America Revealed Review: “Breathtaking, Insightful And Impressive”

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America Revealed, a new four part documentary series based on the BBC’s award winning Britain From Above, is set to premiere on PBS UK tomorrow night (June 20th) at 7:50pm. Presented by Yul Kwon, the series looks at the various systems and networks that have come into existence to feed, power and move people and merchandise around the United States.

In the series’ opening episode (Food Machine) Yul Kwon takes us on a journey to look at just what it takes to feed 300 million Americans. Through a series of stunning CGI elements, the viewer is exposed to the routes that NYC pizza delivery drivers take on a Friday night, to the delivery routes of supply trucks for Dominos Pizza, right on through to an illustration of the Global food market. Yet it is not only the impressive CGI elements which are used to flawlessy demonstrate the story of how America’s vast food industry does its job, the series also uses stunning aerial footage, satellite date and on-screen interviews.

America Revealed: Food Nation takes a good look at just how an industrialised America produces and distributes enough food for 300 million Americans. Among the gems that are revealed in the opening episode are: that tomatoes, alone, are worth in excess of $1.5 billion dollars per year, urband gardening is on the rise, 50% of America’s fruits and nuts are produced in Central Valley, California, and that for those farmers in Central Valley the largest line item on their budgets is water. Another revelation that struck me was that Central Valley was, in its natural state, a desert. It is only thanks to the use of the water of the Shasta Lake, which is used to irrigate Central Valley via the Shasta Dam and a network of 20 more dams and reservoirs, that the valley is the burgeoning greenhouse that produces so much of the country’s fruit & nuts.

In addition, the documentary looks at the difficulty that farmers in the mid-west face. Yul Kwon speaks, in some depth, to a farmer in Kansas who grows corn, exclusively. The farm, which has been in the family for three generations, has gone from being a homestead “mom & pop” operation to an industrial scale farm, which utilises central-pivot irrigation systems to produce 300 bushels for each acre of land, more than tripling the yield of the previous generation. That said, all is not easy for the corn growers, who frequently have to battle against European Corn Borers; insects that are capable of destroying entire fields of corn. It is only but for a combination of genetically modified crops and the use of pesticides that allows these corn growers to remain in business.

If the first episode is anything to go by America Revealed is a world-class series which sits flawlessly with the name that PBS UK is setting for itself: as a destination for premier factual-based content. Breathtaking, insightful and impressive, Food Nation offers an inside look at just how the world’s most powerful country really works on the ground floor. Presented flawlessly by Yul Kwon, America Revealed is not to be missed. America Revealed: Food Nation airs Wednesday June 20th at 7:50pm only on PBS UK, with three further episodes airing each Wednesday night at 7:50pm for the next three weeks.