Some crucial parts of the food revolution will not be televised. But these days you can watch it unfold online, and a good place to start is The Perennial Plate.
Each week for the past two years, 29-year-old filmmaker Daniel Klein has posted a new webisode of this documentary series about “adventurous and sustainable eating.” Working on a shoestring with one camera and a laptop, Klein has perfected a style of indie filmmaking that lets viewers draw their own conclusions. While some installments highlight uncontroversial topics, like the positive effects of community gardens, others show steps in the farm-to-table journey that are disturbing to watch: We meet struggling strawberry-farm laborers in California, see feral pigs trapped and shot in Texas and witness the slaughter of rabbits, chickens, squirrels, bison and dozens more creatures. Other videos boldly challenge our definition of “sustainable.” Take, for instance, the roadkill collector, the edible-insect broker and the beer-chugging Mississippians who land catfish using their hands as bait. Adventurous? No doubt. Sustainable? That’s the question Klein wants us to ask.
- Farm-to-Table: The Holistic Approach at Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley
- Sustainable Seafood
- CSA Farm-Fresh Cocktail Party
- 40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under
- What Does Eating Well Really Mean?
- Foraging: The Next Locavore Fixation
- Locavore Resources
The Perennial Plate’s first season explored Klein’s home state of Minnesota, kicking off with a video showing him killing a Thanksgiving turkey with the help of (visibly conflicted) family members. As with many of his videos, the episode is introduced with a disclaimer: “When we eat meat, animals die. If you can’t watch it happen…it may be time to reconsider dinner.”