The objective of the short documentary "Rethinking Food" was to catalyze a paradigm shift in the way society perceives and engages with the food system. The film aimed to ignite a sense of urgency, inspire action, and promote innovative solutions to address the intertwined challenges of food waste and food insecurity.
Raise Awareness: The film aimed to bring the staggering issue of food waste and food insecurity to the forefront of public consciousness. By revealing the magnitude of waste and the reality of food insecurity, it aimed to shock viewers, evoke empathy, and ignite a desire for change.
Inspire Mindset Shift: The documentary aimed to challenge conventional thinking about the food system. By showcasing the innovative "Circular Nutrition" model developed by ReFeed Farms, it sought to inspire viewers to question traditional approaches and embrace sustainable alternatives that prioritize efficiency, resourcefulness, and social impact.
Promote Sustainable Solutions: The film highlighted the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and ReFeed Farms' collaboration as a tangible example of a scalable, sustainable solution to food waste and food insecurity. It demonstrated that through strategic partnerships, innovative technologies, and regenerative practices, it's possible to reshape the food system for the benefit of both people and the planet.
Encourage Action: The overarching goal of the film was to inspire viewers to take action in their own lives and communities. It aimed to motivate individuals to reduce food waste, support local food banks and organizations, advocate for policy changes, and embrace sustainable practices in their daily lives.
Bringing the "Rethinking Food" project to life required a well-defined plan of action, meticulous execution, and a focus on key features that would make our work unique and impactful:
Concept Development: We started by conducting extensive research on food waste, food insecurity, and innovative solutions in the industry. This helped us identify key issues to address and develop a concept that would resonate with our target audience. The concept centered around showcasing the partnership between the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) and ReFeed Farms, highlighting their unique "Circular Nutrition" model.
Storytelling Approach: Often times, the issue of food waste and insecurity isn't contextualized in a way that helps the individual understand their part in the bigger picture. Because of this we felt it imperative to set this story within the larger picture of soil degredation on a global scale. We crafted a narrative that blended expert insights, personal stories, and real-world examples that brought the viewer on a journey from the macro problem to one micro solution. This approach humanized the issues and showcased the positive impact of the GVFB and ReFeed Farms collaboration. The storytelling approach aimed to evoke emotions, provoke thought, and encourage action.
Film Production: We assembled a talented team of filmmakers, producers, and experts in the field to bring the vision to life. The production process involved capturing interviews with an agricultural expert and representatives from the GVFB and ReFeed Farms. We also filmed on-site at ReFeed Farms, showcasing their unique three-level worm farm and regenerative agricultural practices.
Visual Appeal: To enhance the visual appeal and captivate viewers, we incorporated stunning visuals of vibrant produce, the process of food sorting, and the transformation of waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments. The use of 35mm film, cinematic techniques, and captivating imagery, helped convey complex ideas in an accessible and visually appealing manner.
Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles: Throughout the project, we faced several challenges that required creative problem-solving and adaptability. These included:
Access and Permissions: Gaining access to film at Simon Fraser University, and securing permissions from stakeholders involved coordination and clear communication. We overcame this challenge by demonstrating our commitment to the cause, and outlining the potential impact of the film.
Complexity of the Topic: Addressing the complex issues of food waste and food insecurity required striking a balance between providing sufficient information and keeping the narrative engaging. We overcame this challenge by collaborating closely with experts to distill complex concepts into accessible language and visually engaging storytelling.
COVID-19 Restrictions: The COVID-19 pandemic introduced limitations and disrupted schedules. We adapted by implementing strict safety protocols.
Uniqueness of Our Work: What sets "Rethinking Food" apart is our emphasis on the transformative collaboration between the GVFB and ReFeed Farms and avoidance of a "doom and gloom" tone throughout the film. By highlighting local initiatives with global implications, our work offers a blueprint for sustainable food systems worldwide. The combination of compelling storytelling, stunning imagery, and a strong call to action sets "Rethinking Food" apart as a powerful catalyst for change.
The results of our efforts in creating "Rethinking Food" have exceeded our team's objectives and can be considered a resounding success. Here's an overview of how the results have met our objectives and why we deem our efforts successful:
Awareness and Engagement: The documentary successfully raised awareness about the critical issues of food waste and food insecurity. It sparked conversations, garnered significant attention on social media platforms, and generated buzz within the community. Viewers were not only informed but also emotionally engaged, expressing their support and desire for change.
Partnerships and Collaboration: The documentary successfully fostered partnerships and collaboration within the community. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank and ReFeed Farms received increased support and recognition for their efforts. Our work facilitated new connections with stakeholders, policymakers, and organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity and sustainable food systems. The strengthened partnerships and collaboration validate the success of our efforts in fostering meaningful change.
Recognition and Awards: The recognition received through the Telly Awards further validates the success of our efforts. The film's ability to stand out among other impactful projects demonstrates its effectiveness in conveying the message and inspiring action. Most recently, the film was accepted for distribution on the Waterbear Network which has been decribed as "Netflix for Nature" by some. WaterBear says it is "the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet where viewers enjoy award-winning documentaries, enlightening short films and impactful series" with a reach of over 25 million worldwide.