Although separated by distance and culture, the world's
farmers face a common crucial issue: how to feed more and more
people without impoverishing their land.
Journey to Planet
Earth visits a remote corner of Zimbabwe
where an extended drought threatens to bring disaster to the farms
and villages. The country's white-owned commercial farms occupy 80
percent of the most fertile soil and are well irrigated; but, for
the small-scale farmers struggling to make do on what is left,
changes in the climate can mean starvation. The film looks at
communities trying to break free from this cycle of
Video Excerpt: In an isolated corner
of Zimbabwe, the inhabitants pray for rain. Watering holes and
grasslands are disappearing. Thirteen million people face possible
] [ 220k
In the rugged Auvergne
region of central France, families are abandoning their
ancestral homes as others struggle to hold on. With its remote
location, harsh climate and short growing season, the Auvergne
region is hard put to compete in an increasingly international
agricultural market. Picturesque villages are becoming ghost towns.
Meanwhile Brittany's agricultural boom pits the desire for higher
yields against the need to preserve the environment.
Video Excerpt: In the picturesque
region of Auvergne in central France, farmers try to prolong a
time-honored agricultural tradition, but a harsh climate, rising
costs and dwindling population pose a threat.
] [ 220k
Intensive cultivation of the fertile Yangtze
River Delta has brought abundance to the nearby city of
Shanghai, but China's rapid industrial development is engulfing the
countryside at an alarming rate. The country's farmers face the
problem of producing more and more food on a dwindling supply of
land, and pollution becomes a growing threat as they rely more
heavily on the use of chemical fertilizers.
Video Excerpt: The food stalls of
Shanghai are bursting with goods today, but less than four decades
ago, the people of China faced starvation. But the land is paying
a price for today's abundance. As more land is swallowed up for
development, the remaining farmland is intensely cultivated. Land
and water resources are beginning to suffer.
] [ 220k
In the United States, once a nation of farmers,
only two percent of the population still works the land. The
production demands on them are enormous. Journey to Planet Earth
visits the Horan brothers in Iowa,
who experiment with the latest satellite technology to increase
their yields. Next stop is the Groff family in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, whose main concern is preserving some of the
richest topsoil in the country through no-till farming.
Video Excerpt: From September
through November, Iowa's cycle of harvest never seems to end. In
an effort to supply a global market, are America's Midwest farmers
in danger of depleting the fertile soil of the nation's heartland?
] [ 220k