Future Food Series
Food or Fuel?
Kenyan farmer Moses Shaha journeys through the Tana Delta, where farmers are starting to grow jatropha, a biofuel crop.
While Africa is short of food, the world is running short of fuel. Until now the fuels that power prosperity have been mostly coal, oil and gas. But these fossil fuels can pollute, and are running short, whereas new technology means cars, even power grids, can run on fuels from crops like ethanol from corn or sugar cane. It's been estimated world demand for biofuels over 20 years will need an area one and a half times the size of Kenya.
Directed by Christine Kinyanjui
Produced by tv/e (Television Trust for the Environment)
Camera: Pete Murimi (Kenya), Fanscesco Manetti (Italy), Alex Gabbay (UK)
Editor: Joy Lusige
Music: Audio Network
Concept Development: James Heer, Joanne Levitan
Series Researcher: Janet Weinstein
Production Managers: Caroline Hancock, Sheila Menon
Senior Editor: Sotira Kyriacou
Development Producer: Jenny Richards
Series Editor: Steve Bradshaw
Production: On Screen Productions
Kenyan Farmer and campaigner Moses Shaha is cynical about biofuels. He journeys through the Tana Delta, where farmers are starting to grow jatropha, a biofuel crop, to understand if is a threat to farming land and food security as he fears, or if biofuels can in fact inspire innovation and help the environment long-term.
Other titles in this series are:
1. Old or New? - In Lima, Peru, a new generation of top chefs are cooking with traditional ingredients and supporting traditional livelihoods.
3. Big or Small? - What's the best method of growing food for a hungry population of 9.5 billion people: Big, or small?
4. Fat or Skinny? - The people of India are faced with a choice: indulge in a Western-style fast food diet, or embrace healthy and indigenous alternatives.
5. Near or Far? - The Nigerian Minister for Agriculture wants to ensure Nigerians eat food grown in Nigeria.
6. Stay or Go? - Who will grow China's food as young people leave the countryside for the cities?
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2013
Copyright Date: 2012
DVD ISBN: 1-93777-260-8
"Examining the issue from the base up, Food or Fuel? gives a fresh perspective on a phenomenon that has an enormous impact at the global level. Interesting and effective...This documentary helps us reflect to the pros and cons of growing jatropha for oil in marginal lands, and will be a great discussion starter in the classroom. Moses's apparent stubbornness to embrace the opportunities offered by the cultivation of jatropha expresses a sense of farmers' agency that is often hidden in debates at higher levels."
Fabio Parasecoli, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Food Studies, The New School, Author, Bite Me! Food in Popular Culture, co-Editor, Cultural History of Food
"There is a lot of good educational material in [Food or Fuel?]. There are interesting examples of how businesses sometimes come into an area and try to alter the lifestyles of the inhabitants to suit business objectives more than suiting the cultures and desires of the people. But there are solid reasons supporting biofuel production and the point is made that systems must be in place to insure that local farm expertise and local communities must be involved...[The film] would be useful in environmental science, agriculture, or biology classes, particularly if used in a unit of study where these classes might collaborate with social studies classes. The issues are timely and could be used as a basis for discussions, debates, and projects."
Richard Lord, NSTA Recommends
"Very impressive. These films present current problems in global food production and consumption with unstinting clarity. They highlight figures who advocate for indigenous crops without simply turning back the clock or giving in to the Western model of industrial scale agriculture. They propose models which value the local economy and yet think progressively in ways that will help people deal with rising population and increasingly volatile market for foodstuffs. These are thinkers, activists, politicians and farmers who will shape the future of food around the world."
Ken Albala, Professor of History, University of the Pacific, Author, Beans: A History
"All programs are thought-provoking and educational, with a strong emphasis on sustainability, and excellent choices for high school, college, and public library DVD collections."
The Midwest Book Review
"Highly Recommended. This 6-part series is a great collection of educational documentaries packed with interviews, insights, and images. Instructors can't go wrong when using these films in classes! Each documentary is independent of the others, but all share the same theme - exploring local solutions for feeding the world. Seeking both the local and international perspectives, the producers interviewed an impressive variety of recognized leaders and professionals working in the sustainable agriculture and human rights arenas including small-scale farmers, lobbyists, United Nations directors, ethicists, local government officials, authors, activists, and even a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The films are less than 30-minutes long each, which makes them perfect for in-class viewing and discussion. Each film is appropriate for a variety of courses ranging from business to anthropology. Whether purchased as a set or individually the price is a deal."
Emory Univesity, Educational Media Reviews Online
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"Gives a fresh perspective on a phenomenon that has an enormous impact at the global level. Interesting and effective." Fabio Parasecoli, Coordinator, Food Studies, The New School
Include SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and scene selection.
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A leading chef investigates food safety in the age of GMOs and industrial agriculture.
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... more Reviews
"A balanced and interesting discussion of food vs. fuel...The star farmer's search for an answer is a good model for raising a broad range of issues that need to be considered when discussing food production and other topics related to the use of resources."
Diane Bellis, Science Books and Films