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10 Apeel-ing Environmental Documentaries to Watch

Author: Apeel Team

Summer’s among us and you may find yourself looking for some new educational flicks to watch as you stay inside on those hot summer days. We’ve got you covered with some environmental documentary suggestions about how we can tackle the greatest environmental challenges. Many of these films detail how we can break down barriers to personal food waste challenges, working together towards a happier and healthier future. Check them out below.


Food-Related Documentaries:

Waste Land (2010) (Prime Video)

Directed by Lucy Walker

If you’re looking for a particularly moving and emotional waste-related documentary, look no further. Waste Land is a 2010 British-Brazilian film that follows artist Vik Muniz, who makes a journey to the world’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio. The film gives an inside look at the lives of the workers who sift through garbage everyday as a living.


Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (Prime Video) (2017)

Directed by Anna Chai, Nari Kye

We are aware that the food we waste has an impact on the planet, from the transportation of food, to the food wasted in the restaurant industry. Wasted! is an informative documentary produced by chef Anthony Bourdain, which shows the 1.3 billion tons of food that gets thrown out each year and demonstrates creative ways businesses and individuals mitigate this. 


Sustainable (2017) (Prime Video)

Directed by Matt Wechsler

Farming is the foundation of our food system. Sustainable investigates the baseline of farming communities and restaurants across the United States, discussing the toughest agricultural issues we face like soil loss, water depletion, climate change, and pesticide use. It highlights the community leaders trying to fix these problems. 


Food Chains (2014) (Prime Video)

Directed by Sanjay Rawal

If you’re interested in learning about the lives of the migrant workers who pick your food, Food Chains is for you. This documentary highlights agricultural labor, giving a look inside the migrant farming industry in Florida, exposing the taxing working environments and living conditions. 


A Place at The Table (2012) (Prime Video)

Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush

According to Feeding America, 45 million people (1 in 7), including 15 million children (1 in 5) experienced food insecurity in 2020. A Place at the Table is a documentary that details the growing hunger epidemic, narrating stories of three subjects who face inadequate dietary resources, along with other Americans facing food insecurity. 


Seeds of Time (2015) (Prime Video)

Directed by Sandy McLeod

Without seeds, there would be no food. In Seeds of Time, crop diversity pioneer Cary Fowler travels the world on a journey to save the eroding foundation of food supply (seeds), educating the public about the consequences of inaction and dire forecasts about the future of agriculture. 


Power Trip: The Story of Energy | Food (2020) (PBS)

Featuring Apeel Senior Director of Sustainability, Jessica Vieira

Believe it or not, it takes a miraculous amount of energy to enable a stable global food system supply. From farm to table to landfill, that embodied energy in our food goes to waste. “Food” traces a journey across Europe, Asia, and the United States to show us the energy required to supply our food.


Other Environmental Documentaries 

Being the Change: A New Kind of Climate Documentary (2018) (Prime Video)

Directed by Dave Davis and Mary Grandelis

Start being the change you want to see. In accompaniment of the book “Being the Change,” the documentary Being the Change delves into the life of NASA atmospheric scientist Peter Kalmus, who cut his fossil fuel use to 1/10th of the average American by cutting emissions in varying areas like food and transportation. Kalmus finds that in his personal journey to reduce his fossil fuel use, he ends up happier overall.

Tomorrow (2017) (Prime Video)

Directed by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent

A more optimistic take on the climate crisis — Tomorrow is a French documentary film that gives examples of solutions to the greatest environmental and social challenges of the 21st century from agriculture to the economy and education.


Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future (2018) (Prime Video)

Directed by Jordan Osmond and Antoinette Wilson

Sometimes environmental issues can feel overwhelming and drastic, seemingly only being able to be managed by the government. However, Living the Change explores inspiring stories of people pioneering change in their own lives to live more sustainably. From community supported agriculture to time-banking, Living the Change suggests ways we can rethink our approach to how we live.


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