New film examines Venezuela’s food revolution

This film premiered at the Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne, Australia, last week. Highly recommended.

Growing Change: A Journey into Venezuela’s Food Revolution follows filmmaker Simon Cunich‘s journey to understand why current food systems leave hundreds of millions of people in hunger. It’s a journey to understand how the world will feed itself in the future in the face of major environmental challenges.

The documentary begins with an investigation of the 2008 global food crisis, looking at the long-term underlying causes. Will expanding large-scale, energy-intensive agriculture be the solution? If we already produce enough food to feed the world, why do so many people go hungry?

After hearing about efforts in Venezuela to develop a more equitable and sustainable food and agriculture system, Cunich heads there to see if it’s working and to find out what we might learn from this giant experiment.

He meets people in the cities and in the countryside and learns that while Venezuela once had a strong agriculture sector it was left behind as the country became a major oil exporting economy in the 20th century. After decades of urbanisation, government neglect of agriculture and dependence on food imports, Venezuela faced a food crisis of its own. In many ways the country was a microcosm of the challenges facing much of the world today.

The documentary takes us through a new food system as it’s being constructed, almost from scratch.

Cunich meets farmers who are gaining access to land for the first time and working in cooperatives to break the country’s reliance on imports. In lush costal villages he meets cocoa producers who are now protected against being paid below the minumum price and are now involved in the local processing of chocolate rather than just exporting raw beans.

He heads out to sea with fisherfolk who are benefitting from new regulations that ban industrial trawling. In the chaotic metropolis of Caracas urban gardens are thriving and supplementing diets with fresh organic produce. The urban poor have access to affordable food in government-sponsored shops.

It’s all part of a countrywide process towards “food sovereignty”, driven by communities and the revolutionary government. At the core of the process are principles of social justice and sustainability.

Growing Change: A Journey into Venezuela’s Food Revolution is an inspirational story full of lively characters, thought provoking insights, stunning scenery and ideas to transform the food system.

About the filmmaker

Simon Cunich is a documentary filmmaker and freelance video producer based in Sydney, Australia. He directed, shot and edited Growing Change.

Simon has a passion for telling stories through documentary that can contribute to creating a just and sustainable future.  He is currently completing a graduate certificate in documentary at the Australian, Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and is working on a documentary about circus troupe that toured schools in the Himalayas of Nepal in 2011.

Simon’s work includes documentaries, short films and educational and promotional videos for NGOs. He can be contacted at simon.cunich@gmail.com.

Order the film

Growing Change: A Journey into Venezuela’s Food Revolution  is available for purchase now. Click on the “Get a copy” tab at http://www.growingchange.com.au/ or email growingchangefilm@gmail.com.

Posted in Food and Farming, Latin America, Video, audio
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