Food, Inc. Shows How Your Food Choices Can Change the World

by | Jun 15, 2009

foodincIt is fair to say I’m a bit obsessed with food.

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:

Have you seen Food, Inc. yet? What did you think?

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13 Responses to “Food, Inc. Shows How Your Food Choices Can Change the World”

  1. Maggie N. says:

    I really resent the promotion of the movie Food, Inc. by bloggers who are fortunate enough to live in or near NYC, LA, or San Francisco. Since it doesn’t seem to be getting any distribution in theaters outside of those cities, most of the rest of us will have to wait for the DVD to be released in September. Yes, I’ve read Michael Pollan and others, so I know the gist of the food philosophy, and I try to follow the locavore path, but I cannot see the movie without going to great expense and generating lots of hydrocarbons.
    So I ask you and all other food bloggers who have seen the movie to contain your enthusiasm until September when I hope you will promote the DVD with great gusto. Thanks for letting me rant.

  2. Hanlie says:

    I don’t even know whether this movie will make it to my country and I’m pushing it. The more people who see it, the better, even if it can’t be me…yet!

    I loved this post! Of course we should eat well and enjoy our food!

  3. I’m really looking forward to seeing this film!! It won’t be playing in Boston until this Friday, but I will be sure to see it.

    Two of the main people featured in the film, Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser (who wrote Fast Food Nation) are two of the most educated people on the issue and two of my personal “food heros.”

    I was lucky enough to hear Eric Schlosser speak at my nutrition school when I was a student there. It was after he wrote his book, and his talk was the most compelling out of all the speakers we had — and we had food, nutrition & holistic visionaries such as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Marion Nestle, and Walter Willet (head of nutrition at Harvard University) among others. And Mr. Schlosser was my personal favorite and the one I learned the most from.

    Also in nutrition school, I learned about the MANY implications of our eating — and not just what’s on our bathroom scale: the environmental impact, health impact, harm we’re doing to animals, in addition to the role our government plays in what’s on our plate.

    I completely agree with your view Darya about food — EXACTLY what I feel. And we do need to vote with our fork. I do so every single day.

    I urge everyone to see this film. Yes, it is in limited cinemas but the reason is NOT because the filmmakers wanted it that way — it’s because the “big cinema corporations” don’t want us to see what is REALLY happening to our food & food system. They want to keep everything behind the “big curtain” as you can be sure they have a financial interest in doing so.

    So if you can’t see the film — then please do order the DVD. I’m certain you will surprised and shocked to see what is happening to our food — and who is really controlling not only our food, our environment, but also our health.

    But as I said, I have not yet seen the film — but once I do next week I’m sure I’ll have an even better idea about what really goes into the food I put into my mouth. And I will continue to vote with my fork — every day.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Wow, thanks for your input Dinneen! During the film a woman was sitting next to me munching on her movie theater hotdog. She almost lost it during the meat packing scene!!

    • Matt says:

      I was with you right up until “it’s because the “big cinema corporations” don’t want us to see what is REALLY happening to our food & food system.” The films small release is simply the nature of the movie industry. It costs money to distribute and sadly it probably won’t be a financial success if it was nation-wide, just like every other indie film. A small limited release will help control costs and get the film to the largest markets. The rest of us will wait for the DVD.

  4. Maggie N. says:

    Thank you. The other link for the movie took me to a ticketing website that was pretty useless. The nearest showing for me is still 110 miles away in 110 degree weather (in Scottsdale, AZ). I live in Tucson, and we probably have more foodies per capita here than in metro Phoenix. Our CSA has a wait list and our local food bank runs 2 farmers’ markets that accept the debit card formerly known as “food stamps”. So, I really hope that it opens locally before the DVD comes out.

  5. Miz says:

    I can NOT wait to see this one.
    We (husband and I) laugh that we will drag the other to movies we REALLY wanna see (he made, err, invited me to see Terminator).

    Im so bringing him along for this one.

  6. Joan Nova says:

    Great article, great insight into Food Inc. and Summer Tomato. I really appreciated it and twitted and linked it to FB so that others can see it as well.

  7. jen boda says:

    Thanks for the great recommendation. I loved Omnivore’s Dilemma and give it to everyone to read. I think that changing our relationship to food is paramount to solving the weight and health issues as well as environmental issues in this country.

    Boda Weight Loss Blog

  8. Haven’t seen it yet but you know I’m going!

  9. I’m waiting for a theatre near me to play it!!

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