Use these tips and questions to start a conversation about the story of our food.
Showing the Video
- Introduce the video by telling students its title and asking them what they think the term “nourish” means. When something is described as “nourishing,” what comes to mind? Does nourishment always come from food? What else can provide nourishment?
- Give students copies of the Nourish Notes student pages at the end of this Viewing Guide to complete as they watch the video. Let them know that Nourish is a documentary film hosted and narrated by actress Cameron Diaz.
- Show the video. Depending on your schedule and objectives, you may show the entire video at once, stop after individual video chapters for discussion, or screen the chapters over several days.
- In pairs, groups, or as a whole class, have students share some of their responses on the Nourish Notes page. Use the answer key on page 15 to check for accuracy and understanding.
Selecting from the following questions, lead a class discussion about the video and the topics raised.
- The video shows food connections between people in different countries. What are some of the ways our food is linked to people and places around the globe?
- If you were to eat only foods grown less than 150 miles from our town—like Café 150 in the video—what foods would you be able to eat? What foods would you be unable to eat? How would the seasons affect your diet?
- As food expert Anna Lappé points out in the video, since 1950 the world has lost 90 percent of the big fish living in the oceans—including species of tuna, cod, and halibut. What might this fact mean for people or for the health of ocean life?
- The video describes how the Norwegian government is building a seed bank to store seeds of all the world’s known crops. Why are they taking on this enormous task? Are there other things you think we should consider storing for future generations?
- Do you grow any of your own food? Have you ever been to a farmers’ market? Do you buy food from a CSA (community supported agriculture)? What are benefits and disadvantages of eating foods grown close to where you live?
Seed to Table
- What differences were shown between the paths from seed to table for commodity corn and the heirloom tomato? Were there any similarities?
- What is a monocrop? What are the advantages and disadvantages of monocrop farming?
- In the video, Michael Pollan says that a burger, fries, and soda are the exact same food at one level. What does he mean by this?
- What are some of the health effects of eating fast foods? Will knowing these effects change what you choose to eat? Why or why not?
- Chef Bryant Terry says in the video that it might be worth spending 30 cents more for a pound of heirloom tomatoes, rather than cheaper monocrop tomatoes found in most grocery stores. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your reasoning.
Vote with Your Fork
- Michael Pollan says that “Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well.” What does he mean? Give examples of how food nourishes family, community, and identity.
- How does the modern Western diet differ from more traditional cultures’ diets? What are the health and environmental consequences of the Western diet?
- How do both eating foods grown closer to home and eating fewer processed foods affect the health of the environment?
- What does it mean to “vote with your fork”? What kinds of things are you voting for now through what you eat? Are you willing to change your vote by changing the food you eat? Why or why not?
Be the Difference
- Nourish suggests several ways that you can be a part of a global movement for good food. What were some of the ideas? What other ideas do you have?
- The video opens with the question, “What’s the story of your food?” What might individuals do to answer this question about the things they eat? How might knowing the answer to this question make a difference?
- Show the 3-minute short film “Nourish Means…” on the Nourish DVD, and have students write a short paragraph about one way their own idea of nourishment has expanded from watching the video.