Oh, there are a number of similarities between the two films. Both contain horror stories and uplifting stories. Both have appearances from Michael Pollan and Virginia farmer Joel Salatin. In case you have missed both films and the "Omnivore's Dilemma" (written by Pollan), Salatin is an upbeat, knowledgeable farmer whose father took over not-so-great farmland in Virginia. As Salatin puts it, "we're farming grass, not animals."
Salatin seems more celebrity than farmer these days, but he is an effective spokesperson. George Naylor, who has fought against the negative impacts of genetically modified crops, is also in both movies.
"Fresh" does spend time on the horrors of chicken farming, interviewing the amusingly named Mr. and Mrs. Fox, who apparently guard the henhouse. The interviews make you feel sorry for the couple; they almost seem like they don't want to be doing what they do. As Mrs. Fox describes how she is forced into signing a 7-year contract, you wonder why she doesn't just chuck it all.
There are some scenes to convey how poorly the chickens are treated, similar to "Food, Inc." but without as much drama.
Michael Pollan's contributions are similar to the ones in "Food, Inc." He is the prominent voice telling us how bad things are. But Pollan's take on monoculture sounded new, how bad it is when you have too much growing of one crop — corn, soybeans are the most common — and how in case of a natural disaster, having locally grown food might be what saves us from a horrible scenario.
So why spend time seeing "Fresh"? If you've seen "Food, Inc." in the theaters, you might have come out feeling depressed. "Fresh" spends more time making you feel good about what we can do.
There is the story of Will Allen, a former basketball player who played in Europe. Allen runs an urban oasis of vertical farming. We see his large hands sifting through mounds of dirt filled with worms. Good soil in urban areas is not easy to find, but he "grows" his own soil. He has 3 acres in the heart of Milwaukee, not an area you would associate with farming.
Allen, like Salatin, is a very good spokesperson. In "Fresh," Allen spoke of making sure that this bountiful locally grown food is "not just for the rich." This is a message touched upon briefly in "Food, Inc." where the haves know what's out there and have easy access to it, and the have-nots aren't even in the same zone.
We also see the story of Good Natured, an alliance of 75 farms in Kansas City. We see a supermarket that displays produce and other farm products with the farm's name next to the food, so you literally know who grew this food in front of you. A beautiful visualization that makes the impact that the food is literally local, and the farmer has a name.
I don't normally review films, and none of this constitutes an endorsement. But if your knowledge is underwhelming, or if you want to find out what your possibilities are, "Fresh" would be worth going to see, even if it may be a bit more difficult to find than "Food, Inc." "Fresh" is so fresh that imdb.com doesn't have a listing for the movie.
The lack of visibility for both movies is an ongoing tragedy since the people who really need to see these films are the audience least likely to know about them or have access to see them.