In a world increasingly pressed for solutions to feed the ever-growing population, the fields of agriculture are not just sown with seeds, but with innovation. From drone-monitored crops to digitally-tuned irrigation systems and satellite monitoring, modern technological advances in agriculture are shaping the future of farming.
As captivating as these advances are, their stories, intricacies, and impacts are best captured through the lenses of documentary filmmakers. These films not only reveal the breathtaking strides made in the realm of agriculture, but also pose critical questions about the consequences, ethics, and sustainability of such advancements.
We’ve created our own list of documentaries that delve deep into new agricultural technology, exploring the profound bond between technological innovations and the ever-evolving world of agriculture.
Table of Contents
Before The Flood (2016)
In 2016, the documentary “Before the Flood,” produced by Fisher Stevens and voiced by Leonardo DiCaprio, provided an unfiltered look into climate change. This film not only captivated viewers with its frank portrayal of environmental challenges but also encouraged deeper exploration.
“Before the Flood” is inseparable from its main advocate, Leonardo DiCaprio. As a UN Messenger of Peace, he speaks to global figures, scientists, and those affected by climate change, presenting the crisis in a relatable light.
DiCaprio also addresses the misinformation propagated by influential climate change deniers. The documentary, while highlighting the severe threats, also emphasizes innovation. It showcases renewable energy solutions, from Denmark’s wind turbines to China’s solar fields, illustrating global transformative potential. Besides, it also briefly discusses how advanced agriculture technologies are employed to track deforestation and increase farming efficiency and sustainability.
Yet, it’s not solely about technology. The film delves into the economic and societal aspects of green solutions, emphasizing the importance of governmental backing. While technology provides hope, broader systemic changes – from policy to cultural shifts – are essential. “Before the Flood” offers a holistic perspective on technological roles in climate action.
Living Soil (2018)
Soils are the bedrock of food production, accounting for 95% of our food sources. They play multifaceted roles: from purifying water and storing carbon to fostering rich biodiversity. By 2060, the demand on soils is set to match the total food consumed in the previous 500 years. Yet, the health of these soils is at risk due to unsustainable agricultural practices. The repercussions? A staggering annual loss of $85 billion in the US, attributed to soil erosion and degradation.
“Living Soil” unfolds the narrative of the soil’s essential role on our planet. Produced by Chelsea Myers of Tiny Attic Productions, this documentary is a video journey across the US, highlighting the collaborative efforts of farmers, researchers, and policymakers united in their goal to safeguard our precious soils. Viewers are transported from Oregon’s green expanses and sunlit Californian terrains to the Midwest’s sprawling farmlands and the vibrant coastal zones of the Chesapeake Bay.
Chicago-based filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher have produced “Sustainable,” a documentary spotlighting the American food system, advances in agricultural technology, and the sustainable agriculture movement. It provides insights from farmers, chefs, and advocates on how this movement can transform our relationship with food, enhance land health, and fortify community ties.
Drones, Robots, And Super Sperm – The Future Of Farming (2019)
The agriculture industry is embracing the next evolution with advanced farming technology playing a pivotal role. “Smart farming” isn’t just a buzzword; it represents a revolution characterized by digital tools such as unmanned tractors, drones, and genetically enhanced livestock, all aimed at maximizing farming efficiency.
This documentary ventures into Germany’s “smart farming” landscape, spotlighting three pioneering farmers. Johanna Schendel, a breeding consultant, showcases the science behind producing optimized dairy cows. Heiner Bartels, an asparagus farmer, leverages smart technology via his smartphone to pinpoint the ideal harvest time.
Meanwhile, Bernd Meyer, a drone operator, combats pests aerially in maize fields employing cutting-edge solutions. This film elucidates the convergence of technology and nature in modern agriculture.
Delmarva And The Ground For Change (2022)
The documentary “Delmarva and the Ground for Change,” produced by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, delves into soil health practices and the integration of advanced technologies in agriculture. It chronicles the journey of three family-run farms on the Delmarva Peninsula, spanning Delaware and Maryland, that have implemented measures to bolster soil health.
Rather than portraying these practices as the sole solution, the film accentuates the knowledge and viewpoints of farmers, illustrating the intricacies of contemporary farming systems. Additionally, the documentary underscores the significance of every farm in fostering resilient food systems amidst prevailing and anticipated climate challenges.
In an era where technology and innovation are reshaping every facet of our lives, agriculture remains at the forefront of this transformation. Documentaries capturing these changes offer a unique lens, providing viewers with an in-depth understanding of the intricate dance between age-old farming practices and cutting-edge advancements. They not only inform and educate but also inspire action, emphasizing the pivotal role of modern solutions in addressing global challenges.
As we look towards a future with growing populations and environmental uncertainties, these films underscore the essence of embracing technology in agriculture, ensuring that we cultivate a sustainable, resilient, and nourishing world for generations to come.
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