Eat something organic before you head to see Food, Inc., the provocative new documentary from filmmaker Robert Kenner, featuring authors Michael Pollan (An Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) because you surely won’t want to eat after watching it.
The film serves up a stomach-churning look inside the highly mechanized world of food production, from chickens that never see daylight to cows forced to stand all day in their own feces. Even seemingly innocent soybeans are revealed to be “patented” by chemical giant Monsanto in their effort to control seed production and independent farmers.
Perhaps even more disturbing than the shocking reality of modern food production gone awry is that the agencies (FDA, USDA) that are supposedly there to protect us are in cahoots with the handful of corporations that put profit ahead of our health, the livelihood of the American farmer, and the safety of workers and our own environment.
Interspersed among the food borne illnesses and soul-less, window-less factories are interviews with colorful social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin. Says local hero Salatin,“Imagine what it would be if, as a national policy, we said we would be only successful if we had fewer people going to the hospital next year than last year? The idea then would be to have such nutritionally dense, unadulterated food that people who ate it actually felt better, had more energy and weren’t sick as much… now, see, that’s a noble goal.”
Besides strengthening my resolve to not eat processed food and to support local producers whenever possible, the take-away for me was that we must pay even closer attention to what we are eating and why. Vote with your wallet by choosing locally grown food and organics, eschew mass-produced meats, corn syrup laden snacks and genetically modified produce. We can’t afford not to.