California — always a fascinating marriage of opposite extremes — is at a cross-roads in agriculture. Many Californians are struggling to fend off overdevelopment and the loss of farming lands and traditions while embracing innovative visions of agricultural sustainability. At the same time, California is where fast food was born and a center of the biotechnology industry and large corporate agribusiness. The debates raging in California over issues of food, agriculture, and sustainability have profound implications for all of America, especially in a world where scarcity is the norm and many natural resources are diminishing.
This fascinating documentary explores the intersection of food and politics in California over the last 30 years. It illuminates the complex forces struggling for control of the future of California’s agriculture, and provides provocative commentary by a wide array of eloquent farmers, prominent chefs, and noted authors and scientists. The film examines a host of thorny questions: What are the trade-offs between the ability to produce large quantities of food versus the health of workers, consumers, and the planet? What are the hidden costs of “inexpensive” food? How do we create sustainable agricultural practices?
Through the “window” of food and agriculture, Ripe for Change reveals two parallel yet contrasting views of our world. One holds that large-scale agriculture, genetic engineering, and technology promise a hunger-less future. The other calls for a more organic, sustainable, and locally focused style of farming that reclaims the aesthetic and nurturing qualities of food and considers the impact of agriculture on the environment, on communities, and on workers. Ripe for Change was directed by award-winning filmmaker Emiko Omori.