28 Best Food Documentaries to Watch
There is a plethora of information available about food, health and wellness – in our fast-paced world, content is everywhere. When it comes to learning more about food, where it comes from and its impact on our health, we don’t always feel like opening a book or delving into scientific studies on PubMed. This is where food documentaries come in.
The best food documentaries tell incredible stories about food and the people who grow it, educate us about what’s in our food and how we can eat to support our health, shine a light on corporate corruption and inspire us to take action.
Food documentaries can frame complex information in a more interesting and active way, especially for visual learners. As our society’s interest in food grows, so has the number of food documentaries. Today we’re sharing our 28 Best Food Documentaries to Watch. Pop some non-GMO popcorn and settle onto the couch for some fascinating, groundbreaking and life-altering viewing!
28 Best food documentaries to watch
What It’s About: Indigenous communities in the United States who are working to reclaim their land, grow ancestral foods and fight for their food sovereignty.
Why We Like It: This film showcases the incredible resilience of Indigenous cultures who are reclaiming lost knowledge and sharing it, and why it’s important to listen to them.
Into The Weeds
What It’s About: Into The Weeds chronicles the journey of groundskeeper Dwayne ‘Lee’ Johnson, who goes after Monsanto after a terminal cancer diagnosis from years of using their herbicide RoundUp.
Why We Like It: This film shows the tenacity of a single individual with the bravery to challenge an enormous corporation, and how one person can make a big difference.
Kiss The Ground
What It’s About: This lovely food documentary focuses on where food starts – the soil.
Why We Like It: Kiss the Ground illustrates how important dirt is to our health, and why regenerative farming matters.
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
What It’s About: When Joe Cross is told that there isn’t anything that can be done about his excess weight and chronic autoimmune disease, he decides to take matters into his own hands. He trades the junk food for a juicer and films his road trip across America as he drinks veggie + fruit juice for 60 days.
Why We Like It: We love this heartwarming tale of one man who doesn’t give up on his pursuit of wellness and we appreciate that this movie inspired thousands of others to turn to food to support their health.
What It’s About: This film tells the story of the California food rebellion against big agribusiness to launch the local organic food movement.
Why We Like It: We love hearing about muckrakers who are brave enough to buck the conventional system and create their own food movement that brings health, flavour and variety to our plates.
What It’s About: Food Inc exposes the deep and unknown parts of the American food system – especially factory farming – and how it impacts our health, farming and the environment.
Why We Like It: This film is disturbing and scary at times, but it lifts a veil on an industry we don’t often get to see. Consumers experience a disconnect between the food they buy at the grocery store and how it gets there – and this movie will show you the ‘how’ in an uncomfortable, yet much needed way.
The Biggest Little Farm
What It’s About: The Biggest Little Farm chronicles a city-dwelling couple with zero farming experience who move to the country and spend years building a thriving farm.
Why We Like It: This film is incredibly heartwarming, and it’s inspiring to see how biodynamic farming and respecting the connections in nature can bring the land back to life. But – it also shows the hardships, and the ups and downs, of exploring alternate ways of farming and living in harmony with your local ecosystem.
The Magic Pill
What It’s About: Can the ketogenic diet help to heal us? Doctors and other experts weigh in on this popular diet and how it may help us.
Why We Like It: We appreciate it when documentaries cover unconventional diets and shed new light on how these nutrition protocols can be effective in certain health situations.
Forks Over Knives
What It’s About: Heavily featuring the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, this film outlines how a plant-based diet can prevent and reverse many modern diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Why We Like It: We enjoyed seeing the real patient stories peppered throughout the film that invigorated our passion for plant-based cooking and eating. Vegans will love this one!
What It’s About: Genetic Roulette offers a detailed look at the health risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they’re linked to rising disease rates in America.
Why We Like It: This film is frank and honest about the dangers of GMOs and will make you carefully consider how the actions of corporations are affecting the food supply, our health and the health of the environment.
Hungry for Change
What It’s About: Ever been on a diet? You’re not alone – millions of North Americans go on one every year. Hungry for Change exposes the diet and weight loss industry and how they manipulate us to keep their industry thriving.
Why We Like It: This movie will change the way you view dieting (especially the industry’s use of addictive, sugary products) and offers practical solutions for those of you who’d like to get healthier.
Killer at Large
What It’s About: This documentary delves into the obesity problem in America and how it affects politics, culture, health and future generations.
Why We Like It: Killer at Large is an emotionally compelling film that you’ll take to heart. We appreciate that it shows that obesity isn’t just one individual’s challenge or problem – it’s something that impacts all of us.
What It’s About: Two college best friends go on a road trip to America’s heartland to learn about where their food comes from. What they discover – that everything is made from corn – shocks them.
Why We Like It: This film truly shows how ubiquitous corn is in our food system. It’s everywhere – from drinks to bread to pasta to salad dressings and more – and once you learn corn’s wide reach, you’ll spend a lot more time decoding food labels.
What It’s About: This documentary follows one man’s quest to learn more about GMOs and how they impact his children’s health.
Why We Like It: While this film isn’t as in-depth as some of the other films about GMOs, it puts a singular and relatable human face on the issue that makes us consider our own health and the health of our families.
