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Bullfrog Films

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Food For Change
The Story of Cooperation in America

The deep history of cooperatives in America -- the country's longest-surviving alternative economic system.

A printer-friendly version of this page 82 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Steve Alves
Produced by Home Planet Pictures
Writer/Editor: Steve Alves
Co-Producers: Robert Allen, Andrew M. Curran
Camera: Alan Dater, Rawn Fulton, David Skillicorn, Daniel Keller
Animation & Graphics: Thom Dudley
Music: Joe Podlesny

"A fine documentary on a timely subject, this is highly recommended. * * * 1/2" Video Librarian
[Note: Community screenings of FOOD FOR CHANGE can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

FOOD FOR CHANGE looks at the current resurgence of food cooperatives in America and their unique historic place in the economic and political landscape. Born in the heartland, cooperatives are seen as the middle path between Wall Street and Socialism.

The film profiles several food co-ops that have revived neighborhoods and communities - right in the shadows of corporate agribusinesses and supermarket chains. It's an inspiring example of community-centered economies thriving in an age of globalization.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2017     Copyright Date: 2016
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-93-9

"If you want your students to understand relationships among the environment, food, economics, democracy, and government...then you want them to see this film. This is the rare, uplifting but honest film about history and possibilities; about how things are and how they might be. Today more than ever it is important for them to understand the role of politics and policy in their own lives and what they can do about it where they live."
E. Paul Durrenberger, Co-founder, The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Iowa and Penn State University

"Food for Change is about food coops as meaningful - and highly successful - alternatives to our country's current industrialized food system. It situates the cooperative movement in 20th century history and focuses on its role in social change by establishing deep roots in local communities. This film should inspire anyone interested in creating socially just, community supported, and economically viable enterprises."
Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, Author, Food Politics

"Food for Change is just the kind of nourishment our minds and hearts need right now! The documentary explains key historical moments and trends, traces the multiple roots of the cooperative food movement, and illustrates how groups and communities are taking charge of their food futures. This is an indispensable resource for people who want to understand how a cooperative vision can guide one of the most important domains of the economy and our lives."
George Cheney, Professor of Communication, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Author, Values at Work

"Food for Change is an inspiring but also hard hitting and realistic historical look at the up and down road for Co-ops in the US. It does an excellent job of conveying the broad social, economic, and environmental potential of these entities and would be a tremendous introduction and training tool for Co-op members and leaders."
Dr. Alice Ammerman, Director, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Professor of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"In a time when 'local,' 'organic,' and 'sustainable' are terms regularly used by large grocery chains to encourage an illusion of a food system customers want it is important that students know the critical - though often unnoticed - roles that co-ops have played for generations connecting consumers to farmers with democracy, honesty and transparency."
Dr. Sean Clark, Associate Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Director of Berea College Farm, Berea College

"Historic and contemporary footage, expert interviews, and archival stills offer a broader context for [the filmmaker's] comments, which position the co-op movement with a frame of democratic values that are being expressed through an economic enterprise...A fine documentary on a timely subject, this is highly recommended."
Video Librarian 3.5 stars

"An entertaining historical overview...May inspire general audience viewers to seek out their local co-op as an option...Provides some points to consider for those that might be looking to open a co-op in their own community."
Megan Romberg, Science Books and Films

"This film is absolutely a well-researched, superbly compiled and masterfully delivered work...It is an inspiring and emotionally passionate fruit of labor and compassion. It begs for sharing, opens the door to involvement and solution."
George Nelson, Farmer, Sweetbay Produce and Nursery, Huger, SC

"I felt energized by the movie. I loved all of the historical background and couldn't help feel that what we're doing will be historic someday too. The movie made me believe that we can do anything!"
Linda Balek, Steering Committee Member, Food Shed Co-op, Woodstock, IL (start-up co-op)

"Highly Recommended...A motivating work, clearly detailing the financial soundness, consideration for the environment, and community-centeredness imbued in cooperatives. This work clearly communicates the needs for a sea change in thinking in production and agriculture on the macro scale, and highlights the benefits to employees and consumers."
Michael Coffta, Educational Media Reviews Online

Select your institution type

DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
Language options:
English SDH captions and closed captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Spanish subtitles
Bonus 15-min film, TWIN CITIES STORY, about co-ops in Minneapolis/St. Paul
Scene selection

Host a community screening
The Film's Website
Excellent Discussion Guide

Awards and Festivals
East Lansing Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Friday Harbor Film Festival
Doctober Film Festival
Plaza Classic Film Festival
Niagara Integrated Film Festival

American Democracy
American Studies
Business Practices
Food And Nutrition
Labor and Work Issues
Local Economies

Related Titles

Food Coop
Looks at the workings of a highly profitable supermarket, Brooklyn's Park Slope Food Coop, which for 44 years has been a shining example of a successful alternative economic system at work.

A Silent Transformation
The transformative power of the co-operative enterprise model, illustrated with many inspirational examples.

Works For All
Since 2011 Co-op Cincy has been building an inspiring network of worker-owned cooperatives in Cincinnati to create a regional economy that works for all.

Shift Change
Investigates employee-owned businesses that provide secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces even in today's economic crisis.

Nothing Like Chocolate
The story of Mott Green and the solar-powered Grenada Chocolate Company, a farmers' and chocolate-makers' co-op, which makes organic chocolate from tree-to-bar.

Good Food
An intimate look at the farmers, ranchers, and businesses that are creating a more sustainable food system in the Pacific Northwest.

WEconomics: Italy
The first in a new series from the makers of SHIFT CHANGE, WEconomics: Italy reports on the extensive and innovative cooperative economy in the region around Bologna.

Cultivating Opportunity
Hard-pressed farmers in the southeast US and in Mozambique find co-ops work.

Making Shelter
Co-ops and co-housing provide new models for building community.

Buyer Be Fair
Looks at the benefits of fair trade goods and product certification for people and the environment.

What's the Economy for, Anyway?
Ecological economist Dave Batker questions whether GDP is an adequate measure of society's well-being and suggests workable alternatives.

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