A journey through nature, commerce and adventure, The Fruit Hunters takes us from the dawn of humanity to the cutting of edge of modern agriculture — a series that will change not just the way we look at what we eat, but what it means to be human.
Supermarkets are stocked with fruit year round in a global permanent summertime, but despite its accessibility, have we lost the diversity that makes it so special? The second episode of The Fruit Hunters will look at what happens when we abandon the Garden of Eden for an industrialized monoculture.
In lush jungles of Borneo, Bala Tingang, an elder of one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes, lives of the wild fruits that are the key to his tribe's survival. And yet, all around the world, natural diversity is being replaced with monocultures, plantations of only one variety, bred for long shelf life and transportability rather than their taste or health properties. Not only is this lost of diversity impoverishing our taste buds, but it has catastrophic implications for our food security. In the vast uniform banana fields of Honduras, Juan Aguilar, a banana scientist, frantically tries to breed a banana resistant to a deadly fungus. The common export banana now has so little genetic variety that it is extremely susceptible to disease.
Yet with the help of fruit hunters around the world, perhaps we can reintroduce some of that diversity in a world increasingly dominated by economics. Searchers and explores such as Richard Campbell and Noris Ledesma scour the globe for rare exotic fruit with the hopes of broadening our selection at home. We also meet creators and inventors such as Floyd Zaiger and Bob Bors who use traditional breeding techniques to patiently create wondrous new fruits. Though their methods may vary, all of the fruit hunters share one thing — an obsession and love of fruit, and diversity.
About the Director
Yung Chang made his feature documentary, Up the Yangtze in 2007. The film used China's highly contested Three Gorges Dam as a dramatic backdrop for a moving and richly detailed narrative of a peasant family negotiating unprecedented historic changes. Up the Yangtze played at numerous festivals and was one of the top-grossing documentary box office releases in 2008. China Heavyweight is Chang's sophomore film. It had its World Premiere at Sundance 2012 and is currently traveling the festival circuit. He is also currently writing Eggplant, his first feature film, about a Chinese wedding photographer.
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