Vanishing of the Bees
What It’s About: Bees are vanishing all over the world and this food documentary follows two beekeepers as they strive to protect their bees and raise political awareness about the problem.
Why We Like It: This film illustrates how even the smallest living things can make a grand impact on the environment and our health. We appreciate how The Vanishing of the Bees highlights the importance of bees and what they mean for our future.
What It’s About: This food documentary follows three meat and cheese lovers as they go vegan for 6 weeks and learn about factory farming, health and the environment in the process.
Why We Like It: Vegucated‘s tone alternates from comedic to serious, and the movie’s protagonists are relatable to many people on the standard North American diet. If they can change, anyone can!
What It’s About: Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations.
Why We Like It: We love the message of hope in this food documentary. All is not lost – and there are solutions and actions we can take every day to preserve our health and the health of the planet.
The Kids Menu
What It’s About: This film, made by Joe Cross of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, examines childhood obesity, our lack of knowledge about food and food insecurity.
Why We Like It: This documentary shows some pretty amazing kids who are taking the lead and becoming forces for change.
What It’s About: This four-part Netflix documentary series by Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and one of our top 50 food activists) looks at the history of food preparation and how cooking plays an enormous role in cultural tradition and connection.
Why We Like It: We like that each episode is themed on an element – fire, water, air and earth – and the cinematography in this food documentary is just stunning.
What It’s About: This alarming documentary, narrated by Katie Couric, investigates the sugar industry and the government’s complicity in the obesity and diabetes epidemics.
Why We Like It: Fed Up will make you think twice about reaching for a candy bar and will motivate you to take companies to task for their role in manipulating children and adults alike.
That Sugar Film
What It’s About: In the vein of Supersize Me, Damon Gameau embarks on an experimental diet that illustrates the impact of added sugars found in foods that are considered ‘healthy’.
Why We Like It: That Sugar Film uncovers how dangerous hidden sugars are in foods. We expect to see sugar in ice cream or cookies, but what most of us don’t realize is added sugar is found in a wide variety of foods – like dairy-free yogurt, pasta sauce, granola bars and more.
What It’s About: Rotten will open your eyes to the corruption and waste in our food system, and help you understand where your food comes from.
Why We Like It: When we know better, we can do better – in our own lives, and in our community by supporting food producers we trust.
Just Eat It
What It’s About: Billions of dollars worth of edible food is tossed into the trash every year by farmers, retailers and consumers. Filmmakers Jen and Grant decide to stop grocery shopping and only eat foods that would be otherwise thrown away.
Why We Like It: We love that this film shines a light on our misguided quest for ‘perfect-looking’ produce and makes us reconsider expiry dates. With so many people in North America who are hungry, food waste is a huge problem and this film inspires us to be part of the solution.
The World According To Monsanto
What It’s About: This disturbing documentary shows Monsanto’s corporate domination over farmers, governments and scientists to the detriment of our health.
Why We Like It: It’s a well-researched movie that illuminates the challenges of GMOs and the dangers of one company’s power over us all.
In Organic We Trust
What It’s About: This food documentary delves into the organic food industry, separating the truth from the hype and examining how large corporations are co-opting the organic label to boost their business.
Why We Like It: We like that this film not only examines the true meaning of organic but also highlights that organic food and nutritious food aren’t always the same thing.
What It’s About: Ingredients draws attention to the local food movements in the United States and how farmers across the country are working to strengthen and increase our connection and access to homegrown food.
Why We Like It: One person or small groups of people truly can make a difference – and this food documentary is living proof of that.
What It’s About: Filmmaker Kristin Cantry, a mom of four, examines how small-scale farmers are bullied or raided by government officials for growing and providing access to nutritious foods.
Why We Like It: This shocking documentary exposes the hypocrisy of a government that will legally allow us to eat foods that are harmful and crack down on the farmers that are growing foods that support our health.
What It’s About: This Netflix documentary series profiles world-renowned chefs and how they achieved their success.
Why We Like It: Each episode of this series will inspire you to be more creative, resourceful, entrepreneurial and never give up on your goals and dreams.
What did we miss? What are your favourite food documentaries?
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6 responses to “28 Best Food Documentaries to Watch”
You forgot one of the best Sugar movies, Sugar coated! Great one!
Don’t forget this award winning doco from down under. It’s currently screening to sold-out theatres around New Zealand! https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thebigfatlie
“What the Health” was very enjoyable.
Do you have any movies to share, which include Canada and Ireland? A colleague recommended to me the book Fast Food Nation and I read this and was appalled. I gave this book to many people and I tried to add discussion of this to our Departmental agenda with no success. I later read a book about local food movements and I forget the title. Thanks for your great work. Warmly, Frances
Farmageddon needs to be seen by everyone. It is horrific!
Hi Dr. Scully! We haven’t seen a ton of docs that specifically focus on Canada and Ireland. The National Film Board of Canada has some recommendations that you could check out: https://www.nfb.ca/playlist/edu-food-and-sustainable-agriculture/. And this doc about Canada’s North: https://firstweeat.ca/. Do let us know if you come across anything interesting!