How We Eat
Between global warming, the decimation of the local farmer, and increasing trends in obesity and related health conditions, it’s clear that our food industry has failed us. This short documentary encourages viewers to eat responsibly and consider dietary choices outside the mainstream.
Inclusion StatementWith a strong female voice guiding the film, this project focuses on female representation behind the camera. Subjects and crew members represent a vast array of age from 19 to 69 years old, as well as various types of religion, spirituality, and perspectives on nature.
About The Project
Rising on a peaceful landscape with rolling hills and yellow grass, we see cattle grazing and an elderly cowboy wading through the herd on horseback. This is Frank Fitzpatrick. He has tended his own cattle for 35 years and has built quite a business selling the grass-fed beef in Southern California. The cows are given no antibiotics, growth hormones, or grains. “They are born outside and they die outside.”
Next, Joel Robinson leads us off trail and explains what he is looking for. Sometimes he eats squirrel and root vegetables he finds, and other days picks apples overhanging in alleyways. As much as he can in Orange County, he strictly follows a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and otherwise only shops at local farmers markets.
Finally, we meet Sasha Kozorez. He hurdles across the ice in an intense game of hockey. Faster and stronger than the other players, he dominates the ice and scores goal after goal. Getting off the ice, his teammates joke that it must be all the spinach that makes him so fast. He smiles and only jokes back, saying that they could keep up if they were plant-based, too.
Sasha explains that becoming vegan was a long process for him. An ex-girlfriend introduced him to the concept and he wanted to do his part to help the environment. Now, he shops at a farmer’s market for only the best vegan ingredients having learned that a plant-based diet actually helps him on the ice and at work. Of course, he also now sees the horrors of eating mass-produced meat and could never go back to eating meat even if he wanted to.
Similarly, Joel explains that he chose this lifestyle in order to live as much as nature intended. He emphasizes local and indigenous foods in his diet based on his belief that it will not only benefit his own mental and physical health, but that of his community and environment. He often forages on his own property and stores food for the winter.
Finally, Frank sends his cattle off to slaughter in a giant, cramped truck. The slaughter is the only part of his business that scares Frank. In order to sell his beef at the farmer’s market, he must have it slaughtered at a USDA slaughterhouse, but they are infamously poorly run (archival, undercover footage plays). Originally, Frank only wanted to be a cowboy. But now, he sees how much better his cattle are for his health and wants others to be able to experience that too.
Frank’s cattle return from the slaughter house. In giant crates of raw meat, Frank unpacks each one in turn to freeze it. He leaves several out for dinner. He slowly brings the steak to sizzling heat as it cooks. He explains that he doesn’t agree with vegans and vegetarians of today, and that he eats as much meat as he can for his health. As he chomps down on his steak, Frank explains that his cattle are sustainably raised with the hopes of reversing desertification and promoting human health.
Joel prepares acorn meal and giant mushrooms for dinner with his wife and daughter. They only eat what Joel finds. Sydney is homeschooled and learns a lot from Joel about the environment and naturalism. With a wholesome, albeit strange looking, meal cooked at the outdoor kitchen, the family munches on their dinner and communally enjoy the fruits of Joel’s labor.
Finally, Sasha sautés vegetables with various spices and oils in a pan, and cooks rice in the pot next to it. It can be hard for Sasha to find the time to cook between work as a computer software engineer and practicing hockey nearly every day, but he enjoys making his own meals since he has learned so much since becoming vegan about what is important to include in his diet.
Finally, we compare all three meals. Side by side, they are ranked by cost, environmental impact, and nutritional value. Ultimately, each meal has its advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the consumer to choose what their priorities are when eating.
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About This Team
Blair is a senior News and Documentary major at Chapman University graduating in the spring with minors in Entrepreneurship and Environmental Studies. She has produced and directed three of her own short documentaries during her time at Chapman, as well as run marketing campaigns, ancillary projects, and research plans at internships with Kandoo Films, Hues of Blue Stories, and other production companies. Her passion for responsible eating comes from a love of nature and a hope to be as environmentally conscious as possible.
Director of Photography
Gabe, the cinematographer of “How We Eat”, is a sophomore film production major at Chapman and has a strong interest in the aesthetics of documentary filmmaking. He has grown a love and understanding of cameras and cinematography through shooting various short narratives, documentaries, and promotional videos both independently and through Chapman. He has shot and edited videos for clients ranging from nutritional activists to dance academy instructors, and many more.