There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved — all within the borders of the United States.
Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger — earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this.
The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida — the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW — who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed — to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.
“Food Chains is the kind of film I've been waiting to teach from - it helps students think not only about what's wrong with the food system, but how organizing for social change can help fix it. I know that students will come away moved, curious for more, and hungry for change - whose classroom could ask for more?”—Raj Patel, Research Professor, Lyndon B Johnson, School of Public Affairs, UT Austin, Author of "Stuffed and Starved"
“No documentary on the modern food system does a better job of putting farmworkers' struggles for social justice into the broad context of 21st-century capitalism. Food Chains explores the darkest corners of America's agricultural landscape, showing how an inspiring coalition of workers, farmers, and consumers are bending corporate might to fight for dignity in American farm fields. This is exactly the sort of provocative, well-researched film I've been wanting to use in my Food and Power course for years.”—Shane Hamilton, Associate Professor, History Department, University of Georgia