A documentary telling the story of the history of food co-operatives in the US is currently being made.
The film, called ‘Food for Change’, is being directed by award winning director Steve Alves who previously directed Talking to the Wall: The Story of an American Bargain and Together in Time.
‘Food for Change’ began life as a short film Steve had been asked to make about the Franklin Community Co-op, of which he is a member.
While researching the project he was inspired by the co-op movement and wanted to tell the story of it’s struggles in the US. He presented a 76 minute rough cut of the film to his co-op and their funding became the seed to help create a bigger film.
He explained that though he was a member of a food corporative, he was not an active member of the movement. The film has changed this: “working on this project has opened a new area of knowledge for me. I am much more invested in the success of the cooperative movement now.”
The film looks at three areas that are particularly important in the co-op era; the time following the the growth of co-ops after the Great Depression and WWII, the re-emergence of co-ops in the 1960s and present day co-ops.
Steve said he learnt a lot about the co-op movement while making the film. He explained that it is clear that industry consolidation and advertisement-driven consumerism managed to stifle the growth of co-ops, but despite this the model endured.
He added: “Co-ops are again ripe for expansion, and all signs this time seem to point to a better outcome. Consumers across the country are opting more and more for healthy choices in their diets and awareness of food supply.”
Steve is currently in the middle of creating the film. He said that mostly he wants people to enjoy the story of the film and to see co-ops’ place in history, “I hope the film will assist in that decision-making process and make a difference by educating members and employees what they are a part of.
“I feel confident that the act of telling a narrative with co-ops in a larger historical context will elevate co-ops in the public’s consciousness.”
Co-operatives are being asked to help sponsor the film. Already 90 co-ops, foundations and small businesses have made contributions to the project.
• For more information, visit: www.foodforchange.coop