An intimate look at the farmers, ranchers, and businesses that are creating a more sustainable food system in the Pacific Northwest.
Directed by Mark Dworkin, Melissa Young
Produced by Moving Images Video Project
Editor: Mark Dworkin
Screenwriter: Melissa Young, Mark Dworkin
Cinematographer: Mark Dworkin
Music: Jami Sieber, Mark Graham, Los Emocionantes, Jack Knauer Band
Something remarkable is happening in the fields and orchards of the Pacific Northwest. After leaving the land for decades, family farmers are making a comeback. They are growing much healthier food, and more food per acre, while using less energy and water than factory farms. And most of this food is organic.
"Offers a celebration of those working to turn things around and make them right." Seattle International Film Festival
For decades Northwest agriculture was focused on a few big crops for export. But climate change and the end of cheap energy mean that each region needs to produce more of its own food and to grow it more sustainably. Good Food visits farmers, farmers' markets, distributors, stores, restaurants and public officials who are developing a more sustainable food system for all.
Other films by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young are Net Loss, Another World is Possible, Not for Sale, Gene Blues, Islas Hermanas, Risky Business, Argentina: Hope in Hard Times and Argentina: Turning Around.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2008
Copyright Date: 2008
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-786-8
VHS ISBN: 1-59458-785-X
"The story told here is vital for the whole nation to see--the northwest may be leading the local food revolution, but the rest of the country is right behind."
Bill McKibben, Educator, Environmentalist, Author, The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
"Couldn't be more timely! A film made to awaken our taste buds and our courage--to create a food system aligned with what the earth needs and what our bodies yearn for. GOOD FOOD shows us it's possible. It's happening!"
Frances Moore Lappé, author, Diet for a Small Planet, Hope's Edge
"Exhilarating...Chronicles a veritable revolution going on all around us...This one is not out to scare us with an environmental horror story so much as to inspire us."
William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Food scarcity may become the dominant issue of our time. This film demonstrates that abundance is possible, when we refocus on regional agriculture and honor those who are making it happen. This film is a celebration of the best of the Northwest, portrayed through food and those whose hands grow it."
Michael Ableman, farmer and author, On Good Land, Fields Of Plenty
"A magical, lyrical journey, Good Food shows us that a sustainable future is already here. If anyone has any doubts about whether organic, local food systems can feed us economically and tastefully, they need to see this film."
Warren Belasco, Professor of American Studies, University of Maryland, Author, Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food
"Good Food is an intelligent, sensitive, and very timely witness to the ultimate interdependence of producers and eaters. The warmth and wisdom of this film will inspire and reassure all who continue to work for greater community food security, in communities everywhere."
Goldie Caughlan, nutrition educator, PCC Natural Markets, former member National Organic Standards Board
"The best I've seen dealing with local food issues--particularly linking issues of sustainability to the growing demand for locally grown foods. Good Food, subtly but forcefully, makes a compelling case: the best way to be assured of good food is to buy food from people you know and trust. There is no better way of making the case for local foods than through the voices and images of the farmers, food retailers, and eaters of the Pacific Northwest who are proving that eating local is possible and local food can be good food."
John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, Author, Sustainable Capitalism, A Return to Common Sense, Small Farms are Real Farms, and Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture
"These aren't small family farms, unless contrasted to corporate industrial operations, but family farms with a large-enough scale of production to supply retail groceries and restaurants, as well as fill farmers' markets and...CSA boxes. And we need that kind of scale to have regional food systems. Yet, consumers can still know the names of the farms and where they are, satisfying that need to connect to the land where their food is grown. I liked this film because it gives us the Pacific Northwest's system of organic, sustainable food as a model for other regions, even with the climate differences. It shows that good food depends upon good farmers, wherever they are."
Dana Jackson, Senior Program Associate, Land Stewardship Project, Coordinator, St. Croix River Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign, named 'Sustainable Woman of Agriculture 2008'
"We had been studying how dysfunctional the whole industrial food system is and the students were getting a little depressed at the prospects of ever eating well. Then they saw your movie and the tide turned for them. Good Food picks up where Broken Limbs andThe Omnivore's Dilemma leave off: with a vision as to how small farmers are already transforming the American diet as well as rural regions of America. Using case studies from Washington and Oregon, the film shows that real, local, fairly produced food is not a hope or a dream, but a reality...I used the film in my Food and the Environment class at the University of Washington and the students loved it...It may even propel some viewers to consider a career in agriculture, an unthinkable prospect for more than a generation. I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks about what she's eating or what he's feeding his family."
Michael Kucher, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, University ofWashington
"The small farmers who appear in the documentary Good Food are collaborating in the development of an alternative paradigm of agriculture, one that encourages an agriculture that is ecological, sustainable, and socially more just...By decentralizing food production we can challenge the control of the multinationals over our food system, and the agro-export model promoted by neo-liberal governments. This is the only means to halt the spiral of poverty, hunger, migration from rural areas, and environmental degradation."
