Alicia's Food For Thought

Food, Inc. Film Review

Hi readers,

I finally finished with my finals last week, and now I’m back in beautiful California!

Now that I have the time, I am going to be reading a lot more about food (I’m currently in the middle of the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan).

In the beginning of December, I screened Food, Inc. with Alan and my floors. We had dinner catered by Village Natural (which is delicious and highly recommended, thanks Alyssa, Krysia, and Anna Pod for the suggestion).

I really enjoyed the documentary and it was a great overview of the food policies and problems we have in the United States. I feel like if I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma before watching the Food, Inc., I probably would not find the documentary very informative.

For those of you who have no idea about Food, Inc., here is “About the Film” section of the website:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s DilemmaIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

So the main question Food, Inc. poses is “How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families?” and I found it fascinating to follow the food from beyond the local grocery store. I know I’m guilty of not knowing where my food comes from or not being aware of the effects of what I buy.

I understand that many people might not care about where their food comes from because food is food as long as it fills you up, but I do think there is something to be said about where our food comes from when cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers are the leading causes of death and diseases in America. (Source.) We are really going through a health crisis right now, and diet/nutrition plays a huge part in preventing that from continuing on.

So now that I’m watching these films, and reading these books, I have come to the conclusion that I need to drastically change the way that I eat. So going into 2010, I am not going to eat any meat (the way that it is processed is so messy that I’m just going to avoid the issue all together). I am going to commit myself to eating as locally and organically as possible, and if not, buying products that is a fair price to the farmer, no matter where s/he may be around the world. Yes, it is going to be terribly difficult, and as a student, it is going to be extremely hard on my budget to eat this way, but this is me voting, and me communicating that I want the way America produces food and eat to be different. I completely understand that this type of lifestyle is not feasible for everyone due to financial circumstances, or time constraints, but as someone who can control what I eat (I live by myself, I do have a green market available across the street 4 times a week, etc.), I do have the resources to be selective on the way I eat.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m some food expert, because I’m not, and I’m not going to pretend that I am going to tell you how you should eat. However, I do think you should commit yourself to knowing what you are eating and not only what it is doing to the environment, economy, and the well-being of other, but also what it is doing to your body. Your individual actions to eat something, or to buy a certain grocery is not exclusive to just affecting your bank account. What you decide to buy really does have to say about your values as a person, and you may not even know that you are stating those values. So I urge you, get some more background information and a great place to start is the “About the Issues” section of the website. I also put more resources and books in the “Resources” section of my blog.

I’m hungry for change, are you?

Alicia Kim
Food for Thought Resident Assistant

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great review, Alicia. I think it is very awesome that you are willing to make a change you find necessary when so many other people in your position could do the same and they decide against it. I’m actually going to rent this movie soon now, and watch it. ;-)

Comment by misconceptionoftheoyster

I guess that was a bit redundant; of course if I rent it, I will watch it… hehe

Comment by misconceptionoftheoyster

I’m glad to hear your take on the movie – I agree that after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, etc., there wasn’t a whole lot of new information, but if the movie brings the information to someone for the first time, then it’s doing its job! I am really looking forward to hearing about your progress – I think you’re very brave to give up meat, I don’t think I could go there completely. We’re so lucky here in New York to have resources like the Greenmarket, we should all make a New Year’s Resolution to take advantage of them.

Comment by bridget

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