I saw the documentary, Food, Inc. (2008) and had the opportunity to meet and interview the writer/director/producer, Robert Kenner here in Austin at the time. I recall how I felt so strongly about the topic of our food and how the situation then was affecting so many people. When I heard A Place at the Table was created by some of the same filmmakers, Diane Weyermann is Executive Producer in both, I attended the film screening with anticipation. I did not think the topic of food and the lack of it for so many people, especially children, would drive me to tears, but it did one hour into the film. It is not so much tears of sadness, but anger that swelled up as I came to the realization that some children may not even know what a banana tastes like because they live in a “food desert.” These are areas in the US where truck drivers do not deliver because the town is not on the way to the next town where a delivery of food is to be made. The decision of where to deliver food is made by the food companies and it comes down to what is best for their economic benefit. Everyone should see this film, but sadly, I know some people tend to shy away from documentaries. This film directed and produced by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush is one not to be ignored.
The film includes some very well known celebrities, actor Jeff Bridges and chef Tom Colicchio, as well as a broad range of other people who speak eloquently and passionately about the food insecurity and the obesity issues that America faces today; Mariana Chilton, Ken Cook, Barbie Izquierdo, James McGovern, Marion Nestle, Raj Patel and Janet Poppendieck.
Izquierdo is a single mother with two children and we see her journey to keep food on the table and the challenges she faces living in an urban setting in Philadelphia. Even after she acquires a full time job, she is back at worrying how she is going to feed her family. It is heartbreaking to hear the story from one who is at work, yet still has difficulties with food insecurity. She is one of “49 million people in the U.S. – one in four children”
. Two other subjects in the film are two second graders; Rosie (Colorado) and Tremonica (Mississippi), who live vastly different lives but suffer from the same food issues of not eating an adequate meal.
Learn from viewing A Place at the Table how lack of food has so many other implications on the nation; not just individuals. What seemed to have been taken care of in the 1970s has grown to serious problems for many. We have to continue to address this problem, as it is not going away and the filmmakers do a fine job of providing data to be a call of action that is sadly overdue.