Film Club: global poverty and food production

  • Film Club: global poverty and food production

​Did you know that our planet produces enough food for everyone, yet there are almost a billion hungry people worldwide – that’s almost 1 in 7? And that it’s not just drought, famine or a bad harvest, but a whole host of interlinked factors, such as climate change, land grabs, food price spikes and intensive farming, which are causing people to go hungry?

To tie in with World Food Day on October 16th the education charity FILMCLUB has put together a thought provoking film season and teaching guide that members can download free from – and has highlighted three of the films, with discussion points and review starters, especially for TS readers.

The charity is also supporting Oxfam’s Grow campaign – which aims to work with people all over the world to help fix the broken food system – and has joined forces to host a live webcast about the issues surrounding global food production. Tune in on September 26th at 3.30pm at

Watching, discussing and reviewing quality films is a great way to promote discussion about a host of complex issues. To make it easier to pick the right one, titles on the FILMCLUB website are grouped by topic, and many come with an associated teaching guide. Look out for FILMCLUB Live! too – a series of themed webcasts during which members are invited to email or tweet questions to creative professionals, such as writer Nick Hornby, actor Tom Felton, director Kevin Macdonald and IMDB Founder Col Needham.

FILMCLUB Recommends…

Grow Your Own (2007) (PG)

Bittersweet comedy and parable about how we welcome people into our communities

Discussion points:

1. What is an allotment? Give some reasons why the characters in the film go there. Have you ever grown your own food in a garden or allotment at home or school? What was it like?

2. How does Big John feel about the new members of the allotment? Do the others agree?

3. Does tending their allotments and growing food bring the characters closer together? How is Kung Sang transformed by his experiences at the allotment?

Review starter

This film really makes you think about what the concept of ownership really means and the responsibilities it entails…

Our Daily Bread (2005) (12)

A close, disturbing look at the ways the food we eat is reared or grown, harvested or killed, and then finally packaged for sale.

Discussion points:

1. What were the food growing environments like? Were they as you imagined? Which do you remember and why?

2. Why do you think there was no commentary with the film? Why were the shots in the film so long?

3. What alternatives are there to industrialised farming like that shown in the film?

Review starter

This at times disturbing documentary gives a shocking portrait of the way food makes it to our plates…

Black Gold (2006) (U)

Documentary tracing coffee beans’ origins from Ethiopia to western frappuccino cups and the like, showing the exploitation of developing nations.

Discussion points:

1. What do you think ‘Black Gold’ means? What are the different countries shown in the film? How do they differ?

2. What job does Tadessa do? How does he make a difference to the community in and around Kilenso Mokonisa, Ethiopia?

3. What is the difference between trade and aid? Which would make the most difference to the economic development of Africa?

Review starter

Black Gold is a film that makes you realise the human stories and suffering that can be behind something as simple as a cup of coffee…

Take it further

For free access to these and thousands of other fantastic films for students to watch, discuss and review why not start a FREE film club in your school or college now? To register – and find out what other benefits membership entails – visit, email or call 0207 288 4520.