Sunday, May 23, 2010

Time for change-Watch Food, Inc.

     My family has had an amazing weekend with both my moms here and our other long distance teenage daughter.  After the craziness of yesterday; bike race, bridal shower, 3 graduation open houses (this is what happens when your husband works with youth in several different capacities) and a feast of a dinner that I whipped up last night-today (Sunday) was a day to kick back a little.  I've still managed to do some loads of laundry, hanging some on the line outside to dry and finishing yesterdays dishes, I was able to read in our backyard hammock for over an hour-I did fall asleep for some of that time but oh, well!  As the wind blew up and seemed destined to storm we headed inside to watch Food, Inc., which has been on our shelf for some time now.  We've seen Fast Food Nation  and read several books on the food crisis in our country but this one brought added knowledge as well as frustration, fear and a renewed interest in making the best food choices we can make.  This topic generally brings wrath and fury from odd places but it is one of such great magnitude-we eat every day and it seems like a basic human right to know the food we are eating will not kill us. 

If you are unfamiliar with Food, Inc. written by Robert Kenner- here is a synopsis from IMDb:

Did you know that it only takes 48 days for a chicken to go to market. Is this natural? This film explores how food is grown, and the concerns that people have, such as the e-coli outbreak that seems to happen every year. I am a lover of meat, but after this film you will want to change some of your practices like switching to Organic etc. This film also explores demand for certain products that are not Genetically modified.

We all have to eat but we can make decisions based on facts, instead of based on perception. People need to be aware that their consequences may have dire repercussions, so if you need to eat, and we all do, then go out and see this.


     I've been a local  food advocate for years, which began at my grandmother's sink, watching her rinse vegetables from the grocery store in her sink with a cold water bath mixed with some vinegar (who needs that fancy veggie spray).  I feel blessed to come from a long line of happy gardeners, who've paid attention to where food comes from.  I'm a huge fan of any farmer's market and have made my husband stop, while on vacation, at fruit and veggie stands just to pick up some local produce and he does, because he has a similar family background.  This movie made clear again how important it is to know where our food comes from because everyday chemical companies are selling us processed food for profit.Of course they are trying to make a profict-they're in business-but it is hard to fathom how deep it runs and how they just do not care. 

    This documentary traces our food controversy to Iowa corn farmers and the farm bill, which gave birth to High Fructose Corn Syrup (a very yucky sugar substitute made from corn and produced to make food cheaper to purchase).  Since my husband is a runner,  he read about HFCS and how prevalent it is so many, many products.  Check your bread, cereals, granola bars-even things you might think of as "healthy" and you still might find the dreaded HFCS as one of the number one ingredients.
    The meat industry is the next focus and how all that "cheap" Iowa corn is shipped across the country to cattle feed lots.  Cows aren't meant to eat corn and we are forever changing species to fit the needs of these huge companies.  Chickens farms (those massive productions) run by Tyson and Purdue are shown up close.  One farmer takes us  inside her huge chicken house and shows how many of the birds die (so many crammed together) but also how these poor chickens can hardly walk more than a few steps because they've been genetically modified to have larger breasts.  The chickens literally topple over after a step or two.  This is the part where I start talking to the" television"!!
Much of the same ground is covered in  Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock and King Korn, though Food Inc. presents a broader picture of our food problems and as my son said, "this should be required high school viewing."  People need to know this stuff so if you haven't watched this movie or any others about our deterioting food systems, I encourage you to watch one because one will lead to another as  you will want to know a little more.  It is disgusting but crucial and critical. 
Many of us can make a difference with our buying power-everyday.

Take a stand; Take a difference.

Plant a garden.
Buy local.
Support farmer's markets
and local farmers.
Buy organic.
Read labels.
Take a step away from fast food.

     Pay attention to legistation about food. Within the last few years the word" natural" lost any real meaning. Products sold as natural do not really have to be natural...just partially natural. what ??? i'm not kidding!
Spend time online researching companies where your food comes from-many of them have slick ads showing
how green they are, what great strides they are making but browsing websites gives you articles such as this one.
Other helpful websites/blogs:

Local (helps locate a local market/CSA near you)
The Healthy Palate blog-I discovered this lovely little blog while researching this post.
Moms Rising website/blog
Okay, I've had my say...
Have a healthy Monday!!
Next up in our informative movie viewing-The Cove.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I wood like this FOOD book I believe. I just finished Slow Death by Rubber Duck, and it was an eye opener. I need to do my review. EVERYONE should read this one.

Janssen said...

I have this on hold at the library (and have for MONTHS) - can't wait for it to come in!