Live in America? Eat food? Watch Food, Inc. - one of the most important films of this decade.
As American consumers, few of us have any idea how our food comes to be. Food, Inc. details the industrial farming of plants and meat in America, and documents, with unapologetic grit, how a few large companies have come to control the vast majority of what we eat, affecting our health, economy, environment, and society.
Basically a more thorough, helpful film version of Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, fictionalized in film in 2006, Schlosser, Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma), Polyface Farms owner Joel Salatin, and others share their research and knowledge of industrial farming. Others share personal stories - a mother whose son died of E. Coli earlier this decade; a union organizer questioning why individual illegal immigrants rather than the corporations who helped them come here are targeted by government raids.
The film is rife with disturbing footage and facts - it takes 75 gallons of oil to produce the average cow, which typically spends much of its life in massive feedlots knee-deep in manure - but the filmmaker provides signs of hope and tips on how to eat well while supporting companies that value health and life, including some helpful, easy-to-follow tips at the end of the film:
"You can vote to change this system three times a day.
Buy from companies that treat workers, animals and the environment with respect.
When you go to the supermarket: choose foods that are in season, buy foods that are organic, know what's in your food.
Read labels. Know what you buy.
The average meal travels 15,000 miles from the farm to the supermarket. Buy foods that are grown locally.
Shop at farmer's markets.
Plant a garden.
Cook a meal with your family and eat together.
Everybody has a right to healthy food. Make sure your farmer's markets take food stamps. Ask your school board to provide healthy school lunches.
The FDA and USDA are supposed to protect you and your family. Tell Congress to enforce food safety standards and to re-introduce Kevin's Law [see the movie for details].
- If you say grace, ask for food that will keep us, and the planet, healthy.
You can change the world with every bite."
One of the easiest ways to make change in the food system (check the Food, Inc. site for more tips) is to stop eating so much meat - foregoing even one meat-based meal a week makes a difference; visit the PB & J Campaign for more info. And be sure to watch Food, Inc.