Segments in this Video

American Food Industry (04:06)


Although each element of the American industrial food system is well designed, the system as a whole produces too much. A map conveys the immense number of fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and other food outlets in the country.

Central Valley Resources (09:13)

Yul Kwon traces the supply chain from a pizza in New York, to the supply hub in Connecticut, to a tomato farm in California. Fifteen percent of America's fruit and nuts are grown in the Central Valley. Farms produce a huge surplus of tomatoes.

Midwest Transformation (07:25)

Kwon visits Stone Acres farm in Kansas. With chemical fertilizers and center-pivot irrigation drawing on a large aquifer, farmers have tripled yields. Most farms in the region grow only corn, which through processing, makes up many food products.

Beef Industry (05:05)

At a concentrated animal feeding operation, 90,000 beef steers are packed into lots surrounding a corn processing plant. With antibiotics, growth hormones, and grain diet, the company manages the animals to produce a maximum of cheap meat. A nearby meat-packing plant uses an assembly line to process beef, which is then transferred across the U.S. and world.

Food Marketing and Health (04:19)

A globalized food market makes food options limitless. Food businesses create attractive new items, often high in calories. Scott Almendinger argues that the marketing and consumption of unhealthy foods has become unsustainable.

Managing Resource Use (05:08)

As water becomes scarce and expensive in the Central Valley, Ted Sheely uses a moisture monitoring system to enhance efficiency. At Stone Acres, the corn is at risk for a major pest, requiring aerial pesticide spraying and genetic modification of crops.

Mechanized Harvest (03:10)

Sammons Adventures is an industrial-scale harvesting company which travels to farms across the U.S. The high-tech machinery measures moisture and precisely harvests 8,000 bushels of wheat per day.

Bee Pollination and Migratory Work (06:15)

Kwon describes the role of the honey bee. Beekeeper David Hackenberg transports hives across the country to pollinate crops, but reports that bees are dying in large numbers. Since only two percent of the population works in agriculture, most continuously move from one farm to the next.

Urban Farming in a Food Desert (04:50)

Though small scale farms have disappeared from the Midwest, they are returning to Detroit. Will Gardener grows organic vegetables and sells them at Eastern Market. Ashley Atkinson explains the benefits of local farmers and community members coming together.

Future of Agriculture (04:34)

Robert Grace explains that with an increasing population, farms need to produce a higher yield every year. As resources become scarce and infrastructure ages, costs rise. Food trends also change as people become concerned about health and environmental sustainability.

Credits: Food Machine (00:60)

Credits: Food Machine

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Food Machine

Part of the Series : America Revealed
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Over the past century, an American industrial revolution has given rise to the biggest, most productive food machine the world has ever known. Join host Yul Kwon to learn how this machine feeds nearly 300 million Americans every day. Discover engineering marvels created by putting nature to work, and consider the toll our insatiable appetites take on our health and environment. Embark with Kwon on a trip that begins with a pizza delivery route in New York City, then goes across the country to California's Central Valley, where nearly 50 percent of America's fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown, and into the heartland for an aerial look at our farmlands. Meet the men and women who keep us fed—every one from industrial to urban farmers, crop-dusting pilots to long-distance bee truckers, modern-day cowboys to the pizza delivery man.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL151063

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.