This summer is shaping up to be the season of the food film, and Food, Inc
is just the latest in the line of compelling documentaries that focuses on the
way we eat and its detrimental affects on our health and the environment.
The film--which is more enlightening than gloom and doom--opens at the
on Friday.Food, Inc.
was also part of last spring's Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival, where it played to sold-out crowds and increased the loud buzz surrounding the need to shift from a reliance on industrial agriculture to organic farming that's been spurred by books like Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma
and the documentary King Corn
. That award-winning film follows a corn kernel from ground to farm subsidy to industrial manufacturing and reveals how our fast-food nation was born.
Like that film, Food, Inc
. also spotlights the growing health hazards of industrial farms--from hormone-bloated chickens to increased E.coli risk--but it also looks at the financial toll industrial farming has on farmers and rural communities. One chicken farmer, for example, pulled out of her contract with Perdue because she was disgusted with the low standards Perdue set forth in the contract. She will now lose her entire farm. In most cases, these large corporations are putting strangleholds on farmers and forcing them to produce quantity over quality.
And the film reveals another striking example of corporate control over our diet: Monsanto sued a handful farmers--giving a new name to "bought the farm"--because Monsanto's GMO soybeans were found on their land. However the farmers, who were producing their own all-natural soybeans, maintained it was easy for the seeds to blow in from neighboring farms and reproduce. Monstanto still proceeded to sue the farmers for everything they own. While the lawsuits reveal Monsanto's control over farmers, they also shed light on a practice even more insidious: The ability to patent seeds of life, and how that control over the food system damages farms, communities, health, and the environment.
But like Fresh
, the other recently released food doc, Food, Inc
. outlines solutions to the problems. The film shows organic farmers whose land, animals, and bounty are prospering. It shows how consumers can take control and make organic food cheaper for families. It shows how planting a garden, and planting the seed of change, is a simple step that can have a profound impact.
More films to check out:Poisoned Waters
: This PBS documentary reveals how industrial farming, herbicides, and animal waste are poisoning our waters and wildlife. King Corn:
This is a fascinating and enjoyable little documantary that follows corn--seed to soda bottle--that reveals how corn subsidies helped birth the fast-food nation.Fresh:
More than 700 people showed up for the Minneapolis premiere of this film, which highlights the benefits of whole foods and organic farming.