Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Food for Thought from an Eye-Opening Documentary
I have written on this blog in the past about documentaries such as No End in Sight, the many fine films of Michael Moore, and Super Size Me. I like films like these since they are thought provoking and they tackle important issues. They actually make you think, and therefore they do not attract mass audiences like some of the lowest common denominator drivel that ends up making hundreds of millions of dollars. If you see a documentary in a theatre, chances are it will have many empty seats, but those who are there are impacted. The latest documentary I have seen is called Food Inc. This exposes the dirty little secrets that the industry giants who fill our stomachs do not want you to know. Only a few huge conglomerates control what we buy in supermarkets. The movie looks at how agriculture has changed and how farmers are under pressure to deliver more product. Farming requires long hours, low pay and high debt accumulation, so the farmers must do all they can to maximize their yields. Food Inc. also looks at the political system and how the giants of the food industry have so much power. It follows a woman to Capitol Hill as she lobbies for more food regulations. Her son died from eating a hamburger tainted with e. coli. There are fewer inspections of food processing plants, and this leads to more diseases. It talks about how the unhealthy food is the cheapest, and how it is expensive to eat right. Fast food is quick and easy, and especially prevalent in poor neighborhoods where obesity and related health problems are an epidemic. The film takes a look at how slaughterhouses are employing illegal aliens to work in dangerous positions where they are exploited. It talked about organic foods, and how even Wal Mart has started selling organic food due to the rising demand. Watching documentaries which paint a bleak picture of society often make us feel powerless, but at the end of Food Inc. there was advice on how we can all have some power. All of us "vote" with our wallets, and when we buy food we are telling the food manufacturers that we want more of the same. We can have power to see more healthy foods if we support restaurants, farmers markets and supermarkets who sell organic, locally grown, unprocessed, healthy food.