Point of Origin Docuseries
This isn't a cooking show. This isn't your typical food show. This is a series about people and their communities producing food on a mass scale to keep our food systems thriving. Food sustainability expert Lindsey Allen meets with growers to discuss the joys and the challenges of feeding the world
Mission StatementThe pandemic revealed to consumers how fragile and complex our supply chains are. Growers have voices that are missing from food media today. Point of Origin is bridging this divide; equipping audiences with the information they need to build their own ethical and moral compasses.
About The Project
Do you know where your food comes from?
When you pay $3 for a bar of chocolate, do you know what the cocoa pod that it came from looks like? Or what the farmer in Ghana did to grow it? Who is to thank for the cup of coffee you sip while participating in your early morning zoom calls? How did a pineapple, grown thousands of miles away in Costa Rica, make it onto your grocery store’s shelf?
POINT OF ORIGIN takes the viewer to the starting points of our world’s most compelling supply chains, enlightening audiences about the people and communities behind the everyday items sourced from across the globe that we take for granted. These human stories will illustrate the urgent sociopolitical challenges within food and production systems at a palpable, personal level.
Hi, my name is Lindsey and this is my story
509 days ago, I flew back to the US from London in the middle of doing my masters at LSE - two weeks after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
444 days ago and 20,000 words worth of term papers later, I submitted my final assignment - finishing my Master of Science in Environment and Development virtually.
I spent a few months after that applying for jobs. But my heart wasn't all the way in it, nor was I finding the opportunities/teams that spoke to the change that I wanted to be a part of.
Deep down, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it was just a matter of doing it. From working with social entrepreneurs as a Fulbright Scholar in Morocco, to cocoa farmers and supply chain sustainability executives across Ghana and Europe - all the jobs, cultural contexts, and lived experiences within the last decade culminated to my ultimate decision. I turned my two year side hustle into a full-time production company and committed myself to bringing POINT OF ORIGIN to life. I convinced my longtime, multi-talented friend Paris to join me.
POINT OF ORIGIN aims to answer the question that we all have - where do the products that we interact with on a daily basis even come from? I want to help people get to the bottom of this in a meaningful, visual way. I want to change the relationship people have with their food. So Paris and and I set out to develop a docu-series focused on tracing the world's most compelling supply chains back to the communities and human stories that keep them thriving.
And since then, there has been no turning back.
When we first started out, I set a goal: to do at least one sizzle reel shoot for our "Almonds in California" pilot episode. Not only did we eventually reach that goal on our desired timeline, but we also went above and beyond it. We made substantial progress on an initial R&D and Production raise that enabled us to execute not one, but two sizzle reel shoots with three almond farming families on location in California's Central Valley.
The relevance of the content that we're filming, amidst California's worst drought in 130 years, highlights the significance of our success in obtaining this footage.
One year after I committed myself full-time to this project, we've got a finished sizzle reel that we're preparing to pitch to SVOD studios. With a proof of concept in hand, we're ready to build the audience we know that we can mobilize.
This is where you come in: join us on this journey.
As we enter this second year and new phase, we're excited to welcome you to join us on this journey. During this pitch process, we need funding to continue creating content and building an audience. We want to finish post-production on our "Almonds in California" pilot and begin a feature-length episode. We want to hire animators, continue writing scripts, invest more resources into our marketing, and prepare for production on future episodes.
We've been able to get to where we are today due to the flexibility and graciousness of our colleauges in their pay requirements (during a pandemic, nonetheless). Paris and I have not paid ourselves to date. We want to increase pay for our colleagues and earn a living stipend.
Why us and why now?
Amid a global pandemic that left our shelves empty, the vulnerabilities in our intensely globalized supply chains became glaringly apparent to consumers across the country. Consumers are increasingly demanding traceability in order to understand where their food comes from. But, there's little insight. Grower stories are largely missing from today's food media.
In a market research study that Pilot.ly conducted for us, they found that 83% of respondents to be in agreement that the Point of Origin concept is new and/or unique compared to other shows in the genre.
Growers deserve to be heard, audiences deserve and want to know, and our team has the skills and talents to create this bridge.
My background is not in filmmaking, and this is my first time hosting a television series. When you look at popular, well-known docuseries, there aren't many Black women hosts for me to look up to or see myself in. My team is a combination of people with backgrounds in food sustainability, production, marketing, and research. I strongly believe that together, we are proving that you can take something that hasn't been done before and make it happen.
So what will this look like?
We have 2 seasons worth of 14 episodes sketched out. Each episode focuses on a product or commodity and the community to which that product has a special tie. For example, "Pineapples in Costa Rica", "Coffee in Vietnam", "Lobsters in Maine", "Cocoa in Ghana". The fun part about our focus is that you can never run out of food items to trace. POINT OF ORIGIN will have a travelogue feel, grounded by Lindsey's and her subject’s expertise. We take some inspiration from shows like Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and Parts Unknown, whose hosts develop a frank and deep connection with the people they talk to.
Each episode will be tailored in structure to the food and community in discussion. We will generally begin with our host, Lindsey providing some exposition to the scale of the food supply chain at hand, its pervasiveness, and how most consumers engage with it. Lindsey will then visit the grower community; in their homes and out in the field; as well as chosen experts on the food system and the social, political, or environmental issues that are present within it. The episodes will show the lived experiences of producer-communities.
