81 Awesome Documentaries for Homesteaders

netflix-homesteading-environmentalistsFrom honey bees to tiny houses to TEDTalks on Capitalism and Humanity’s Future, we’ve assembled a complete list of documentaries and shows on Netflix & Hulu that would interest our fellow homesteaders.

Leave a comment below and let us know which ones are your favorite, and which programs we missed!


Food & Agriculture Documentaries

food-incFood, Inc.

Director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary looks at the food industry’s harmful effects on human health and the environment.

Watch Now:

hungry-for-changeHungry For Change

This documentary exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries use to keep consumers coming back for more.

Watch Now:

Food-MattersFood Matters

This film takes a timely and hard-hitting look at how the food we eat is helping or hurting our health, and what we can do to live (and eat) better.

Watch Now:

FoodChainsTheatricalPoster-e1409496194559Food Chains

A small group of workers toils to overcome corporate greed and end slavery and abuse in America’s fields, revealing what actually feeds our country.

Watch Now:


This provocative documentary tells the story of farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities but were forced to stop.

Watch Now:

cow powerCow Power

Rural family farms are faced with falling agriculture prices and our greenhouse gas production is leading towards certain danger. In the state of Vermont an idea is brewing that could change the entire country and every farm along with it: Cow Power.

Watch Now: 


This documentary follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks in an effort to get healthier.

Watch Now:

TEDTalks: Chew On This

ted-talks-chew-on-thisAnti-obesity, sustainable seafood, vegetarianism, white bread, humane foie gras, school lunches, food science, and way more. 14 episodes make up this season of TEDTalks exploring food topics.

Watch Now:

milk documentaryMilk?

Using engaging storytelling through endearing characters and beautiful visuals, this documentary aims to investigate the case for milk as a nutritious food.

Watch Now: 

forks-over-knives-movie-poster1Forks Over Knives

According to the research of two food scientists, the popularity of processed foods has led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

Watch Now: 


Inspiring and rich, Ingredients unearths the roots of the local food movement and digs into the stories of the world-class chefs, sustainability-minded farmers and impassioned activists transforming our broken food system.

Watch Now: 

in-organic-we-trustIn Organic We Trust

Our food system is broken: Is Organic the answer? It’s time to reveal the true meaning of organic and look beyond the label for solutions. Change is happening from the soil up.

Watch Now: 

our-daily-poisonOur Daily Poison

Pesticides, additives, food coloring and packaging. A topic concerning each and every one of us. This is an investigative documentary that sets out to answer this question and reviews many scientific studies that have been largely ignored.

Watch Now: 

Food-Fight-poster-newFood Fight

A fascinating look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the California food movement rebelled against big agribusiness to launch the local organic food movement.

Watch Now: 

river-of-wasteA River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth About Factory Farms

A heart-stopping documentary, “A River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth About Factory Farms” exposes a huge health and environmental scandal in our modern industrial system of meat and poultry production.

Watch Now: 

Health Documentaries

SupersizePosterWBleed2.inddSuper Size Me

Director Morgan Spurlock takes a hilarious and often terrifying look at the effects of fast food on the human body, using himself as a guinea pig.

Watch Now:

fat-sick-and-nearly-deadFat, Sick, & Nearly Dead

Focusing on two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, this documentary chronicles the rigorous healing path — including a two-month diet of fruits and vegetables — that both attempt in a bid to rescue their health.

Watch Now: 

Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead 2 is available as well.

fed-up-documentaryFed Up

This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes of childhood obesity, which has become an ever-more serious medical issue in America.

Watch Now:

vaccines-calling-the-shotsVaccines: Calling The Shots

“Nova” examines the science behind vaccines and how diseases that were virtually eradicated are making a comeback thanks to anti-vaccine sentiment.

Watch Now:

Ken Burns: Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

ken-burns-cancerThis historical examination of cancer spans from ancient times to the present with stories of patients and a look at advances that may lead to a cure.


Watch Now:


This documentary explores the declining efficacy of antibiotics and the recent alarming rise of drug-resistant microbes — so-called “superbugs.”

