The first food documentary I saw was "Food, Inc." which was also the first time I learned anything about the food industry. I particularly like "Food Inc" because it provides a relatively comprehensive summary of the very broad issue of food production in an easily digestible (so punny!) form that appeals to a wide variety of audiences. This is why when I organize "food parties" where I make people watch this movie with me; because it gets the important points out there in a way that won't bore people who don't necessarily have an interest in the food industry coming into the film (*cough* "The Future of Food" *cough*).
Of the six times I've seen "Food, Inc," four were "food parties" where I basically force feed (punny punny) the movie to people while providing organic snacks. The last of these viewings was actually in the lounge on my floor, which I organized with my RA. The first two times I watched "Food Inc." were within a 48 hour period of each other (I watched it once with my brother based on his recommendation, and was so amazed and intrigued that I watched it again the next day).
I would say that "Food Fight" was less informative than "Food, Inc" and geared more toward people who already have a basic understanding of and interest in food issues. I thought the cultural approach that it took to documenting the changes in food production was very interesting and entertaining. I also liked the attention they gave to farmer's markets and the things that people like Alice Waters and the organizers of inner-city community gardens are doing to bring wholesome, solar powered food to places that are normally characterized by the exact opposite type of food production.
I got the chance to see Alice Waters in the flesh this past weekend when I went to the LA Times Book Fair and watched her do an hour-long presentation where she and a fellow Chez Pannise chef prepared a couple dishes using produce from the Hollywood Farmer's Market. I admire Alice for her ability as a chef, for being the most adorable and endearing hippie on the planet, and also for her efforts to help bring the local and organic foods to school children through her Edible Schoolyard program.
In "Food Fight" I really enjoyed seeing how chefs and communities are incorporating sustainable foods into their priorities, even if it's simply because of the taste. I'm a big supporter of the idea that food is an expression of culture that should be prepared and consumed in a manner that invokes pleasure: pleasure in what you're tasting, in the company of friends and family (or just yourself), and in the magnificence of the earth's biodiversity that gave you this meal. Accordingly, I loved hearing what the founders and chefs of restaurants that share these principles had to say about why they do what they do. Also, I was particularly interested in this cultural/restaurant component because of my semi-secret desire to someday open such a restaurant with my brother.
Anyway, these films and my (one-way) encounter with Alice have gotten me very excited about making my cookbook. I'm going to start outlining recipes this weekend to see if what I have in mind for the book as a whole is acceptable and feasible from an organizational standpoint.
I also found this interesting article about the future of farmer's markets: