• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table

Directed by Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush. (2013, PG, 80 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 1, 2013

“We’re in denial about hunger in this country,” says the actor Jeff Bridges, one of the well-chosen speakers in this documentary about the issue of 50 million Americans who suffer from “food insecurity.” Our government is in denial, he says, but so are the victims. Few are willing to publicly confess their hunger or undernourishment or place it on display. And the problem is kept hidden as long as charitable food banks and soup kitchens continue to disguise the depth of the hunger. A Place at the Table confronts the issue head-on and offers some solutions.

”Food insecurity” – meaning, essentially, not knowing where your next meal is coming from – is a term I was unfamiliar with prior to watching this documentary, but it’s a nationwide epidemic. This film makes a lot of cogent arguments about why a country that produces food in surplus has citizens who go to bed hungry. The problem lies in food distribution rather than production, a problem that is bound up with agricultural subsidies, a New Deal tool devised to help individual farmers, but in the present day, has become integral to the corporate agribusinesses which have bought up and consolidated family farms. The agribusinesses, in turn, use subsidies to support production of the grains and other items used to manufacture processed foods. According to A Place at the Table, the obesity epidemic in the U.S. began in the Eighties as the prices of fruits and vegetables (which are still grown largely by smaller farmers) went up and agribusiness took over. The solutions lie in social programs that not only address food disparity, but the economic disparities that underlie so much of the problem.

A Place at the Table puts forth a great amount of information in a – dare I say – palatable manner. Animated facts, figures, and diagrams encapsulate ideas, while a strong focus on individual speakers suffering from food insecurity makes their situations palpably real. However, the strongest point made by the film is that hunger is a problem endemic to our social system, and it’s a problem that will not be served up in a soup line, one meal at a time.

READ MORE
More Films
Phoenix Forgotten
Missing teens and mysterious lights in this found-footage sci-fi film

Josh Kupecki, April 21, 2017

The Lost City of Z
A futile quest for an extraordinary place

Steve Davis, April 21, 2017

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Peter O'Toole Archives Land at HRC
Hello, Mr. Chips
Peter O'Toole archives acquired by UT's Harry Ransom Center

April 22, 2017

God Knows Where I Am

April 21, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

A Place at the Table, Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)