To me this is perfectly natural, because few things are as important or bring as much pleasure to my life. I eat at least three times a day, and each meal is an opportunity to revel in the bounty of nature and ensure my health for (5? 6? 7?) decades. What confuses me is why more people aren’t so obsessed with food.
I admit that my personal history with food is long and intimate, but at this stage in my life what makes me passionate about eating well is what I know about the impact of my daily meal choices on myself and the world.
Food is the cause of almost every modern disease, and is in the midst of creating some new ones.
Food is destroying the planet faster than anything in human history.
Food threatens our national security and the health of the global economy.
But food is not all doom and gloom, nor should it be. Real food is a celebration of life and brings people together. Real food is an art. Real food is health.
My personal favorite reason to eat the way I do is that real food tastes amazing, nothing like the processed junk most of us grew up eating.
When it comes down to it, real food makes my life better.
If you are like most people I talk to, this all sounds wonderful but is a little too abstract to move you to action. Sure we would all love to make it to the farmers market this weekend, but when Saturday rolls around there are 1,001 excuses not to go. Right?
In my world though, the earth has to be collapsing for me to miss my market trip and even then I’ll probably find another one. I don’t see it as a choice. For me my weekly trip to the farmers market determines how well I will eat for the entire week. I know it is possible to eat healthy without going but it won’t taste nearly as good, is less exciting and more expensive. These things make it harder to eat healthy at all, and that is not okay.
My resolve comes from the knowledge that there is no more important decision I can make each week than where I buy my food.
If you aren’t convinced yet, you should definitely see the new film Food, Inc.
Food, Inc. will help you see food as a priority, a solution to and not the cause of our problems. It is a journey through our modern food system, how it works and the tremendous impact it has on our lives.
One of my favorite quotes comes early in the film as Michael Pollan, one of the film’s narrators and hero of the “real food” movement, describes the disappearance of seasonal produce at the grocery store. His quintessential example is the perfectly red, perfectly round tomatoes that can be found year-round in American supermarkets.
“Although it looks like a tomato, it is a notional tomato. It’s the idea of a tomato.”
This is because, as you all know by now, real tomatoes only exist in the summer.
Food, Inc. gives you an intimate look at where these artificial foods come from and the how they affect our lives. It also explores the government policies that have encouraged and protected these practices at the expense of good food and health.
If you have read (and you should) Michael Pollan’s landmark book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, you will find many similarities in this film. However, Food, Inc. preferentially emphasizes the results of our food system and the toll it takes on our health and economy.
Central to Food, Inc. are the stories of people who were the honest victims of our toxic system. These stories are heartbreaking and will make you think twice the next time you are tempted to order a Quarter Pounder.
Importantly, Food, Inc. offers more than just criticism, it also gives us a solution: vote with your fork.
The message of the movie is almost entirely aligned with the philosophy of this blog: shop at farmers markets, cook your own meals, pass on the processed foods.
These simple acts are enough to change the way the system works, because ultimately consumers decide what is produced. If you stop buying it, they will stop selling it and find another way to satisfy your needs. We are the ones with the real power.
It is completely possible to opt out of our current food system by reducing and even eliminating processed, industrial foods from your diet. Amazingly, once you start on this journey you learn that you don’t actually give anything up in the process, but in fact regain a world of lost flavors and the joys of eating real food.
If you like Food, Inc. and want to know more there are numerous resources:
- The Food, Inc. website is a great place to start for more information about the film.
- The Food, Inc. participant’s guidebook has some great articles and is available for purchase from Amazon.
- Check out the discussion guide for grades 9-12 written by the Center for Ecoliteracy.
- Pre-order the Food, Inc. DVD.
- Subject yourself to Monsanto brainwashing and other “counter arguments.”
- Watch the trailer!
Have you seen Food, Inc. yet? What did you think?