I know, this is my third post relating to Food, Inc. I thought I should write a review of the documentary since I posted I was going to be seeing it. I also read the companion book, as posted.
I had some preconceived notions about what I thought the movie would be covering. I knew there would be feedlots with gruesome photos of cows, hogs and chickens in crammed quarters. I knew that I would enjoy the narrative of the film as I have read Eric Schlosser ( Fast Food Nation ), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma and I am now reading his In Defense Of Food) and they were all contributors to the film.
What I didn't realize is how much I didn't know about how industrialized food is making us sicker, fatter and poorer and that we can do something about this.
The film isn't just about food. It's about threats to the First Amendment and how the food companies suppress the truth. Not one food company agreed to be interviewed for this film. The farmers were afraid to be filmed; afraid of the food companies. There is a chicken farmer who agreed to be filmed and lost her Tyson contract.
She states that Americans now want large breasts from the chickens. Tyson has now genetically engineered these chickens to grow to full maturity in 39 days. From an egg to a 5-6 pound chicken in 39 days! The breasts are so big and heavy that they can't carry themselves. Their legs are too weak. They take two steps and fall down. The woman is beside herself. She can't do this anymore.
The film shows how farmers are coerced into signed contracts with the Big 4. The Big 4. There are really only 4 companies that grow, produce and sell food us. Most of our food is now chemically engineered.
Monsanto (created Agent Orange) I can't believe what they have done..continue to do..and get away with it. They created RoundUp. All farmers were instructed by the government to use RoundUp on their crops. The only problem, RoundUp killed the seed as well. Guess what? Monsanto created a seed that wasn't killed by RoundUp. Farmers were instructed to use this seed. This seed was patented. You couldn't wash the seed and use it again, you had to be rid of the seed and repurchase every year from Monsanto. "Seed Washers" have been around for years. Seed washers would was the farmers seed so that the farmer could use it again. Now, if a farmer is caught washing his seed he is sued. The film shows a seed washer going to court. He's washed seed for years and years. Monsanto sues him. Takes everything. The seed washer had to settle mid hearing as he went bankrupt. If you haven't signed a contract with Monsanto and a seed blows into your farm you must pay Monsanto because that seed is in your soil. Nice company this Monsanto.
The film also went into how the governments subsidies to those that grow corn, how cheap corn is to grow, why it is found in everything from genetically engineered foods to batteries.
We learn that f+cking McDonald's is the largest buyer of beef and how they need all the beef to taste the same, all the cows need to be fed the cheap inferior chicken droppings, their own manure and corn at the feedlots so it all tastes the same. Problem is many of us don't want McDonald's beef. Too bad, that's what you get in the supermarket.
The film made me angry. Very angry. We see a family that has very little income. The family members are heavy, Dad has diabetes. They need to feed 4 people. It's cheaper to go to McDonald's and feed all four of them that it is to go to their high priced grocery store and buy fruit, veggies and meat. Sad. Real sad.
Eventually we get to learn about organic farmers. An organic farmer who became the number one maker of yogurt and then sold to Dannon; but is still CEO of Stoneyfield. We see another organic farmer who will not compromise his quality for quantity. People drive for hours to buy his produce, free range chickens, hogs and cattle.
The anger ebbs and I learn what I can do to change this. I can continue to purchase my beef from my farmer 2 miles down the road. My beef, my pork. I can continue to purchase my eggs and chickens from Tyler's friend..organically fed, free range chickens. I can continue to plant and harvest my own garden, I will continue to purchase from my CSA (community supported agriculture). Do you know about CSA's? You buy from your local farmer..they drop off a box of veggies/fruits each week..whatever is in season at the time. Fabulous! I can continue to shop Whole Foods when necessary and my farmers market.
We can make a difference. The ending of the movie reiterates this. You vote with your fork! I love that. YOU make changes, the farmers will too.
This link is to the CSA's in MN. It is really nice to see that many of them are sold out for the season. People are making the right decisions.