Starting off in our own backyard: Almonds in California
Our pilot "Almonds in California", focuses on the almond industry and almond farmers in the Central Valley. Few people both inside and outside the state realize just how massive this $6 billion industry has become. Our 'mini episode' features frank and honest conversations with farmers about politics, water, race, religion, and what it means to grow on a multi-thousand acre scale. It's eye-opening, engaging, and real. With more resources, we can deepen our expert and alternative perspective coverage. We will be able to produce a full feature-length episode.
This is now 'our' story
The pandemic has been a reckoning moment for all of us. An opportunity to reflect on what we truly want, how we're living, and how to do better. We see POINT OF ORIGIN not only as an opportunity to bring a vision to life, but to provide our audience with the knowledge power to actualize the better that they want to see. To have a deeper connection with that chocolate bar, that pineapple, or that cup of coffee.
So we are excited to welcome you to join us: be apart of our story.
SPREAD THE WORD!
Even if you cannot contribute financially, we invite you to join us to help us reach our goal through sharing this campaign with your networks. YOU can help us build an audience and raise the funds we need to take Point of Origin to the next level. YOU can help change the way people think about their food.
Please share our campaign however you see fit - whether that's word-of-mouth, email, social media, telegram, or pigeon carrier (no judgment)!
Check out some examples below and feel free to copy and paste!
I care about where my food comes from and you should too!! @lindseymargaretallen and @ paris.coyne are working overtime to help us do just that. Join their work on @pointoforiginseries via @seedandspark:
I just watched the @pointoforiginseries mini-episode produced by @lindseymargaretallen and @ paris.coyne - and WOW you’ve got to see this! We can help them bring this show to our screens by pledging our support on @seedandspark:
@pointoforiginseries is a docuseries-in-development tracing our food back to the humans who grow it. I love the work @lindseymargaretallen & @ paris.coyne have done on so far on their teasers & mini-episode. You’ve got to check it out! Join them via @seedandspark
@pointoforiginseries is exactly what’s missing from food media today! Cheers to @lindseymargaretallen & @ paris.coyne for helping us better understand our food systems and giving farmers and growers a platform to share their stories. Let’s help bring this series to life by giving our support on @seedandspark
If you eat food, then the conversations happening on @pointoforiginseries relate directly to you!! Check out the work that @lindseymargaretallen & @paris.coyne have done on their pilot episode, and join them in bringing this show to life via @seedandspark
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About This Team
Lindsey Allen, Host & Creative Producer
Lindsey brings passion, expertise and commitment to expanding awareness about supply chains as a means to help people make informed decisions about what they eat in support of their own health as well as the health and well-being of our global communities and the environment. The convergence of both a learned sensitivity to the marginalized perspectives outside of Western-centric narratives as well as a recognized importance of food knowledge is what brought her to the drawing board.
After several research experiences alongside marginalized producer communities in Morocco, Ghana, and Costa Rica, Lindsey noticed how much of a priority people place on food access and availability without any cognizance of how supply chains have transformed over the past two decades. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and previously worked for Grassland Cameroon, Farmerline and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Lindsey holds an MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BSc from Santa Clara University.
Paris Coyne, Creative Producer, Director, & Editor
Paris Coyne is a multi-disciplinary artist whose range of work has spanned documentary, live production, fashion videography, and motion graphics. She has had the opportunity to explore and produce a wide range of of subjects around the world—documenting bespoke fashion designers in France and Italy, advocates of menstrual health in Uganda, and solar energy entrepreneurs in Tanzania.
Paris first experienced the unique dynamics of supply chains documenting the impact of social enterprises dispensing essential products to rural communities in Mpigi, Uganda affected by difficulties in last mile distribution. As a strong believer in documentary as a tool of transparency against systems of inequity, she is excited to explore with Lindsey how the food we eat intersects with the quality of life for people around the world.
Emily Fagundes, Associate Research Producer, Social Media Manager, & Production Assistant
Emily is a digital storyteller professional with an academic background in Marketing and a personal investment in agricultural development. She grew up in California's San Joaquin Valley, as the daughter of two third-generation dairy farmers. Both sides of her family have been farming in California ever since her great-grandparents first immigrated from the Azores Islands. Her multiple international field research experience in India and Rwanda, sparked a passion for sharing stories and initiating dialogue to foster necessary connections.
Ira Torrey, Second Camera, Editor, & Colorist
Ira Torrey is a Videographer and Editor based in Northern California. Ira got his start in video production as an editor mainly producing educational content for brands such as Udacity and KiwiCo, as well as freelancing on larger production teams in the Bay Area. With an interest in sustainability, Ira transitioned over to a video producer position at a certification body where he is able to create content for the sustainable agriculture, forest management, and green building industries.
Jacob Hellinga, Director of Photography
Jacob Hellinga is a Director of Photography with over 10 years of experience. After graduating from Santa Clara University, he started working in Los Angeles at Otto Nemenz, a camera rental house. There, he refined his understanding of the latest film and digital technologies in filmmaking while expanding his network of local filmmakers and assistants. After that he joined the Local 600 Union and has worked on TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Mythic Quest, Mayan’s M.C., and Westworld as a Camera Utility. He has gone on to DP feature length documentaries, short films, commercials, and web series.