Wifey and I sat down and watched Food, Inc. last night, and it's something everyone should watch. I don't normally make too big a deal out of movies I see - mostly because there are literally thousands of review of everything out there from people who care more and will put more detail in that I would. I mention them on this blog every once in a while more for my own personal reference so I can recall how I felt about something more than necessarily wanting to share.
Food, Inc., though, is different.
It's not that I necessarily learned all that much from it or was overly shocked by anything in there - I've read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. There wasn't anything in the movie that was overly different as far as theme. The examples were different, slightly updated, and dependent on what they could get on camera as opposed to just Schlosser on his own with a notepad and a tape recorder, but the idea was the same: mega corporations have perverted what we eat on a daily basis.
So what made the movie so powerful? Video has that ability. I can read the book and have my own visions in my head of the stockyards and the process of making french fries, but when you see it on the screen in vivid color it blows away anything I had in my head (maybe my imagination just blows, but it sure can't compete with the Blu Ray version playing on my widescreen LCD TV).
The treatment of the animals on the farms as mandated by corporations like Tyson is wrong to me from a human perspective, though corporately it makes some sense if you clearly look at it from that point of view. It's not something I support, but I can see the point of view. I can't at all see the justifications with how Smithfield treats their workers, or how Monsanto treats soybean farmers. And of course, I'm not surprised at all none of those companies agreed to be interviewed for the movie. It's a no-win scenario for them. They know the premise, they know that no matter what they say on camera in that setting they will come off negative. Part of that is because the justifications they use aren't able to be backed up with facts, but still.
Wifey and I are proponents of the slow food ideals, for the most part. We shop our farmer's market and give an edge to locally produced foods when we shop at the grocery store. We enjoy going to local restaurants, bakeries, and food carts who share the same feelings, but I'd be lying if I tried to lead you to belive it was because of 100% altruistic feelings on our part.
Sure, it's all good that it's generally better for the environment, that it cuts down on fuel and energy usage and all that, but the real truth of it is this stuff simply tastes better. It's moderately more expensive to buy organic, but I do believe in the long-term health benefits (on faith, obviously, at my age) and I like my food better. The fruits and vegetables taste better and the meats are yummier as well. It could all be in my head, but I truly believe the few extra dollars it costs to get the local, organic, grass-fed, free-range foods are better.
At the same time, I would also be lying if I said this is the only factor in determining what we buy - and it goes back to yumminess as well as something even more simple: availability.
It's all well and good, but the simple fact is if you subscribe exclusively to a F.L.O.S.S. eating plan (Fresh, Local, Organic, Sustainable, Seasonal) you are going to miss out on a lot of good stuff.
For example, I live in the Portland area. If I were to completely give myself over to a slow food/F.L.O.S.S. way of eating, I'd never get coffee again. It doesn't exactly grow around here. Personally, I like my Kona beans I buy from Hawaii. Those beans are FLOSSy for Kona, but for me they are 3,000 miles away - not so FLOSSy. The fishing of Copper River King Salmon is closely watched by the local government in Alaska for sustainability, but that doesn't change the fact it's a long ways from Portland. And this one doesn't specifically apply to me, but a lot of people love their Guinness from Ireland - they don't bottle that anywhere else.
This movie isn't going to change anyone's life - or it might, I don't know - but what it will do is make you think long and hard about your own choices. You may change a bit, you might not - but you will think about it. It's something everyone should see.