PBS series: Food Forward

PBS series:  Food Forward

Food Forward TV, a new 13 episode, half-hour PBS series about the innovators and pioneers who are transforming the way we eat and grow our food, premieres on PBS beginning September 2014 (check local listings). Meet the “food rebels” — farmers, chefs, teachers, scientists, fishermen and ranchers — in more than 50 communities across the country as they explore new ways to help meet America’s growing food challenges. Blending personal storytelling with humor and top-notch journalism, Food Forward TV features beautiful cinematography, clever animation, cooking segments and original music videos, and offers a unique, entertaining and positive perspective on the choices we make everyday.

How did something as fundamental as food go so fundamentally wrong? Instead of nourishing us, too much of what we consume is produced in such a way that it threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink and the dirt under our feet. Food Forward TV opens the door into a new world, where pioneers and visionaries are creating viable alternatives to the social and environmental impacts of our industrial food system. Across the country, farmers, chefs, fishermen, teachers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are creating inspired but practical solutions that nourish both us and the planet. From tuna fisherman in Oregon to lunch ladies in Detroit with a whole different attitude to organic cattlemen in Georgia, Food Forward TV takes us on a tasty journey across the landscape of a new America.

“We’ve all heard what’s wrong with the way we eat,” says Greg Roden, producer and director of Food Forward TV. “Our series goes beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions from Americans striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to how and what we eat. There are a lot of positive things going on right now and we want to capture and share those stories.”

Nominated for the James Beard Award, the pilot for Food Forward TV, “Urban Agriculture Across

America,” premiered on PBS in 2012. Food Forward TV is presented by Chipotle, Applegate, ClifBar, Lundberg Family Farms and Annie’s Homegrown.

Food Forward TV will be available for streaming online at pbs.org/foodforward as of September 1 and on DVD through PBS.org/shop.

Episode 1: “Go Fish!”

Set sail with a different breed of fishermen who make their living on the water while treading lightly upon it. Meet old school fishermen in the Pacific Northwest who are reviving the tuna industry, young fishermen (and women) creating Community Supported Fisheries along the Eastern seaboard and the next generation of fish farmers in Western Massachusetts.

Episode 2: “The Meat of the Matter”

Cheap meat is actually quite costly, taking its toll on America’s health and the environment. The good news is that it’s now possible to have your steak and eat it too. Meet a new breed of ranchers who are leading the red meat revolution by returning to traditional styles of raising cattle. Iowan bison ranchers, Georgian cattlemen and Californian cowgirls all have one thing in common — grass.

Episode 3: “Seeds of Change”

Seeds represent hope, a new beginning. Amid battles over GMO crops and monocultures that dominate American farmlands, seed savers are pursuing grassroots alternatives. From the dry deserts of Arizona to corn and soybean growers in Iowa and Illinois, genetic diversity does matter and the roots of change are taking hold.

Episode 4: SOS: “Save Our Soil”

The top six inches of soil are the most precious and least understood ecosystem on earth — yet we continue to treat soil like dirt. Get down and dirty with large-scale Midwestern composters, California carbon farmers reversing climate change and a West Virginia poultry farmer creating ‘biochar’ from chicken poop. Explore new frontiers beneath our feet that just might save our soil.

Episode 5: “Modern Milk”

American dairy is undergoing a renaissance. A cottage industry of dairy farmers, cheesemakers and creameries are creating delicious alternatives to industrial milk. Meet West Coast raw milk revolutionaries, Vermont cheese entrepreneurs making serious cheddar, and ice cream innovators in San Francisco and New York City.

Episode 6: “School Lunch Revival”

Meet the school lunch revivalists, who are bringing new life and healthy choices to the cafeteria.
In Detroit, one superstar lunch lady is not only serving kids healthy food but also teaching them to grow it, while in Houston, schools are joining the national “seed to plate” classroom cooking movement. And in North Carolina, a new generation of service members is connecting farmers and schools.

Episode 7: “The Future of Food”

A new breed of passionate farmers, chefs and hackers are using technological ingenuity to revamp the American food system. Tech-savvy growers fly crop-monitoring drones and one of the nation’s most prestigious culinary schools is helping a veteran find a new calling.

Episode 8: “Food (Justice) for All”

All across the country, the ways and means of America’s small farmers are evolving. Young Latino farm laborers in California’s Salinas Valley are moving up the economic ladder, training to become tomorrow’s organic farm owners. In Houston, Congolese refugees create communities around vacant urban lots. And in nearby Dallas, a struggling college commits an act of football heresy — plowing their gridiron into a garden and transforming a social need into a delicious educational opportunity.

Episode 9: “Quest for Water”

How can agriculture use less water and still grow enough food for everyone? Are we finally emerging from the water wars of the west that pitted Native American tribes and environmentalists against farmers and ranchers? Dive into solutions that some water consumers are using to protect this most precious resource in the face of drought, politics and environmental conflicts.

Episode 10: “Make Food, Not Waste”

Americans throw away one quarter of the groceries they buy each year — 34 million tons of food. But where some see garbage, others find green gold. Explore the secret life of food scraps, landfills and the people who love them. San Francisco is leading the charge in composting municipal food waste; a food bank rescues confiscated food from the Arizona Mexico border patrol and a Brooklyn bucket lady collects food scraps kitchen by kitchen.

Episode 11: “Food on the Brain”

Explore the disconnect between the belly and the brain and America’s national eating disorder. A journey to Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab unveils the psychology of consumer habits and introduces viewers to simple tips and tricks for a healthier diet, while researchers in Boulder, Colorado are mapping the human microbiome with amazing results.

Episode 12: “Wild Food, I Think I Love You”

Once upon a time, wild food was all there was. If you didn’t pick it, catch it, or kill it, you didn’t eat. That’s all changed, of course, but what have we lost in our move from the wilderness that once supported us? And what could we gain by rediscovering foraging as a source of food? Head deep into America’s backwoods to join mushroom pickers on Washington’s Olympic peninsula, charitable deer hunters in North Carolina, and road kill eaters in West Virginia.

Episode 13: “The U.S. of Agriculture”

From the Founding Farmers to the modern Farm Bill, what has 200 years of progress brought to the table? More food at lower prices for sure, but also food fights over the environment, hunger, nutrition and waste. Politicians, policy watchdogs and food experts take us on a personal tour through the history of food and agriculture in America. There’s an entry point for everyone in the conversation about how we feed ourselves.

About the Production Team

Greg Roden has worked in television and print journalism as a photographer, writer, director and producer for more than 20 years. Winner of an International Television & Video Association (ITVA) Best Documentary Award for his coverage of the Sandinista elections in Nicaragua, he has traveled near and far, searching for compelling people and their stories.

Stett Holbrook is an award-winning journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing about food. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Saveur, Eating Well and other publications. He is the editor of The Bohemian alternative weekly in Sonoma, CA.

Brian Greene has spent most of his life on both personal and professional journeys. Never comfortable staying in one place too long, he has worked on a wide variety of independent and cable media projects for clients such as the Discovery Channel and the Food Network.

Susan Haymer is an award-winning writer, director and producer who has contributed to the success of many top rated TV series that define the celebrity/lifestyle/travel/health television genre for networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, A&E, Animal Planet, Court TV, Discovery, E! Nick, OLN, Planet Green, Style, TLC and USA.

Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSzaw47COoU

David Linstrom is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer and director with more than 20 years of experience making television for PBS, National Geographic, Discovery and more. He is an omnivore who enjoys dining with the wonderful people he meets throughout the world and never backs down from a bizarre food eating challenge.

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