Time to relax, grab some snacks, and have a movie night.
With more lockdowns and extreme weather conditions happening this year, we have no choice but to stay home for the holiday season. But we have to look at the bright side! In one way or another, we are closer to our loved ones than ever before. Whether you’re staying indoors with your family, or catching up on weekly zoom meetings with those far away – we can all use a few uplifting documentaries to watch and talk about together.
This guide can be great for the whole family! While it’s always great to get the kids started young, there’s time to learn about some details later. These films will hopefully open up some conversation on how and where our food is produced.
Why shop local and grow your own food?
Why use traditional food practices in the kitchen and experiment with new recipes? We can travel the world and learn about sustainability and regenerative agriculture, all in the comfort of own living room.
Here’s our “New Year, New Choices” Film Guide:
1) Kiss The Ground
Kiss the Ground, a full-length documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson. The film will teach you how to become an agent in humanity’s single most important and time sensitive mission. Reverse climate change and effectively save the world—all through the choices you make in how and what to eat. Josh Tickell, one of America’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers and director of Fuel, has dedicated most of his life to saving the environment. The 2020 documentary was made after the huge success of the Kiss the Ground book, which can be found here. Through fascinating and accessible interviews with celebrity chefs, ranchers, farmers, and top scientists, this is a remarkable film for all ages. You can read our full review here.
Type: Movie | Length: 1h 24m | Where to watch: Netflix
2) Down To Earth
One of my favorite Netflix series helps bring sustainability education to everyone. Whether you’re a beginning learner, or have more advanced knowledge on food security and renewable energy – the two hosts of Down to Earth have plenty of life-altering facts for you. Actor Zac Efron and writer Darin Olien capture many viewers as they travel to seven different countries to learn about sustainability. Zac met Darin through his podcast in California, after Darin wrote “Superlife”. This series will help you gain the knowledge you need to achieve those New Year’s resolutions! You can read our full review here.
Type: Series | Length: 1 Season, 8 Episodes | Where to watch: Netflix
3) Somebody Feed Phil
What better way to celebrate the holidays than to indulge in some cultured television and learn about ancient cooking practices from all over the world. In Somebody Feed Phil, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond travels the world. Phil Rosenthal visits Montreal, Dublin, Copenhagen, London, New York, and Israel – to learn about food culture. Phil makes the audience feel like friends and shares his sense of humor, his parents, and his love for food. This show is great for the whole family! You can read our full review here.
Type: Series | Length: 4 Seasons, 22 Episodes | Where to watch: Netflix
4) A Life on Our Planet
Another David Attenborough hit! But maybe the best so far. Because the famed naturalist shows how steeply the planet’s biodiversity has diminished over his 93 years of living on this planet. Some Life On Our Planet reviews say the well-respected natural historian relays this information in a somewhat somber mood. But who best to show us the effects of climate change than those who see it firsthand? The man has traveled to every continent on the globe! The film’s material is presented in a way that’s visually pleasing, using the most advanced filming and production equipment. Overall, it’s the perfect blend of nature footage, historical facts, and future solutions. For a readable version, you can find the book on Amazon here.
Type: Movie | Length: 1h 23m | Where to watch: Netflix
Type: Movie | Length: 1h 14m | Where to watch: Here
6) Real Value
Real Value is a documentary based on true stories of companies that reached success with the idea of sustainability as the main goal. The uplifting film shows us the way that the leaders of these businesses came to the idea of not only creating profit but also wealth by serving and bringing back to the community. What’s important in our food system is variety. Variety with crops means pest resistance. Variety with our diets means less competition for resources. This movie supports individuals’ and small local entrepreneurs’ eager to give back to their community, giving us an idea on how it can bring about significant changes on a global scale.
Type: Movie | Length: 1h 10m | Where to watch: Here
7) A Simpler Way
A Simpler Way: Crisis As Opportunity. It’s the story of an Australian community that came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to a global crisis. This is an inspiring documentary with many great ideas to view on living simply. For example, creative housing solutions (tiny homes, cobb homes, etc.), gardening together, etc.
Although, the documentary is honest in that it reveals the truth behind living in a tight community and how it can affect our values, relationships, etc.
Type: Movie | Length: 1h 18m | Where to watch: Here
8) Global Child: Travel With Purpose
An uplifting travel documentary series, Global Child “Travel with Purpose” (2017) just unveiled Season 2 on Amazon Prime. Augusto Valverde uses the power of social media & the top travel sites to connect with millennials. To connect with anyone who is looking to be more conscious when they travel, really. Each episode gives life lessons unwrapped through laughter and adventure as we bring back the human (and unfiltered!) element to traveling. The series definitely has a vlog feel to it, but it’s packed with educational information that’s great for older kids and adults – and can allow us to learn and relax over break!
9) Before the Flood
Before the Flood, presented by National Geographic, features Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, traveling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. In 2006, in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore presented persuasive and compelling analyses of climate data to combat apathy about global climate change. “Before the Flood” drives Gore’s message home by introducing real-life video of several of the problems Gore warned about–problems that are occurring now. The way this message is captured makes this another film interesting for the whole family!
Type: Movie | Length: 1h 36m | Where to watch: Amazon Prime $3.99
10) Saving My Tomorrow
A short series aimed to identify with our youngest generation, Saving My Tomorrow follows children climate activists. A six-part celebration of the natural world features children’s thoughts on the environment, endangered animals and climate change. Also: readings by Alan Cumming, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Susan Sarandon, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jeffrey Wright; performances by Ziggy Marley, Elizabeth Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Karen O and They Might Be Giants; and remarks by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History. This is great for everyone, especially the little ones!
A similar educational film for kids that can be found on Amazon Prime is Living Sea (1995). The classic documentary, narrated by Meryl Streep, includes music by Sting – and is now even more breathtaking in 4K HD!
Type: Series | Length: 1 Season, 6 Episodes | Where to watch: HBO Max
Cheers to a new year and new beginnings!
And if you’re in Texas, there are some tremendous farmer markets that offer organic, fresh, seasonal produce – so you can support the Shop Local and Grow Your Own Movement.