All food comes with a cost, not just in terms of dollars and cents, but also who and what is sacrificed to produce it. And after watching “Food Exposed,” you’ll have a better idea what that is.
Premiering Tuesday, March 27, on Fusion, the eight-part documentary series presents an eye-opening look at the most pertinent issues affecting food production and examines what the true costs are for farmers, workers and the environment. Hosted by British journalist Nelufar Hedayat (“The Traffickers”), the series covers topics such as dairy, fish, water, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), superfoods, palm oil and pork and features interviews with celebrity activists James Cromwell, Nicole Richie, Jordana Brewster, Dominic Monaghan and Moby.
“I was absolutely engrossed in the whole idea of food and where it comes from and about what it costs people and the planet,” Hedayat says. “And that was my main thing … like, what am I doing? This was a thing that I do ritualistically. I eat more than I’ve ever prayed. … And yet I eat and I have my rituals around food religiously. You know, the gatherings, the parties. We do it all the time. … And I thought this is something that everyone’s going to want to talk about and learn.”
The opening episode, “Waste,” is an attention-getter. Here, Hedayat goes on a “trash tour” of New York’s Greenwich Village, where a group of activists called “freegans” find perfectly edible baked goods, fruits, vegetables and even sushi in restaurant and market garbage cans and dumpsters, their only sin being they’ve outlived their “sell by” date.
And it is here where the cost comes into focus, in terms of the land, water and energy needed to produce the food and then on the back end, the methane (a greenhouse gas) that is emitted when it rots in a landfill, thus contributing to climate change.
“The one thing I was kind of haunted with at the end of that trash tour,” Hedayat says, “is this idea that waste is absolutely built into the system. Standing there holding those warm, delicious cookies having just been chucked out, I realized that money, value – all these things are arbitrary, and it’s up to us what we value and we just do not value things the way that we would like to.
“Everyone always wants to aspire to the highest level,” she continues, “where we have to do so much better with something like food, because the amount we throw away is terrible. Of course, no one wants to do it, no one willingly does it. But the cumulative effect is so gargantuan that unless we really figure out ways around it, we’re not going to be able to continue in this way.”