Watch Now:

defying-diseaseTEDTalks: Defying Disease

Can we outsmart Mother Nature to cure some of the world’s deadliest diseases? These TED speakers propose some astonishing solutions.

Watch Now:


Chemerical is an entertaining and informative documentary about the products we use to clean our homes and bodies.

Watch Now: 

Human_ExperimentThe Human Experiment

Personal stories shed light on the lethal effects of chemicals we use every day and the uphill battle against the industrial giants who create them.

Watch Now: 

Gardening Documentaries

dirt-documentaryDirt! The Movie

Dirt! The Movie is an astonishing, humorous and substantial look at the glorious and unappreciated ground beneath our feet. Dirt! reveals how repairing our relationship with dirt can create new possibilities for all life on earth.

Watch Now: 

seeds-of-timeThe Seeds of Time

This documentary follows agriculturalist Cary Fowler as he stockpiles seeds from around the globe in hopes of averting a future worldwide famine.

Watch Now:

Homesteader Living

TruckFarmTruck Farm

The wild world of urban agriculture as told through the journey of a 1986 Dodge pickup that has been transformed into a rolling garden.

Watch Now: 

the-organic-lifeThe Organic Life

Following a year in the life of Austin, a hopeful organic farmer, and his skeptical girlfriend Casey, this illuminating doc chronicles farm living and shows not only who grows your food, but also how it is grown.

Watch Now: 

The First SeasonThe First Season

Directed by Rudd Simmons (producer of High Fidelity, The Royal Tennenbaums, and Boardwalk Empire) The First Season is a documentary about the trials and tribulations of a couple attempting to survive their first season as dairy farmers.

Watch Now: 

Craigslist-Joe-2012-movie-posterCraigslist Joe

Exploring whether America still has a sense of community, a man spends a month depending on the goodness of Craigslist posters for his survival.

Watch Now:

tiny-houseTiny: A Story About Living Small

A young couple with no construction experience attempts to build a tiny house in this documentary that contemplates shifting American values.

Watch Now:

filthy-richFilthy Riches

Across America, independent entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty make a living by harvesting eels, worms, wild mushrooms and more.

Watch Now:

Mountain-Men-2012-movie-posterMountain Men

From the Great North Woods of Maine to the Alaska North Slope, a group of men live off the land and experience survival in its simplest form.

Watch Now:

dr-bronners-magic-soapboxDr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox

Documentary filmmaker Sara Lamm explores the life of the mental institute escapee, master soap-maker, and self-proclaimed rabbi whose all-natural soap would become a counter-culture cleaning product sensation and a staple of health food stores everywhere.

Watch Now: 

Fireplace 4K: Crackling Birchwood Fire

fireplace 4kOK, so it’s not exactly a documentary.

But, this *is* 60 minutes of glorious fireplace. Sometimes you just gotta turn off the TV, ya know?

Watch Now:

Hanna RanchHanna Ranch

Cattleman Kirk Hanna struggled to protect a once prominent way of life in Colorado. Born into ranch life, Hanna became a leader in the environmental ranching movement, setting out to protect encroachment of development and misuse.

Watch Now: 

TEDTalks: Life Hack

tedtalks-life-hacksPower poses, memorizing long numbers, the connection between happiness and productivity, sleep, and more ‘life hacks’ you can use throughout your day.

Watch Now: 

Energy & Sustainability Documentaries

bottled-lifeBottled Life

Journalist Res Gehriger investigates how Swiss-based corporation Nestle has plundered the world’s water resources in the name of big business.

Watch Now:

revenge-of-the-electric-carRevenge of the Electric Car

Revenge of the Electric Car goes behind the closed doors of the automobile industry to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars.

Watch Now: 


After World War II, consumer tastes and government policy steer America into a fateful reliance on oil-fueled technology that must and can be broken.

Watch Now: 


Josh Fox examines the negative effects of natural-gas drilling, from poisoned water sources to unhealthy animals.

Watch Now:

Chasing_Ice_posterChasing Ice

Environmental photographer James Balog deploys time-lapse cameras to capture a multiyear record of the world’s changing glaciers.

