Thursday, May 6, 2010

Where does your food really come from? Food, Inc. documentary



I sat down and watched the 2010 Oscar®-nominated documentary Food, Inc. via Netflix. This documentary touches on so many issues revolving around the who, what, when, where, why and how of how our food gets from the farm to the market. However, as I was watching the documentary, I found myself thinking over and over again that one of the paradigms documented here is the classic battle of quality versus quantity. That balance or battle between quality and quantity is a battle we face every time we make a purchase: clothes, shoes, kitchen supplies, cell phones, etc. We constantly make choices with our wallets about what we consider most important. In some areas, quality comes first, in other areas being able to buy more for less is important. Each family uses different weights and measures when making these daily decisions.

At one point in the film, someone points out that the "bad calorie" foods are usually made from either corn or soybeans. Both of these crops are heavily subsidized by the US government to an extent that other food crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower and pears are not. That subsidized corn meal is fed to also fed to animals like pigs and cows. Since farmers pay less for corn than grass, the corn-fed beef is cheaper than the grass fed version sitting near it in the grocery store meat section.

If you want natural, organic, non-engineered meat, fruits and vegetables, you will have to be prepared to pay more for quality as you're getting less in quantity. Considering the extent of the obesity epidemic in the USA, reducing the quantity of food consumed could only do us some good.

Food, Inc. is a pretty comprehensive documentary but it does have its bias. Bias isn't a bad thing as long as you're straight-forward about it. Their bias tends to be anti-business and pro-government, even though they point out that government meddling in the marketplace by the artificial subsidization of the corn and soybean market is a large factor in the mess they are criticizing.

You might not be able to change the system in Washington, DC but you can change the system at your own dinner table. You have three meals per day of opportunity to re-evaluate and change the way you eat. No government bureaucrat can tell you how or what to eat. Nor should you allow any government bureaucrat to assume such power over you. And part of being a good neighbor, in my opinion, also means that voting to allow the government to tax the foods you don't like is not part of the solution either. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Start your own revolution in your own grocery cart and don't get nosy about what other people put into their grocery store baskets.

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