Food, Inc: It doesn’t have to be this way

July 19, 2009 at 10:23 am 6 comments

By now you’ve read about or seen Food, Inc., Robbie Kenner’s compelling documentary about what’s gone wrong with American agriculture. The movie vividly illustrates what conscientious consumers already suspect: A handful of corporations control our mainstream food supply from genetically-modified seed through petro-chemical/anti-biotic laden production, corn syrup-based processing and carbon-heavy transport to misleading advertising and deceptively cheap, tax-payer subsidized pricing. This ain’t good for us or the environment.

Seeing this saga unfold on a big screen starring Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and Joel Salatin drives the point home. I staggered out of the theatre feeling the same sense of shame I experienced after seeing Michael Moore’s Sicko, about our disgraceful health insurance system.

My only worry about Food Inc. is that it’s probably being seen primarily by the already converted. This is why I recommend viewing it with a friend who doesn’t understand why you go out of your way to eat primarily local, fresh, basically organic fare. You’ll leave with plenty to talk about.

The moral outrage meter soars as the film reminds us that Agri-Biz really doesn’t want us to know how our food is produced or what’s actually in it. They’re not stupid: If more people fully grasped how uhealthy factory farm food is for people who produce and eat it, they would demand something better ASAP.

And that’s exactly what we should do. We have two recourses to this ongoing food nightmare:

First, insist that President Obama and Congress balance federal ag subsidies, with more $ going to real-food farmers who sustain us and less to the Big Ag growers who hurt us. And how about a School Lunch Program that provides more healthy food and less junk?

Second, show your friends that a sustainable diet is no big deal. Explain why they should try eating fresh, local cuisine more often. Buy direct from a farmer, through a Farmer’s Market or CSA. Join a natural food co-op. Grow some veggies in a home garden or patio/rooftop containers. Cook more often. And when you do dine out, patronize the eateries that promote local farms.

A healthy local  diet does not have to be expensive. Our household is living on much less these days (thanks to the global recession), but by cooking simple food raised close to home we’re eating better than ever.

I’m not expecting an overnight revolution. But if consumers increase demand for healthy fare one meal at a time, and keep pressure on policymakers to support the sustainable stuff, we might be able to affect positive change, before it’s too late.

As the film says, you get to vote on food policy three times a day. Don’t waste your ballot and your money on the bad guys.

Entry filed under: Learning, Politics/ Policy, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food. Tags: , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bill844  |  July 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I agree with your response to the movie and I hope it motivates folks to take action. I was impressed by the comments of my teenaged son who went with me to the Colony Theater screening. He saw Joel Salatin as the movie’s hero. I think that’s right. One powerful message from the movie was Big Food is tough on farmers. Salatin has clearly found a place in his local sustainable food community and is a voice arguing for a new way. I would call him and our North Carolina farmers who follow similar practices heroes.

    • 2. sustainablegrub  |  July 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm

      You son’s right about Joel and you’re right about our sustainable farmers. They’re saving us from having to eat the bad stuff and they deserve much more support.

  • 3. Angelina  |  July 21, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I can’t wait for the DVD release on November 3 this year. I’ll share with everyone I know. Food, Inc. is a great easy way to expose some of the horrific Big Ag practices.

    You have a great blog Dee – I share it with everyone.
    Keep up the awesome effort. And we’ll keep buying all the food possible from small local farmers. Chatham County farmers ROCK !


    • 4. sustainablegrub  |  July 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks, Angelina. You’re the best and we’re lucky to have you in the community!

  • 5. Bill Bartmann  |  September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Cool site, love the info.

    • 6. sustainablegrub  |  September 3, 2009 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks, Bill. I hope you keep reading.


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