Jonathan Safran Foer’s New York Times’ best-selling book Eating Animals opened thousands people’s eyes to factory farming and the ethics of food when it was released in 2009. Among them: actress and activist Natalie Portman. The star was so moved by the novel that she adopted a vegan diet and contacted Foer about the possibility of turning the book into a documentary in hopes of reaching, even more, people with the important message.

Portman’s vision became a reality when the documentary aptly named Eating Animals debuted recently at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado … to a standing ovation after the screening. The documentary is both produced and narrated by Portman and just like the book, the film delves into the problems of modern animal agriculture.

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Director Christopher Quinn even managed to get inside off-limits food processing plants so shine a light on how our food is produced. In an interview with Deadline, he shared,”It was a risk, and it’s weird to be called a ‘terrorist.’ It was a real eye-opener to actually see what farming was, which was people wanting to run from you, not wanting you to see the system that was in place…”

The documentary has been receiving rave reviews for its thoughtful examination of traditions. And how does Foer feel about his book being turned into a documentary? Foer likes that the documentary veers slightly off from the book. “I was kind of actually really thrilled about all the ways it departed from the book. It covered a lot of things I wish I had known about when I wrote it,” Foer told Deadline.

This sort of documentary couldn’t come at a better time as our food system is in desperate need of an overhaul. Currently, the industrial animal agriculture system occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores, and drives more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. This system causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction. And yet, despite all of the resources used and pollution created, one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity.

We are so glad to see the issues with factory farming being brought into a large global spotlight with Eating Animals, and we hope this film inspires viewers to think about how their everyday choices impact the world around them. 

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We all have the power to create a better future for our children, and the countless animals we share the planet with, by making one easy swap. If you’re ready to start doing this in your own life, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

Image source: Mira/Flickr