Who doesn’t love a good documentary? It’s important that farmers’ voices are heard and the uplifting and beautiful story of agriculture is told in a mainstream way.
Here is a list of the top films and series to watch that tell the firsthand (and truthful) story of agriculture and are accessible via platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vimeo, and YouTube:
Academy Award-winning director James Moll helms an in-depth documentary spotlighting six young ranchers and farmers and uncovering the high-risk/high-reward of farming. Nothing is off limits from organic to GMO, large farms and small.
A high-end restaurant in Toronto, Canada, called Canoe traces all of the ingredients from one dish back to the Ontario province farms where the ingredients originated from. The film is all encompassing: from organic farms to beekeeping, large cattle ranches and sunflowers — a wide array of foods and production methods! The ending of the film will leave you with “the feels.” You may even shed a tear or two over the remarkable connection you feel to the honest pride from the family farm. (Read the review here.)
Have you ever seen broccoli in the forest? In a tale of two Dutch friends, this film explains the importance of genetic modification where the pair explore how our first-world privilege may very well be harming the Earth and how farmers in the poorest countries need biotechnology the most. (Read the review here.)
A short film featuring science-based moms who share the same common goal of feeding their children without fearmongering!
A film that encourages farmers to speak up and tell their stories with messages devoted to bridging the gap between farmers and consumers. Will farmers be allowed to feed 9 billion people?
A balanced film that showcases the debate on GMOs, narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and directed by Academy Award-nominee Scott Hamilton Kennedy. The filmmakers have a deep understanding of what drives people to make decisions about their food — there are more emotional factors at play than there are rational ones. (Read more on the film here.)
In this feature film, actress Clare Danes plays a young Temple Grandin. Based on a true story, the film tells her life story growing up with autism. Grandin eventually finds her life’s work and passion lies with working cattle and is currently professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and an autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her experience of autism and is famous for her breakthrough research on cattle handling and state-of-the-art livestock processing facilities.
A crowd-funded film made by Fin and Fur productions from Montana, it depicts the journey of four young men who ride mustangs from the Mexican border up to Canada. It celebrates the American mustang as they travel through some of the most beautiful public lands in the American West.
A short film that explores bonds between mustangs and combat veterans. This documentary was created and filmed by Heroes and Horses, a program that inspires veterans to move beyond the difficulties experienced from years of war, toward a life of restoration and hope.
This drama highlights Amberley Snyder, a nationally ranked barrel racer who, at 19, barely survived a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors told her she’d never regain use or feeling again below her waist — despite that, 18 months later she was back in the saddle. (Read more on the film here.)
Cowboys is a feature-length documentary that offers the opportunity to ride alongside modern working cowboys on some of America’s largest and most remote cattle ranches while working on horseback. Narrated through the firsthand accounts from the cowboys themselves, the story is steeped in authenticity and explores the rewards and hardships of a celebrated but misunderstood way of life — along with the challenges that lie ahead for the cowboys and ranches critical to providing the world’s supply of beef.
A few honorable mentions: The Farmers Wife, Landline (Australia), Duke and the Buffalo, and Losing Ground. There are many more wonderful films out there, but these are some of the best ones I’ve come across that do a great job highlighting the real and positive story of agriculture and the farmers and ranchers who lead this industry.
Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is an Iowa-based farmer, public speaker, and writer, who lives and works with her boyfriend on their farm, which consists of row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.