.

That’s where Farmrun comes in.

farmrun we are

Responsible agricultural practices + sound media communication = Media for a Farmrun America.

One of the first dedicated agricultural creative studios in the country, Andrew Plotsky leads Farmrun in providing a unique lens on media work with a depth of knowledge of food systems. Farmrun strives to serve the needs of the burgeoning agrarian renaissance by producing beautiful media for agricultural enterprises and organizations.

Among their services, Andrew is a talented artist and will hand-draw a custom title card for your next film!




Filmmaking & Social Change with Raj Patel

| Community Prizes

PERK: A 1 hour conversation on filmmaking and social change with filmmaker and author, Raj Patel.

Raj Patel is an award-winning author and activist, who has worked at the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents. He is affiliated with UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First. He is also an IATP Food and Community Fellow, at Utne Reader Visionary and has testifed to the US Congress on the causes of the global food crisis. He is the author of the international bestseller The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, and the critically acclaimed guide to the food system Stuffed and Starved.

He is currently working on Generation Food Project, a documentary and multimedia project about the global food system with award-winning director Steve James.

All the top entrants are eligible for contest perks and prizes.

For a full – and growing! – list of contest perks, click below:


Social Action Campaign with Corinne Bordeau

| Community Prizes

PERK: A 1 hour conversation with Corinne Bourdeau of 360 Degree Communications on creating social action campaigns for films that make a difference.

Corinne Bourdeau, independent filmmaker and president and founder of 360 Degree Communications, offers insight into the unique challenges passionate filmmakers face in today’s changing marketplace. Corinne is an expert at creating strategic marketing plans and can help you develop a dynamic grassroots marketing campaign, create a social action campaign, cultivate your audience and help you position and distribute your film in a crowded market.

She has worked on the marketing campaigns of leading films including: the Academy Award winning documentary, The Cove, the Sundance Award winning film, Fuel, indie-hit Bottle Shock, and the audience pleaser, Buck. Bourdeau is also the Executive Producer of the film Ingredients. Connect with Corinne to strategize about what you need to help your film take off!





Making Media that Matters with Jeremy Siefert

| Community Prizes

PERK: A conversation with Director Jeremy Seifert about the craft of filmmaking, finding the story, and making stuff that matters.


In 2010, Jeremy completed his debut film, DIVE!, Living Off America’s Waste. Initially made with a $200 budget, a borrowed camera, and a lot of heart, DIVE! went on to win 22 film festivals worldwide. In 2010 with the release of DIVE!, Jeremy began the production company, Compeller Pictures. He is now a filmmaker and activist, traveling the country and speaking on humanitarian and environmental issues. Jeremy’s second film, GMO OMG, tells the hidden story of the take over of our food supply by giant chemical companies, an agricultural crisis that has grown into a cultural crisis. Through the making of the film, he has once again found the heart of the project in his own journey and awakening. Talk to Jeremy about how to find the story in your own film and making meaningful media.








Marketing Your Film with Fred Haberman

| Community Prizes

PERK: A 1 hour marketing consultation with Fred Haberman, CEO of Haberman.


Haberman is a full-service marketing agency with a clearly defined mission — to tell the stories of pioneers who are making a difference in the world. As modern storytellers, his agency helps organizations generate revenue, inspire engagement and drive positive social change. For more, visit





Plus M Productions: Documentary Interviewing

| Community Prizes

PERK: A 1 hour conversation with Plus M Productions on how to conduct a great interview for your documentary film.

Hear from the team behind Plus M Productions about how to master key interviewing techniques. They’ll share some good tricks! In person (if Bay Area based) or by Skype.


All the top entrants are eligible for contest perks and prizes.

For a full – and growing! – list of contest perks, click below:




School Ambassador Profile: Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

| Ambassadors

Founded in 1996, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is an interdisciplinary academic center dedicated to conducting research, educating students from all walks of life, and taking action based on evidence. Based within the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Center works with faculty, staff, and students throughout Johns Hopkins University to harness the expertise available in a wide range of disciplines and collaborations.

A leader in research, education, policy, and advocacy, the Center serves as a critical resource for advocates, policymakers, educators and students. Its core programs integrate research, policy, education and outreach in four areas as they relate specifically to public health: food production, food communities, food system sustainability, and food system policy. The Center’s work is driven by the certainty that we must understand the connections among all four program areas.

Some of the Center’s highlights from 2013 include the release of the CLF study, Industrial Food Animal Production in America: Examining the Impact of the Pew Commission’s Priority Recommendations, the development of a Food Policy Network with food policy council expert Mark Winne, continued work on a demonstration Aquaponics Project, advances in our Maryland Food System Map, and the creation of a Food System Sustainability Practicum for graduate students.

For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

School Ambassador Profile: Indiana University, Center for a Sustainable Future

| Ambassadors

The Center for a Sustainable Future is taking the lead role in further turning IU South Bend into the ideal green campus: one that has turned itself into a learning organization in which every person on campus understands the basic principles of sustainability and is putting them into practice one step at a time.

After implementing the first undergraduate minor in Sustainability Studies in the state of Indiana, the Center is starting courses in the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Sustainability Leadership as of January, 2014. A 5-course certificate, it is embedded in the Masters of Liberal Studies program for those wishing to pursue a Masters. It can also be taken as a stand-alone certificate. Evening classes, one of which is a sustainable food course, meet once a week.Since it’s establishment in 2008, the Center has developed new sustainability curriculum, facilitated research in sustainability, and fostered civic engagement through community participation. The Center strives to engage the campus and greater Michiana communities in creating a future focused on the “triple bottom line:” choices that are good for people and the planet, as well as profits, and that take into account ecological and social performance.

The Center’s You Tube channel is filled with fun student sustainability-oriented videos such as Recycling Cyclers and a series of three videos that offer an Introduction to Sustainability based on a popular workshop we deliver in our community and on campus.

In the area? Check out upcoming events with the Center for a Sustainable Future:

January 18, 2014: Earth Friendly Eating community event takes place at the main library in downtown South Bend. Featuring  networking, area resources, library resources, a keynote from the Soil And Water Conservation District, a panel discussion on area residents’ “Nutrition Evolution,” vendors, live music, and door prizes.

February 24, 2014Sustainability Lecture Event at IU South Bend. This event will be held in Schurz Library among the Lexicon display. The Lectures will be virtually presented and will feature Ron Finley & Pam Warhurst on The Future of Food and How We Can Eat Our Landscapes, respectively. Following the talks will be a live local panel discussing how the same approaches and philosophies are happening in Michiana. A reception and networking period will follow.

Saturday March 1, 2014: TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” live webcast and display of the Lexicon of Sustainability at the IUSB Schurz Library.

IUSB Sustainability web res-02

More Media:

The Center partners with local public TV station, WNIT, to produce a series of interviews on sustainability in the region. These “Talking Sustainability” pieces can be viewed via the Center’s news page. This past fall, two complete shows were produced focusing entirely on sustainability in action in Michiana. The Center for a Sustainable Future’s Assistant Director, Krista Bailey, also hosted an interview with a local car dealership working to go off grid:


For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

Hudson Grocery Co-op Seeking Filmmakers!

To the world of amazing filmmakers out there in Minneapolis/St. Paul area or near: there’s a story waiting to be told!

Help the Hudson Grocery Co-op get its big debut and enter a film about a great local project for the Contest.


READ ON to hear what they have in the works and get in touch with Ramona to lend your camera skills and love for local food to help this Co-op get some worthy attention:

hudson coop

Ever since the EconoFoods closed its doors on its downtown location, downtown Hudson and North Hudson have lacked a one-stop source of groceries.  An online survey issued by our group last fall indicated that many people drive to other towns, including Maplewood, St. Paul, and as far as St. Louis Park, to purchase fresh produce, grocery staples, and year-round supplies.

Hudson Grocery Cooperative proposes opening a community owned grocery store in the downtown neighborhood in an attempt to bring many of these grocery dollars back home to Hudson. With a downtown location, HGC will serve commuters heading north on Highway 35; visitors to our beach, library, galleries, restaurants, shops, and other downtown attractions; and local residents who will appreciate the convenience of a neighborhood store.

In addition to providing groceries to the community, HGC will grow the local food market by providing consumers a consistent source for locally produced goods, encouraging nearby family farms and independent businesses to sell products close to home, and partnering with other local food-based businesses to source local products. The Co-op will provide area farmers, including those who sell direct at Hudson farmers markets, through Community Supported Agriculture, and/or by subscription, a secondary market to vend their products. Because our cooperative is focused more on creating a healthy and sustainable local foods system and less on generating the largest profit possible, we have the flexibility to purchase items from many small vendors rather than one large, cost-efficient outfit.


Read more on the Hudson Co-op website, or follow their story on Facebook and Twitter.


