Review: “Food Chains’ Will Change the Way You Eat”…
“That was the best food documentary I’ve seen yet, and I’ve seen them all!”
Those were the words of one satisfied customer as she headed out of yesterday’s debut screening of the new documentary “Food Chains” at the Prado Stadium 12 Theater in Bonita Springs, Florida. And she was not alone. The Bonita showing was sold out, as were other showings in New York, Washington DC and in theaters across the country, where audiences not only showed their appreciation with standing ovations (a rare — and gratifying — occurrence in the context of a local cineplex!), but, in several lucky cities, stuck around for upwards to 40 minutes for talks with the filmmakers and farmworkers.
It was a pretty remarkable debut for the documentary on the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food, and it was fueled, in part, by some very positive reviews around the nation. Here below are excerpts from a few of those reviews. Check them out, then get out there and see the film yourself at a theater near you!:
Mother Jones: “Food Chains” Looks at the Real Cost of Your Cheap Tomatoes
… But Food Chains isn’t just a typical tale of helpless peons getting swallowed by an oppressive system. The film, produced by Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Eva Langoria and narrated by Forest Whitaker, highlights the progress that’s been achieved. Much of the movie traces the arduous and ultimately triumphant push by Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers. After years of organizing, the CIW convinced consumers and companies to pay a “penny-per-pound” premium to tomato pickers and established a code of conduct that bans on-the-job harassment and unpaid labor.
Since 2011, national brands like Burger King and Subway have signed on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program. In January, Walmart joined. And last month, a “Fair Food” label debuted on tomatoes in Whole Foods. Ninety percent of tomato pickers in Florida now benefit from the program. In a state once deemed “ground zero for modern-day slavery,” the CIW reports finding no incidents of forced labor since the program’s inception. So far, buyers have funneled $15 million into the Fair Food Program through the premium, which shows up as a bonus on each worker’s paycheck. “The fact that the CIW was able to create this program in the most hostile environment for farm workers in the US shows me that it’s a model,” says Rawal. “If it works in Florida, it can work anywhere else.” read more
Inc.: ‘Food Chains’ Will Change the Way You Eat: The Eva Longoria-produced documentary serves up an indictment of the U.S. agricultural system
Who is responsible for paying America’s farmworkers a fair wage, the farmers that employ them or the corporations who control pricing all the way down to the bottom of the supply chain?
That is the question posed by Food Chains, a documentary about the immigrant farmworkers who toil in America’s tomato fields earning slightly more than a penny per pound of fruit picked. The movie, which opens Friday, is in many ways a protest film for executive producers Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation.” Food Chains is the first feature film for director Sanjay Rawal, who previously ran an agricultural genetics company while working in the nonprofit and government sectors.
Creative Loafing (Tampa): A penny more: Food Chains film highlights CIW, farmworker justice
Around this time 54 years ago, broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow revealed the plight of U.S. farmworkers in his celebrated documentary Harvest of Shame.
And now, a new film titled Food Chains will do the same, premiering 8 p.m. Friday at Tampa’s AMC Veterans 24. The showing is just one of more than 25 across the country.
The documentary — directed by Sanjay Rawal, and co-produced by actress Eva Longoria and journalist Eric Schlosser — revolves around the Fair Food Program, a successful human rights campaign founded by a group of Florida-based farmworkers known as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
In April, CIW member Lupe Gonzalo hosted a talk at downtown St. Pete’s Florida Holocaust Museum, citing her experiences in the state’s tomato fields before the Fair Food Program’s inception.
Gonzalo’s account included spending 10-hour workdays hunched over a bucket trying to meet unreasonable quotas, the constant threat of sexual assault and unfair wages that kept most workers in poverty.
Food Chains, shot primarily in the Interstate-4 corridor, depicts how members like Gonzalo helped develop the program, which establishes legally binding contracts with produce growers and buyers to improve working conditions and wages, and also requires that participating companies’ practices are monitored.
Doing so ensures “their commitments translate into verifiable reforms,” according to the program’s website… read more
We’ll have more reviews and reports from the film’s first weekend on Monday. To find a theater near you, head over to the Food Chains website now!