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Available on DVD and Blu-ray from PBS Distribution on March 1st


Arlington, Va. – , 2015 – PBS Distribution announced today it is releasing “IN DEFENSE OF FOOD” on DVD and Blu-ray. Join New York Times best-selling author Michael Pollan on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Busting myths and misconceptions, the program reveals how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and at the same time reduce our risks of falling victim to diet-related diseases.


Pollan’s journey of discovery takes him from the plains of Tanzania, where one of the world’s last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers still eats the way our ancestors did, to Loma Linda, California, where vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists enjoy remarkable longevity, and eventually to Paris, where the French diet, rooted in culture and tradition, proves surprisingly healthy. Along the way, he shows how a combination of faulty nutrition science and deceptive marketing practices have encouraged us to replace real food with scientifically engineered “food-like substances.” And he explains why the solution to our dietary woes is in fact remarkably simple: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD,” features interviews with scientists, nutrition experts, physicians, food activists and more, and includes the stories of real families.

IN DEFENSE OF FOOD” will be available on DVD and Blu-ray March 1, 2016.  The run time of the program is approximately 120 minutes.  The SRP for the DVD is $24.99 and $29.99 for Blu-ray.  The program will also be available for digital download.  

Almost every day there’s a new headline about food. Eat more fiber. Drink less milk. Eggs are bad. Eggs are good. No wonder people are confused. The program begins with an exploration of the kind of food most Americans eat today — known as the Western diet. It includes lots of meat, white flour, sugar and vegetable oils. It’s cheap, convenient and has been processed to taste really good. But the effects of the Western diet on health are not so tasty, including alarming increases in obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

So if the Western diet makes us sick, what kind of diet will make us healthy? Pollan’s search for the answer leads him to explore the kinds of food that come from nature.

And what nature provides is remarkably diverse. In the Andes, the Quechua people harvest potatoes and grains and eat only a small amount of meat. In East Africa, the Masai thrive on a diet consisting mostly of cattle blood milk, and meat. In the Arctic, the Inuit have long eaten tremendous amounts of fat from whales, seals and fish. And in Tanzania, members of the Hadza tribe are some of the last people on earth who still get their food the way our ancestors did: by hunting and gathering. Scientists who study the Hadza have found that they very rarely develop the diseases found in those who eat the Western diet, like obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What Pollan means by telling us to “eat food” is to eat what people ate for the thousands of years before we became dependent on processed foods. He believes that many of our troubles today stem from thinking about foods solely in terms of the nutrients that are in them — a tendency fueled by the food industry’s practice of making health claims on products based on the nutrients they’ve added (vitamins, fiber or Omega 3s) or taken away (most famously fat). But science shows that a wide variety of diets can be healthy, provided they consist of the kind of whole foods our species has evolved to eat, which include all of the nutrients we need. 

The film examines everything from rising concerns about Omega 3s and 6s to what we’re learning about the biochemical roots of our craving for sugar — and how too much sugar can overwhelm our ability to process it. It looks at why nutritional guidelines that advised reducing fat in our diet had the unintended consequence of increasing obesity — as well as what the latest studies show about the benefits of a plant-based diet, and the role of the trillions of intestinal bacteria that inhabit all of us — an emerging new field of nutrition science that is changing the way scientists think about food and health. And it reveals how hidden environmental cues influence not only how much we eat but also what we eat.

IN DEFENSE OF FOOD” is a production of Kikim Media. 


A selection of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Eat only foods that will eventually rot.

Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.

Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

Eat mostly plants.

Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.

If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.

Eat your colors – that is, eat as many different kinds of plants as possible.

Use smaller plates and glasses.

Serve the vegetables first.

Make water your beverage of choice.

Stop eating before you’re full.

Eat more like the French do.

Try to spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it.

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

Break the rules once in a while.


About Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is the author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013) and four New York Times best-sellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006); and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by both The New York Times and The Washington Post. A young readers edition called The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat was published in 2009. In 2011, Pollan published an illustrated version of Food Rules with new paintings by Maira Kalman.

The Botany of Desire received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and A two-hour documentary based on the book and produced and directed by Michael Schwarz premiered on PBS in fall 2009. Pollan is also the author of A Place of My Own (1997) and Second Nature (1991).

Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders” in 2009. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards. His essays have appeared in many anthologies, and his articles have appeared in major publications including Harper’s Magazine (where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994), National Geographic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, House & Garden, and Gardens Illustrated, among others. In 2009 he appeared in the documentary Food, Inc., which received an Academy Award nomination.

In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health, and the environment.

Pollan, who was born in 1955, grew up on Long Island, and was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University and Columbia University, from which he received a Masters in English. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son Isaac.


About the Filmmakers

Michael Schwarz (Producer and Director) founded Kikim Media with his wife Kiki Kapany in 1996. His work has been honored with the most prestigious awards in broadcasting — including three national Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award and the Grand Prize in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for Coverage of the Disadvantaged.

In addition to “IN DEFENSE OF FOOD,” Schwarz is also currently directing The Valley, a three-hour cultural, intellectual, and technological history of Silicon Valley; and The Ornament of the World, a two-hour history of medieval Spain.

Other recent projects include: The Botany of Desire, based on Michael Pollan’s book about the relationship between plants and people; Capturing Grace (executive producer), the unlikely story of what happens when the world-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group and people with Parkinson’s disease join forces to create a unique performance; Extreme by Design, a film about students building a better world, one product at a time; My Father, My Brother and Me (FRONTLINE), a chronicle of Parkinson’s disease; and Hunting the Hidden Dimension (NOVA), the story of fractal geometry.

As a Fulbright Fellow in the 1980s, Schwarz conducted documentary production workshops in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Edward Gray (Producer and Telescript) is a three-time Emmy Award winner, a two-time winner of the Writers Guild of America Award, and a recipient of both the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

The documentaries Gray has made for national broadcast on public television include: Alaska, The World and Wally Hickel, the story of the iconoclastic Interior Secretary who was fired by Richard Nixon; Security vs. Liberty, a look at counterterrorism policies for the PBS series America at a Crossroads; Through Many Lives: The Aging Brain, for the series The Secret Life of the Brain; and The Orphan Trains, for the American Experience series. Gray worked with Michael Schwarz and Kikim Media as a co-producer on The Botany of Desire and Hunting the Hidden Dimension.

For ABC News, Gray was senior producer and co-writer of Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination – Beyond Conspiracy. He spent three years as a staff producer and writer in the TV production unit of The New York Times, where he produced Searching for the Roots of 9/11, with Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Gray lives in New York City.

Kiki Kapany (Executive Producer) combines a background in media and law (J.D. ’86). Her experienced legal sense, paired with a sound creative approach to production on a worldwide scale, adds a key dimension to Kikim’s resources. Kapany manages all of the entertainment law and day-to-day business required in Kikim’s operations, including overseeing business development, strategic planning, finance and administration. Her expertise extends to the creation and management of major production budgets, extensive image research, grant reporting, organizing project deliverables and managing all production and post-production logistics for a wide variety of projects.


About PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of these programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners.

PBS Distribution offers a diverse range of programming to our customers, including Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programming.  As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution offers consumers high-quality content in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-Ray, digital download, and digital streaming.  PBS Distribution is also a leading source for factual content for international broadcast, cable and satellite services. 



Street Date: March 1, 2016

Genre: Documentary

Run Time: Approximately 120 Minutes

SRP: DVD $24.99, Blu-ray $29.99

Format: DVD & Blu-ray