Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  29 minutes
Date:  2013
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adults
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Big or Small?

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What's the best method of growing food for a hungry population of 9.5 billion people: Big, or small?

Big or Small?

In the USA alone there are approximately 5 million fewer farmers today than there were in the 1930s. Economies of scale suggests that bigger is better when it comes to feeding a hungry planet. But bigger often requires mechanization and compromise, such as new strains of E. coli bacteria and rising obesity. Often, big also requires growing the same crop varieties.
Many countries are realizing there is a price to 'big' that's not factored in at the checkout counter and, as a consequence, a 'small farmer' revolution is unfolding in many rich countries including the US. What's the best method of growing food for a hungry population of 9.5 billion people? Big, or small?

'Big or Small? shows that food policy should concern all of us. By asking the question, 'Can small agriculture feed the world,' a hopeful path begins to emerge. In a world where big agribusiness dominates, it is a relief to see some hard-rock assumptions challenged in a professional and balanced way. This film would be ideal for any class exploring sustainability or environmental policy.' Mary Christina Wood, Professor of Law, Faculty Director of Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, University of Oregon, Author of Nature's Trust

'Very impressive. These films present current problems in global food production and consumption with unstinting clarity. They highlight figures who advocate for indigenous crops without simply turning back the clock or giving in to the Western model of industrial scale agriculture. They propose models which value the local economy and yet think progressively in ways that will help people deal with rising population and increasingly volatile market for foodstuffs. These are thinkers, activists, politicians and farmers who will shape the future of food around the world.' Ken Albala, Professor of History, University of the Pacific, Author, Beans: A History

'These films put food in a global perspective, pushing the boundaries of discussions about local, artisanal, and organic foods.' Fabio Parasecoli, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Food Studies, The New School, Author, Bite Me! Food in Popular Culture, co-Editor, Cultural History of Food


Main credits

Richards, Jenny (Producer)
Gabbay, Alex (Director)
Gabbay, Alex (Film editor)
Bradshaw, Steve (Film editor)

Other credits

Music, Lucas Hoge; camera: Prospero Bozzo (Italy), Daniele Mattana (Italy), Joel Nzeuga (Cameroon), Cedric Pilaud (San Francisco).

Distributor credits


tv/e (Television Trust for the Environment)
Alex Gabbay
Editor: Alex Gabbay
Music: Lucas Hoge
Camera: Prospero Bozzo (Italy), Daniele Mattana (Italy), Joel Nzeuga (Cameroon), Cedric Pilaud (San Francisco)
Concept Development: James Heer, Joanne Levitan
Series Researcher: Janet Weinstein
Production Managers: Caroline Hancock, Sheila Menon
Senior Editor: Sotira Kyriacou
Development Producer: Jenny Richards
Series Editor: Steve Bradshaw

Docuseek2 subjects

Agriculture and Food
Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
American Studies
The Prairie and Great Plains

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Developing World
Food And Nutrition
Global Issues
Local Economies
Sustainable Development
Urban Studies


United States, US, farm, farming, farmer, Nebraska, big agiculture, agribusiness, capitalism, regulation, organic farming, small scale agriculture, small farmer, mechanization, crops, crop variety, agroecology, Ron Meyer, Raj Patel, JD Alexander, Olivier De Schutter, UN Right to Food Rapporteur, Nebraska Farmers Union, Mohan Munasinghe, globalization, Journal Star, IFAD, Valantine Achancho, farmers markets,,"Big or Small?",Bullfrog Films

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