I re-watched Food, Inc last night and was struck again with how incredibly emotionally difficult this documentary to watch. I am not sure what I found most compelling, thought-provoking and/or upsetting:
- The calloused cruelty of the factory farms for cattle, pigs and chickens which literally made me sick to my stomach.
- The human cruelty evidenced by the conditions of workers in factory farms. Conditions which are not only unsafe and economically unviable but often illegal.
- The devastation caused by food borne illnesses as the result of a virtually unregulated food supply chain. Industry self-regulation???? Please!!
- The widespread use of antibiotics and hormones (briefly mentioned) causing disruptions in human growth and immunity.
- The use of cheap, subsidized corn as feed from cows, fish to humans in the form of high fructose corn-syrup which results in frightening lack of diversity in foods.
- The incestuous relationship between the regulators and the industry they are supposed to regulate which is beyond frightening.
- The political environment which is dedication to cutting costs and translates to fewer controls, inspections and inspectors.
- The virtual control of global food production through the control of seed stock (Monsanto) and heavily subsidized crops (corn) which are exported at such a low cost that local farmers cannot afford to grow more appropriate foods
- The ability of companies to patent seeds and growing methods and to create monopolies which are de facto sanctioned by the government.
- The fact that patents can be defended while trampling of the health, welfare and rights of animals, farm owners, farm workers and consumers.
- The intimidation practiced by companies like Tyson and Monsanto is silencing opposition: putting indebted farmers out of business, suing for libel, burying opposition is unjustified law suits
- The unsustainable amount of fossil fuel used to produce and ship food– the idea that most food gets shipped 1500 miles is unjustified and untenable
- The idea that a Big Mac is more affordable than a head of Broccoli especially when we know that Diabetes could be virtually eliminated by changes in diet – eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and less corn derived foods including most meats.
I am by nature and training an activist so the end of the film was encouraging since there are things we can do:
- Vote with my pocketbook – insist on buying organic, non-gmo, non-processed and local food. Corporations will ultimately respond to lost revenue
- Vote for representatives – local, state and federal – who are food activists, localvores and unafraid to actually vote their conscious (not bought off by big corporations and special interest groups)
- Lobby local, state and federal representatives for better regulation of factory farms, promoting local growing initiatives, hiring more inspectors, mandating real inspections and enforcing of these inspections
Finally, I find it incredibly sad that something as intimate as food has become so abstract to us as a culture and that our humanity is being sacrificed on the alter of efficiency and cheapness!