Books and films on food issues continue to generate public concern and misunderstanding of food, where it comes from and how people will continue to feed themselves in the coming years, according to a panel discussion titled "A Filmmaker's Perspective: FutureFood 2050 Panel Discussion" at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) recent annual meeting & food expo in New Orleans, La.
"There couldn't be a more universal subject than food," said Scott Hamilton Kennedy, a documentary director and Academy Award nominee. "It's also a controversial subject, and I am so excited to tell this story."
Kennedy will be working with IFT to produce a new documentary that highlights challenges faced in helping the public understand food issues while also sharing a vision for the future of food on Earth.
FutureFood 2050 is a new initiative from IFT created to increase a dialogue on food issues by highlighting stories in writing and a documentary film. FutureFood 2050 features scientists, prominent figures, influencers and personalities, in both the food world and beyond, who are working to sustainably feed a growing world population, expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.
FutureFood 2050 will highlight individuals who are "contributing in an impactful way" to solving the challenge of feeding a growing planet, said Josh Schonwald, contributing editor to FutureFood 2050, and author of "Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food," who participated in the panel.
"Each month, there is a theme that we will be exploring and highlighting through three and four pioneers in food technology," Schonwald said. For example, in June, the FutureFood 2050 website features profiles on scientists and entrepreneurs working to tackle the issue of food waste.
"The next series will focus on how technology and science is being used in Africa to bring food to the developing world," he added.
"I truly feel that this film has tremendous potential and societal benefit," Schonwald said. "The unfortunate reality is that there are many, many well-intended people who care about the environment, who care about nutritious food and who care about the developing world, and yet they have a reflexively negative view of science and technology."
These viewpoints, which can be magnified on social media, are "impeding" scientists from dealing with the issues, opportunities and solutions surrounding increased food production and sustainability.
"We are not going to change people's perception with one story or 10 stories, it has to be a lengthy conversation," Schonwald said.
"I like science because it helps me get clarity in a complicated world," said Kennedy, who has been writing, producing and directing both fiction and non-fiction documentaries and television shows for nearly 25 years. The food scientists interviewed for the film "are humble, hard working and (they provide) a voice you haven't heard before," he explained.
Kennedy said he and his crew will travel the world to capture the latest food technologies and the people who are working to feed the world. He said the film will use "honesty, clarity, humility and a sense of humor" to shed new light on food solutions and technology.