About 70% of the food we eat contains genetically engineered ingredients and the biotech industry is spending millions a year to convince us that this technology is our only hope. Using hilarious and disturbing archival footage and featuring interviews with farmers, scientists, government officials and activists, FED UP! presents an entertaining and compelling overview of our current food production system from the Green Revolution to the Biotech Revolution and what we can do about it. FED UP! answers many questions regarding genetic engineering, the Green Revolution, genetic pollution and modern pesticides through interviews with Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey from the Center for Ethics and Toxics, Peter Rosset and Anuradha Mittal from Food First, Vandana Shiva from the Research Center for Science, Technology and Ecology, Ignacio Chapela from UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Martina McGloughlin, Director of University of California Davis' Biotechnology Program and many others. It also introduces us to local Bay Area organic farmers from Purisima Greens Farm and the Live Power Community Farm, presenting community supported agriculture (CSA) and small-scale organic farming as real alternatives to agribusiness and industrial food.
Cast & Crew
- James Ficklin
- Mary Jones
- A. Mark Liiv
- Helen Prince
- Angelo Sacerdote
- Ron Smith
- Don Starnes
- Crazy Jeff Taylor
- Awards & Accolades
- Best of Festival Documentary Berkeley Film and Video Festival 2002
Reviews(see the best reviews)
This country has some problems. For instance, a high rate of unemployment, a high rate of obesity and heart disease, overuse of oil in order to transport food, and high taxes. All of these can be addressed by moving away from massively-subsidized, corporate farming, and returning to small farming with large biodiversity. What this country doesn't have a problem with is overpopulation or the threat of corporate farms going out of business if they don't continue receiving government subsidies.
This film reminds me of a lot of things that genuinely bother me. For instance, if genetically engineered corn "drifts" onto your farm because of the wind (at this point, there's no stopping the spread of genetically engineered food by drift), the company responsible for producing that farm can sue you for intellectual property violations. I'm bothered that so many people who are paid by the agricultural industry are also working in the government to define policy (the wolf is the one guarding the chicken coop). It irritates me that the FDA and EPA have washed their hands of trying to regulate genetically engineered food, and yet the FDA wants to regulate Cherrios because the box says that eating Cherrios can reduce your cholesterol. Another thing that irritates me is that they found a strain of corn that acts as a spermicide, and given how far and wide the overpopulation myth has spread, I'm certain there are some people in government positions who secretly think feeding such corn to various populations is a good idea.
My knowledge of agricultural methods is small. I personally don't know how much of this fiasco concerning genetic engineering is just FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). The film is definitely against genetic engineering, and in favor of "community supported agriculture". However, despite the obvious bias, the film gives enough of the opposing viewpoint to be useful--it's not completely one-sided. Hence, I don't know if the genetic engineering business is just a bunch of FUD, but I do know I'd like to see more biodiversity, a healthier diet, and a whole new class of small farmers who grow food close to where it's eaten. As I said earlier, this solves a lot of problems all at the same time.
The film had a lot of good information. That being said, it was not well organized. It jumped around and didn't have a cohesive thread that you could follow easily. There were a lot of ADHD moments with the rapid clips of old 50's style education/propaganda films. If you are not already knowledgeable about genetic engineering in agriculture, you may end up a bit confused in the end.
The end of the film was basically an ad campaign for small local farms. This is not a bad thing. I really like the idea of keeping the small, local farmer in business. There was so much more that the film could have touched on in the way of sustainable alternatives though. Overall, the film seemed to start a thought and then go off track without coming to a point on that original thought. It would pick the thought up later in a tangent of some other topic. There was a flow to the information but it was very disjointed. GMO's are a very interesting topic. I'd recommend reading up on them before viewing this film so you don't leave scratching your head.
As interested as I am in the topic of GMO foods/pesticides and organic farming, I became too frustrated with the disjointed, random way the information was presented in this film to watch it in its entirety. I only made it 15 minutes in... perhaps it gets better and comes together later, but I wasn't willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.