Thursday, April 19, 2012

Documentary Review; Dive!

I love watching documentaries, especially ones about food, but few of them leave you feeling energized and capable of doing something about the situation they just portrayed. Dive! (available on Netflix) is different. It is a fantastic documentary revealing the billions of pounds of food that we waste as a country, the terrible unbalancing effect on people of throwing it away, but also the potential for good that food has and what we can do with it.

It starts off by following the film maker and some of his friends dumpster diving. This is the only negative critique I have of this movie; that the very beginning might throw some people off. A guy in speedos jumping into a dumpster? I cringed even on the second watch through. If you can get past that scene though, the movie goes on to explain why and how people dumpster dive for food, why that food is in the dumpster in the first place, and some basic food safety regarding eating food that is past the sell by date throughout the film.

Interesting note, in England, food has both a sell by date and an expiration date. Both are cautious estimates of course, but the separate expiration date can be useful to have.

The statistics are just mind boggling. If there was ever a documentary to convince someone that increased food production will not feed the world, this is it. It is also eye opening to realize just how many Americans are going hungry, when there is so much wealth in the country as a whole.

I was raised to always clear my plate; "waste not want not," but upon entering the United States I quickly found that I physically couldn't continue to do this, especially at other people's houses. When I did, my waistline expanded as my health shrunk, and I am still paying the price for that. But throwing that much food away really desensitizes you to the value of it; monetarily, emotionally and spiritually. Dive! really helped bring it back into perspective, reminding me of the importance of not letting our history and especially the world wars be forgotten, and showed me yet more ways that food, our humanity and our basic human rights are connected.

It ends on a very positive note, and directs you to the website, Dive! The Film for resources on what you can do to help bring about change. When you get there, it gives you a good overview of what you need to know, with some links towards more information. I think this could be a little more fleshed out with perhaps a beginners guide to food safety, but it is nothing a little extra reading won't fix.

I would rate this movie as 4.5 stars. If you care about equality, sustainability or food in any way, you must watch this movie! I am personally on my second viewing and will probably watch it a third time soon.

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