Lunch Love Community

How are citizens transforming local food systems? How are innovators changing the way children eat in schools? How do we talk about culture, identity and responsibility through the lens of food and health?

LUNCH LOVE COMMUNITY is a beautiful and engaging story of how a diverse group of pioneering parents and food advocates came together to tackle food reform and food justice in the schools and neighborhoods of Berkeley, CA.

Through a mosaic of twelve interconnecting short documentaries, the film explores food and education, children and health, and citizens making democratic change. This is a rich and multi-dimensional story of passion, creative energy, and idealism -- a project linking the ways we teach our children to eat and understand food to the traditional passing of powerful values from one generation to the next.

'Unique...The material is incredibly important for school- and college-age students, as well as parents, educators, and community leaders. This particular documentary is exceptional because the short films make it incredibly versatile.' Jenny Ventling, School Library Journal

'This film poignantly conveys the fundamental role of food in our lives, far beyond just physical health effects, extending to matters of choice, respect, and belonging. It invokes the bold wisdom of Margaret Mead--that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world, or at least their corner of it. And it reminds us that we all have skin in this game--the skin of our children. It is moving and motivating, practical and philosophical, inspirational and aspirational. I recommend it highly.' David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center at Griffin Hospital, President, American College of Lifestyle Medicine

'I would love to see these twelve thought-provoking little gems used widely with undergraduates, especially those who are preparing to be teachers, and with current teachers as they pursue continuing education. These brief films provide a flexible tool to engage teachers and would-be teachers with the enormous potential of food-based education. Furthermore, they inspire hope that we can truly transform our school food services to achieve not only better health but also a more nurturing environment for learning. My compliments to the chefs of this work!' Janet Poppendieck, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Hunter College, Author, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America

'From the labor of food service to the significance of social difference to the history of dietary reform, Lunch Love Community is true to the complexities and contradictions of what it means to eat well. And, the best part is that it invites us to take part in the conversation!' Jessica Hayes-Conroy, Professor of Women's Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

'An inspiring tale of school food reform...A rich, systems-based look at the actual process of transition--with a discussion of how other communities can engage in similar efforts...The modular nature of the film, coupled with excellent discussion guides for each module, makes Lunch Love Community a valuable, flexible tool for educating and engaging a wide range of students and stakeholders.' Jennifer Gaddis, Assistant Professor of Civil Society and Community Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

'Lunch Love Community reveals the transformative power of progressive food politics...This film holds valuable lessons for parents, professionals, and policymakers interested in how to grow social change from the ground up.' Timothy D. Lytton, Professor of Law, Georgia State University, Author, Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food

'These inspiring vignettes explore school lunch from multiple perspectives: the parents who sought change, the administrators who facilitated it, the chefs and food service workers who implemented it, and the students who relished every bite of fresher, more flavorful and nutritious school lunches. Lunch Love Community is a multi-media inspiration for change.' Amy Bentley, Associate Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, Public Health, New York University

'Lunch Love Community brings it all together. It reminds us that food is about housing; food is about jobs; food is about justice. This film is a vivid and visually rich presentation of how we ensure the health of our society by nurturing children with good food in schools.' Ivy Ken, Associate Professor of Sociology, The George Washington University

'A compelling portrait of the work of community change for a more just and democratic food system, with schools as ground zero for a better food future.' Amy Best, Professor and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology, George Mason University, Author, Fast Food Kids: Youth and Changing Food Landscape of School and Home (forthcoming)

'An intelligent and beautiful suite of short films and discussion guides that reveal the complexity and inspiration that comes through the process of changing school meals. It is an invaluable resource for parents, administrators, and others involved in improving the diets of K-12 students.' Dr. Carolie Sly, Director of Education Programs, Center for Ecoliteracy

'I highly recommend the series to other educators. It provides a detailed, accessible, and multifaceted approach to the science, politics, and economics of the school lunch program's transformation in Berkeley, with broad implications for all of our communities.' Thomas Shevory, Professor of Politics, Ithaca College

'For all community advocates and educators concerned with food justice issues, Lunch Love Community is an insightful and creative documentary that will help you open up a rich dialogue around changing the food system for the better.' Y. Armando Nieto, Executive Director, Community Food and Justice Coalition

'Lunch Love Community is a timely reminder of the trailblazing role this community has played in laying the groundwork for the national school lunch reform movement.' Sarah Henry, Bay Area Bites

'Recommended...Good discussion starters. This movie will be of interest to anyone who likes lunch ladies, but particularly to parents of K-12 children interested in making sure their children get good food to eat at school.' James Gordon, Educational Media Reviews Online

'Capture[s] Berkeley's commitment to raising healthy children in a healthy world.' Natalya Stanko, Sierra Magazine

'The filmmakers hope to change deep-seated school institutional behaviors and develop a toolkit for use by other communities, no matter their budget or funding, so that American children can eat healthy, local and organic food, significantly opening up their quality of life, health and thinking.' Annie Spiegelman, Huffington Post

'There's a serious, yet winsome, tone about the films that advocate more food awareness in grade schools...Lunch inspires viewers to help the younger generation and also to carry on the food discussion in the greater society. Where there are eaters, there are thinkers.' Jennifer Wong, The Daily Californian

'Lunch Love Community vividly shows that it starts with us parents--We provide the modeling, the food they see, and their norms of how much they should eat. The eating related discussion guides and modules such as 'If they cook it, they will love it' all ring true with our research at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.' Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Author, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions to Everyday Life, Chair of Consumer Behavior, Director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University

'A memorable and truly original Cinema Pacific event. It both enlightened people to the potential of transmedia 'open space' documentary and also offered an exciting model of community activism, directly engaging foodies and food reformers in our community.' Richard Herskowitz, Artistic Director, Houston Cinema Arts Festival


Main credits

De Michiel, Helen (director)
De Michiel, Helen (producer)
Constantinou, Sophia (producer)
Shen, Mike (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Edited by Mike Shen.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Food And Nutrition


Berkeley, food reform, food justice, schools, school lunch, local food systems, culture, identity, responsibility, health, parents, food advocates, food and education, children's health, nutirtion and health, equity, citizen participation, public policy, dietary needs, child development, gardening, Ann Cooper, Wanda McAfee-Conart, Charlotte Biltekoff, Kathy Russell, Brenna Ritch, Bonnie Christensen, Rivka Mason, DeDe Sampson, Michelle Lawrence, David McClellan; "Lunch Love Community"; Bullfrog Films