School Ambassador Profile: Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability | UCLA

| Ambassadors


The Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability is a consensus-based organization made up of regional members who are committed to working together to improve the climate change efforts and sustainability of the greater Los Angeles Region. The network is designed to encourage greater coordination and cooperation at the local and regional levels by bringing together leadership from government, the business community, academia, labor, environmental and community groups. Housed at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the collaborative aims to share information, foster partnerships, and develop system-wide strategies to address climate change and promote a green economy through sustainable communities.

To see some of the many ways Los Angeles and LARC members highlight environmental issues in planning and analysis, or to read about solutions and local efforts, click to view reports below:


Are you in the Los Angeles area? Want to become a member of LARC? Check out their charter and get in touch about membership.


For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

School Ambassador Profile: Chatham University

| Ambassadors


A holistic approach to food systems – from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption – provides intellectual and practical experience from field to table at Chatham University’s Masters of Arts in Food Studies. This unique interdisciplinary program is a natural fit for the Real Food Media Contest. One of the greatest attributes a food studies education can supply is an understanding of how food is grown, treated, harvested, sold, purchased, consumed, shared, and disposed of. Understanding of the impact it has on its suppliers, consumers, and environment. And understanding how it affects us all.

Food for Thought – Masters in Food Studies at Chatham University



For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

School Ambassador Profile: Colorado College

| Ambassadors

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Sustainability is at the intersection of much of the work – in theory and practice – that goes on at Colorado College. Located just north of downtown Colorado Springs, students get their hands dirty at the campus farm, learning sustainable and organic practices while building permaculture systems. Created in President’s backyard  in Spring 2008, produce from the 1.3 acre garden is sold to Bon Appétit, the college’s food services provider, and at local farmers’ markets. In addition to a wide variety of vegetables, the CC farmers raise apples, cherries, peaches, plums, and apricots in a small orchard, raspberries and blackberries, wildflowers, free-range chickens, and bees for honey.

Our Distinctive Place of Learning

Celestial Fields – The beginning of Colorado College Campus Farm


Colorado College is part of nationwide movement to incorporate sustainable agriculture into the education realm – in and out of the classroom. The Real Food Media Contest is proud to partner with Film and New Media Studies at Colorado College, an interdisciplinary program where students develop the critical framework necessary to interrogate the moving-images of contemporary culture and learn the practical skills necessary to make their own creative interventions in the media landscape. From the soil to the screen, Colorado College is creating platforms to build a sustainable future.

For more information about programs at the Colorado College Campus Farm, visit the group’s website.


For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

New FAQ: Can an organization submit a film?

| FAQs

For all you great food-focused nonprofits and businesses out there, this one’s for you!


Organizations are welcome to create a film for the contest, but must designate an individual as the entrant for the contact information for the contest.

Join the Conversation with Keri Putnam of Sundance Institute

| Contest News, Judges


Join Anna Lappé of the Real Food Media Contest for a conversation with Sundance Institute’s Keri Putnam, one of the judges for the Real Food Media Contest. We’ll talk about breaking into the film business, Keri’s experience working in the industry, and how to connect your passion to your work.

Contact us at info @ to share your questions.

Date: November 6, 2013 at 1:00pm to 1:30pm PST
How to Register: Register at by 11/4.
Call-in information will be made available after registering.

New FAQ: Can I submit a film I’ve already made?

| FAQs

Here’s another question we’ve received and added to the FAQs.

Can I submit a film I’ve already made?

If the final cut you submit hasn’t already lived on the Internet or been screened at another venue, absolutely. If it has, you can still submit it, but it must be edited for the contest. So change it up, put a new spin on footage you’ve already shot, add to something you’ve been working on–and enter! As with all entries, you also need to make sure there weren’t, or aren’t, any issues or claims with the copyright and usage and, like all entries, you must follow our Terms and Conditions.

New FAQ: Can I submit an entry if I’m based in Canada? Can the film be shot overseas?

| FAQs

We’ve already heard from lots of you that you plan to submit a film to the Real Food Media Contest! We’ve also been receiving some questions and have added them, with answers, to the FAQ section of our website. We’ll post each of them as they are added.

Can I submit an entry if I’m based in Canada?

Yes, but you need to agree to consent to jurisdiction in the United States if there is a problem with copyright or other claims. Also, as we note in our Terms and Conditions, you are responsible for paying taxes on any prize money you receive, and would similarly be responsible for paying Canadian taxes on any prize money. This year the contest is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Can the film be shot overseas?

Definitely! The powerful stories we want to hear have no boundaries.