Watch Now:

the-island-president-poster01The Island President

During his presidency of the Maldive Islands, Mohamed Nasheed fights to prevent rising ocean levels from inundating his low-lying archipelago nation.

Watch Now:

frack-nationFrack Nation

Journalist Phelim McAleer sets out to discover the truth behind fracking, the controversial method of natural gas extraction.

Watch Now:


Exploring the force that sustains all life, this documentary brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water.

Watch Now:

flow-documentaryFlow: For The Love of Water

Oscilloscope Laboratories presents Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis – and asks, “Can anyone really own water?”

Watch Now: 

powerful-documentaryPowerful: Energy For Everyone

Powerful showcases the remarkable achievements and inspiring examples of people and communities pursuing a path of conservation and renewable energy. It explores the obstacles they encounter and introduces power players.

Watch Now: 


Eleven years in the making, FUEL is the in-depth personal journey of filmmaker and eco-evangelist Josh Ticknell, who takes us on a hip, fast-paced road trip into America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Watch Now: 


GasHole is a new documentary film about the history of oil prices and the future of alternative fuels.  Narrated by Peter Gallagher, the film features  a wide range of viewpoints including the US Department of Energy.

Watch Now: 

Plastic-Paradise-documentaryPlastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The invention of synthetic plastic created an era of disposable products. Watertight and endlessly malleable, plastic is the perfect invention. Yet, its miraculous durability is also its curse because it never goes away.

Watch Now: 

ecological-design-inventing-the-future-documentaryEcological Design: Inventing the Future

This film illuminates the emergence of ecological design in the 20th Century. Featured are the ideas and prototypes of pioneering designers who have trail-blazed the development of sustainable architecture, cities, energy systems, transport, and industry.

Watch Now: 

Animal & Livestock Documentaries

natural-history-of-the-chicken-documentaryThe Natural History of the Chicken

Although chicken is a staple in the diet of most Americans, the history of this tasty bird has yet to be really explored — until now.

Watch Now:

more-than-honey-documentaryMore Than Honey

Already hailed as a definitive work on the subject, this comprehensive documentary examines the disappearance of honeybee populations worldwide.

Watch Now:

vanishing-of-the-beesVanishing of The Bees

This documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a puzzling phenomenon: a dwindling world honeybee population.

Watch Now:

mystery-of-the-disappearing-bees-documentaryThe Mystery of the Disappearing Bees

An investigation into a worldwide ecological disaster that could endanger the whole of humanity. The future of our food resources depends on one small insect – the western honey bee, or Apis mellifera.

Watch Now: 


Learn how factory farming is decimating the planet’s natural resources — and why this crisis has been largely ignored by major environmental groups.

Watch Now:

TEDTalks: Animal Voices

animal-voices-documentaryPeer inside the minds of animals to gain understanding of their behavior and mental health, as well as the impact humans play in their well-being.

Watch Now:

the-life-of-birds-documentaryThe Life of Birds

Researchers traverse the globe, exploring 42 countries and examining more than 300 species of birds in David Attenborough’s lively documentary series.

Watch Now:

Insect Documentaries

TEDTalks: Beasts, Bugs & Bio-wilderment

beasts-bugs-and-biowilderment-documentaryThese discussions unpack new ideas about creatures great and small, and the stories behind these organisms’ past, present and struggles.

Watch Now:


Using microscopic cameras and special microphones, this French documentary is a fascinating look at the world of insects and other minute creatures.

Watch Now:

gathering-swarms-documentaryNature: The Gathering Swarm

Explore the worldwide phenomenon of swarm intelligence, as creatures from ants to wildebeest come together in huge numbers with a single purpose.

Watch Now:

the-private-life-of-deer--documentaryNature: The Private Life of Deer

Just a century ago, there were an estimated 1 million deer living on the North American continent; now their numbers exceed 30 million.

Watch Now:

Community, World, & Lifestyle Documentaries

project-wild-thing-documentaryProject Wild Thing

Disturbed by his kids’ reliance on electronics, a dad appoints himself nature’s marketing director and launches a campaign to get children outside.

Watch Now:


Happy takes viewers on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy.

