Recently, I watched a documentary called Food, Inc. I highly recommend it to everybody! Please see it, it is now on DVD! When the movie arrived in my mailbox, I looked at the cover and it said, "You'll never look at dinner the same way." The movie closely follows the popular book the Omnivore's Dilemma, and rightly so. Would you change the way you eat if the curtain was raised and you were able to see into the factories and slaughter houses where much of our food is processed before arriving on our plates? Most of us would agree that our food looks and tastes delicious. So what's the problem?
The problem is our food is part of a large web of other moving parts. It comes from long distances, uses extensive amounts of oil and energy to produce, and the way it is grown and tended to is resource intensive thus causing adverse impacts to the environment. The food we eat is also heavily processed and affects our nation's health (obesity and diabetes are on the rise), the livestock on large industrial farms are often mistreated and raised inhumanely, and for those who work on the farms and in the factories (the immigrants responsible for getting our turkeys on the table this year) often pay the toll of long hours and dangerous work conditions.
As I watched Food, Inc. with my Dad recently, we just finished a scrumptous dinner, which consisted of a nice rotisserie chicken and a cobb salad courtesy of Costco. As we ate our meal and watched the movie, we both looked at each other feeling a twang of guilt. Our rotisserie chicken could of been one of the chickens featured in the movie! The chicken sandwiched in the middle of thousands in a Costco sized poultry farm unable to move from side to side and unable to stand and support itself because it was breed to produce more chicken meat then its small legs could handle.
The movie showcases several chicken farms throughout the country, the majority of which are like the one described above. Because there is such a controversy on how these farms are operated, the chickens never see the light of day (unlike the farm seen in the picture to your left) over the course of their lives, hidden instead by dark walls that keep inquisitive and judging eyes from looking in. The movie isn't meant to make us feel guilty, it will however. But more importantly it is made to educate and enlighten us. There is no question, I felt the guilt because I am a contributor to the problems inherent in our industrialized food system. It takes effort not to be. More than any other book I've read or conversations I've had, this movie did an excellent job of putting the problems of our food industry into perspective in a way that made me feel I had a role in changing it. As a consumer, I want to be part of the solution.
In what ways are you becoming part of the solution?
And please, tell me what you you thought of the movie!?