Emily Gordon

Future Food: Fiction or Reality

Academic Abstract

At present, a relatively small number of corporations and individuals control the majority of the world’s food cultivation, manufacturing and distribution. The number of different species we eat globally is decreasing, while the number of food products is increasing dramatically. Essentially, we can eat when and where we like and we do not have to participate in food production or even its preparation in order to do so. However, all this convenience has come with a cultural cost, a cost to our knowledge and community, to our family, to our health and ultimately to our connection with food. To effectively re-establish a connection with our food supply it must be once more dragged into the public consciousness. This requires more than simply a discussion amongst interested parties and activists; it requires the embedding of food issues within the fabric of our everyday lives, within our popular culture. To do this it is necessary to reach beyond traditional boundaries and include fictional entertainment, of all types in the processes of science communication. This thesis is about disconnection from food and the part that science communication can play in restoring it. The thesis is broken into two parts. The first part is a written component that uses futuristic science fiction film as an example of how science communication can address past, present and future food concerns. Disconnection from food is damaging our culture, environment and health. The problem is complex and multilayered, affecting everything from economics to health, however this thesis discusses what I consider the three main elements behind this disconnection (namely loss of food control, lack of knowledge regarding food content and a fading food culture). I examine specifically how science communication, in the form of fictional film, addresses these concerns. The second thesis component is a 25-minute documentary film, produced in response to a segment about pig farming that appeared on Television New Zealand in May 2009. Three Little Pigs: A Curly Tale, which uses a semi-fictional storyline to help actively engage the audience and communicate the problem of disconnection between food production and society.

Creative component

Emily worked with George Dawes to create a film investigating where our food comes from, focused on the New Zealand Pork Industry.

Synopsis: Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, lived three little pigs…

The first pig was Frank; he lived on a high intensity indoor farm.  The second was Sal; she lived on a free-range outdoor farm in Canterbury.  And finally, there was Chubby, the third little pig.  Chubby had it good, he lived in David’s backyard by the beach. Even though our three little pigs live three very different lives they are all destined for the same place.  The dinner table.

 When comedian Mike King turned on the industry he once promoted, pig farming in New Zealand has became a hot debate.  Three Little Pigs attempts to unearth the controversy behind our bacon and shed light on the food we eat. This is a film about the pork and the animals it comes from.  But most importantly this is film about you and me and what’s on our dinner table.

Visit their web site: http://threelittlepigsfilm.com/Three_Little_Pigs_3A_A_Curly_Tale/Welcome.html