The Smell of Money is an eye-opening and powerful documentary that delves deep into the heart of eastern North Carolina, uncovering a tale of resilience, justice, and the fight against environmental injustice perpetrated by Big Pork. The film introduces viewers to Elsie Herring, a determined woman who stands at the forefront of a battle against the world’s largest pork company, exposing the true cost of cheap pork production.

The documentary takes us on a poignant journey as Elsie and her rural community unite with a fearless small-town lawyer, embarking on a nine-year legal battle against the pork industry. We watch the gripping narrative unfold as they risk everything to reclaim their fundamental rights – clean air, pure water, and a life free from the stench of pollution.

The film skillfully weaves a triumphant tale of family and community, showcasing the power of ordinary people to challenge even the most powerful corporations. The Smell of Money compels viewers to see beyond what’s on their plates, understand they have the buying power to determine the quality of people’s lives and call them to join the fight for a better future.

One of the film’s central themes is environmental racism, shedding light on the disproportionate exposure to pollution faced by marginalized communities in eastern North Carolina. This timely focus aligns with the broader conversations surrounding racism and underscores the urgent need for change.

Director Shawn Bannon and a dedicated film team bring to life the sordid history of the American South’s “Black Belt” in North Carolina. The documentary captures the state’s economic, demographic, and political tensions, serving as a microcosm of national and global challenges.

The film’s impact is further heightened by the heartbreaking revelation of Elsie’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, directly linked to pollution from factory farms. This personal tragedy adds a visceral layer to the documentary, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the environmental and health risks associated with industrial farming.

The Smell of Money succeeds not only in exposing the dark underbelly of capitalism but also in emphasizing the interconnectedness of our food system’s impact on people and the planet. The film encourages viewers to reflect on their consumer choices and consider the profound consequences of supporting industries that prioritize profit over the well-being of communities.

In memory of Elsie Herring and other crusaders such as Don Webb, who have fought against environmental injustice, The Smell of Money stands as a rallying cry for justice, inviting audiences to engage in the ongoing battle for a cleaner, healthier future. With its revealing story, powerful visuals, and a brave call to action, this documentary is a must-watch that resonates on a global scale. At its heart, it’s about the transformative power of justice, love, and community resilience.

The film includes conversations with advocates such as Senator Cory Booker and others who have been negatively impacted by the pork industry and will open your eyes to a world that needs major changes. Written and produced by Jamie Berger, from executive producer Kate Mara and Academy Award® Winners Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe, The Smell of Money is available on video on demand everywhere.