Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Truck Farm and King Corn: Do Something Reel™ Film Festival

By Elizabeth Smith, July 1, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Elizabeth Smith

In April we proudly launched the Do Something Reel Film Festival, an online collection of provocative, character-driven films that focus on food, environmental issues and everyday people with a vision of making a world of difference. Simply put, it’s a celebration of people who understand that small steps can create big change. The Do Something Reel Film Festival continues this month with Truck Farm and King Corntwo films that will have you brainstorming ways to ensure the sustainability of our food system.

Truck Farm tells the story of a new generation of quirky urban farmers. Using green roof technology and heirloom seeds, filmmaker Ian Cheney plants a vegetable garden on the only land he has – his granddad's old pickup truck! Once this mobile garden begins to sprout, viewers are trucked across New York to see the city's funkiest urban farms and to see if the city can learn to feed itself.

Blending serious exposition with serious silliness, Truck Farm entreats viewers to ponder the future of urban farming and whether sustainability needs a dose of whimsy to be viable.

The film features chef Dan Barber, nutritionist Marion Nestle, explorer Henry Hudson and musical narration by The Fishermen Three. Peabody Award-winning King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In the film, two friends from college move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from.

With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat — and how we farm.

In addition to this month’s two documentaries, Ian Cheney's films also include The Greening of Southie and The City Dark. He was raised in New England, educated at Yale and currently runs Wicked Delicate Films in Brooklyn, New York. Aaron Woolf, a New York-based filmmaker, directed and produced King Corn, as well as produced documentaries for PBS, Sundance Channel and Discovery including Greener Grass, Dying to Leave and Beyond the Motor City.

The films are available to watch on the festival’s web site and on our Facebook page for $5.99 per viewing, through the end of the month.  A new film will be launched online on the first of each month. Prices vary by film with proceeds helping to fund two $25,000 AFI Silverdocs grants for filmmakers in the green genre. There is one viewing per purchase. Do Something Reel marks the first time these documentaries will be available to purchase and stream online, so make sure to watch them while they are available. Visit Do Something Reel’s web site for additional video, behind-the-scenes talks with filmmakers and other materials free of charge.

Plus, stay tuned for these upcoming films:

  • August: Lunch Line
  • September: The Greenhorns

Together these films address what “farming” has become and what it can be. Do you already take action to influence this evolving definition? If so, how?