Watch Now:

TEDTalks: How To Start A Movement

ted-talks-how-to-start-a-movementWith optimism and hope, social activists present tactics for motivating change in governments, businesses, domestic situations and other struggles.

Watch Now:

Happy-People-A-Year-in-the-Taiga-posterHappy People: A Year In The Taiga

This documentary explores life along the River Yenisei in Russia, where the industrious inhabitants of a rural village truly live off the land.

Watch Now:

On The Way To School

On The Way To School-documentaryIn this inspiring documentary, four children from disparate environments around the globe face daunting challenges as they make their way to school.


Watch Now:

river-of-wasteWaste Land

Renowned artist Vik Muniz joins Brazilian garbage pickers who mine treasure from the trash heaps of Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho landfill.

Watch Now:

TEDTalks: Humanity’s Future

humantys-future-ted-talks-documentaryBold predictions and stern warnings — are we heading for a final countdown or a new frontier? These TED presenters peer into mankind’s future.

Watch Now:

bike-city-documentaryBike City, Great City

Great cities for cycling are better places for everyone. Bike City, Great City is an uplifting ride through cities that are embracing cycling as a liberating, convenient and healthy way to get where you want to go.

Watch Now: 

terms-and-conditions-may-apply-documentaryTerms And Conditions May Apply

Through interviews with technology thought leaders and futurists, this timely documentary examines the erosion of privacy in the digital age.

Watch Now:

free-the-mind-documentaryFree The Mind

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson explores using yoga and meditation to ease the suffering of two war veterans with PTSD and a child with anxiety.

Watch Now:

Science & Nature Documentaries

The Inexplicable Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson

neil-degrasse-tyson-inexplicable-universeHost Tyson reveals how cutting-edge technology enables modern scientists to explore the wonders of the universe as never before.


Watch Now:

TEDTalks: Inexplicable Connections

ted-talks-inexplicable-connections-documentaryA mushroom suit? Light bulbs that transmit data? Watch TED speakers make ingenious, unexpected solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.

Mushroom suits? Very cool.

Watch Now:

natures-greatest-events-documentaryNature’s Great Events

This series looks at how seasonal changes cause shifting weather patterns and ocean currents, creating the conditions for spectacular wildlife events.

Watch Now:

hidden-kingdoms-documentaryHidden Kingdoms

The world is a big, dangerous place for these small creatures. Zoom in to see the daily lives of these tiny animals within their hidden environments.

Watch Now:


This documentary reveals the ecological cost of two centuries of American dam building, from degraded waterways to the loss of wildlife habitat.

Watch Now:

Business & Politics Documentaries

capital-c-documentaryCapital C

Three independent creators use the hottest new tool for raising money, crowdfunding, to try to make their dreams come true in the digital age.

Watch Now:

TEDTalks: The Capitalism Paradox

the-capitalism-paradox-documentaryAs the world economy muddles through “the great recession,” how will capitalism reinvent itself? TED speakers place their bets and discuss prosperity.

Watch Now:

citizen-koch-documentaryCitizen Koch

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, this film explores the mounting struggle between money and American democracy.

Watch Now:

Back to Eden

Organic gardener and master arborist Paul Gautschi shares the story of his 55 years in sustainable horticulture. He’s a homesteader who raises crops that sustain his family and friends.


Watch Now: 

Documentaries No Longer Streaming

We couldn’t find these documentaries streaming anymore, but they’ve been available in the past and are worth checking out:

So, what did we miss?

Leave a comment below with any documentaries you’d recommend!

Written by Kane Jamison

Kane is the founder of Insteading. He lives on his own urban homestead with his family in West Seattle.


Leave a Reply
  1. Thank you for this AWESOME list!!! Life Below Zero is actually still streamed on Netflix. We watch it every evening, and hope they continue filming!!!

  2. What a great and complete list! I was going to write a post about this but you have it covered so I will just share yours at My Homestead Life!
    I love that you included Commercial. I have the DVD but it was hard to get my hands on.
    Another one I live is DIVE- it’s about food waste and dumpster diving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Solar Panels For Off-Grid Living

Handmade wooden serving spoons

Beautiful Handmade Wooden Spoons