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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Food Inc.

Last night Matt and I went to see Food Inc. at the Cinema Arts center. If you can any tiny bit about the future of our food, environment, or your wallet I strongly urge you to see this film. I've been working on a lot of research dealing with food policy and agribusiness, and believe me there are some very scary things out there, these big companies do not want consumers knowing about the food they are eating.
I will say right now, this film is intense. Mind you I have seen much similar footage, and read many articles about issues addressed in the film. But let me tell you, reading it and seeing it are two totally different things.
This film is broken up into chapters, and deals with several issues: genetic engineering of foods,
cloning, food worker protection, environmental impact, food borne illness, factory farming, pesticides,
and healthy eating to name a few. The chapter on factory farming really got me, seeing the conditions
that my food had been living in. Chickens are crammed into pens and never see the light of day.
Their breasts so large they collapse under their own weight after taking just a few steps, from being
pumped full of growth hormones. Seeing the way this big companies like Tyson,
treat the farmers raising their chicken, really aggravated me.
Then there is Monsanto. Monsanto is the Agri-Devil. Monsanto, who dominates
the farming industry, sells seeds, corn and soy are the big ones, to small farmers with strict contractual
guidelines. They do not allow farmers to "clean" seeds, or save the seeds from the years harvest for next
seasons crops. In fact they will go after farmers who do such, and even have a special investigation unit
like the FBI to find out who does. Taking it even further, they will go after farmers who have Monsanto
seeds that have blown on to their property.
There is also a companion book called Food Inc. out too. This is a nice little refrence
guide of everything you see in the movie, and more details. Good for those moments when you
are trying to remember something you saw and wanted to know more about.
The book is broken up into three parts. Making the movie, the issues, and what you can do.
In the isuses and what you can do section there are short essays written by various food writers,
such Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle to name a few.
Watching the film really drove these things you already know home. Seeing the factory farms, hearing about how Monsanto screws farmers, and hearing the story of a four year old who died of E coli really makes you think about all the problems with our food industry.
People need to see more of a connection as to where the food they eat comes from, this film will do just that. Following the path your food takes is quite an eye opening experience. I'm certain that the path you think your food take is different from the path it actually does.
This movie has really inspired me that I can make changes in the worlds food system.
While I cannot single handedly change the world, I know that what I buy makes a difference.
Hell, If Wal-mart see that consumers are demanding organics and suppling their customers
with them, that says something about the power of your spending dollars!
(Please though don't buy at Wal-mart, shop Mom and Pop!)

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