Dr. Miguel A. Altieri, Professor of Agroecology, University of California, Berkeley
"Hopeful, inspirational, and celebratory...Importantly, the filmmakers include not only the efforts of farmers but also of food retailers, restaurateurs, and even a local fast food chain, to re-localize their food system."
Carmen Bain, Signs: Films for the Feminist Classroom
"A must-see...It boldly pulls the viewer into the extremely broad and complex landscape of organic food production. Incorporating health and economic impacts in an assessment of our methods of food production and consumption makes this film especially powerful."
Laura Skelton, Program Director, Facing the Future
"The film visits many of the pioneers in the movement to 're-localize' our food system and documents, first hand, the tremendous grassroots work that is being done here in the Northwest."
Mary Embleton, Executive Director, Cascade Harvest Coalition
"Not only does the film convey the ingenious methods of some of the sustainable producers, but it also shows innovative ways they are marketing their products to help sustain themselves as family farmers."
Maurice Robinette, Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network
"As we go to press, consumers in more than a dozen states are getting sick on tomatoes...This situation again sheds light on an agricultural system dominated by industrial ag and a decreasing number of family farms where livelihood is inextricably linked to the care for and quality of the crops...[Good Food] explores the benefits of operating small, organic farms by pointing to the emergence of an increasing number of small growers and local/organic-only consumers in the Pacific Northwest. Amid stunning visuals of rural Oregon and Washington landscapes, the film introduces viewers to the grain harvesters, ranchers, restaurateurs and distributors who are a part of this movement and connects us with a more sustainable and sensible way of putting good food on our tables."
"Captures the joy and creativity of the northwest's sustainable farming community, and the love they have for their work. It looks at the deep human connections created through food, both to other people and to the earth."
On Screen Magazine
"Makes the important personal connection between the source and your table."
"After watching this documentary you will be moved to cook and to eat well!"
"Excellent, straightforward...does an especially good job showing what the face of small farms and markets look like today."
"Beautiful, descriptive detail...Food may be the film's subject, but at its heart is a story about communities--the farmers, farm workers, grocers, chefs, and consumers who make up a growing social movement and are necessary to a thriving local food system...Unlike other recent documentaries about food like Food, Inc. and Super Size Me, Good Food is not meant to shock or disgust. Instead, it celebrates the honest, hard work of people who want to make a living off the land and eat well."
Eli Penberthy, Gastronomica
"While so many documentaries catalogue the errors and arrogance that contribute to the problems facing our planet, Good Food offers a celebration of those working to turn things around and make them right. The film provides a lively tour...a delectable array."
Seattle International Film Festival
"Good Food is an exciting, thoughtful and provocative movie that asks -- and answers -- the question: What could life look like if we really wanted to have healthy food for healthy communities? The film tells inspiring stories of not just what is possible, but what is really happening on the ground and in the ground to restore our farms, our health, and our families and communities."
Richard Conlin, Seattle City Council President, Co-founder, Sustainable Seattle
The DVD includes two versions of the film, the full 73-minute version and a shorter 57-minute version as well as scene selection.
The producer's website for the film
Preview trailer (YouTube)
Awards and Festivals
Seattle International Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford
Black Bear Film Festival
Skagit Human Rights Festival
Everett Women's Film Festival
John Baldwin Film Festival, Eugene, OR
Ellensburg Film Festival
Our Island, Our World Film Festival, Salt Spring Island, Canada
Far North Conservation Film Festival
Climate Change/Global Warming
Food And Nutrition
Urban and Regional Planning
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"Loaded with informative in-depth interviews with some of the leaders in this movement in Oregon and Washington, and not to mention beautiful farm and ranch scenes and many many(!) hunger-inducing moments - Good Food is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen on the issue, and is definitely worth a view (or ten...)."
La Vida Locavore
"[The film] encourages people to respond to climate change and peak oil by supporting the production of locally grown and distributed foods. Consuming more locally grown foods reduces the distance from field to plate contributing to a more sustainable food system...Good Food shows that it is possible to increase the supply of healthy, local, sustainably grown food."
Food and Nutrition Insight newsletter, Washington State Food and Nutrition Council
"Excellent documentary...making a persuasive argument in favor of supporting local agriculture, Good Food will definitely appeal to those who have read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Highly recommended."
"Tells a story of positive change...Strong and relevant, and the personal stories are compelling...Recommended for junior high through college classroom use."
Carrie M. Macfarlane, Middlebury College, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Provides a comfortable stroll around a potentially sustainable food network...Touches upon environmental and public health aspects of food security...Would be a fine choice for large Pacific Northwest libraries."
"Although set in the Pacific Northwest, the message of people reconnecting with the land is universal. For environmental studies, social studies, and economics classes."
Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, School Library Journal
"Celebrate[s] the unsung, quiet heroes who toil long and hard to feed us, and in turn nurture a rural renaissance."
Andrew Rodman, In Good Tilth