I just caught the tail end of Food Inc. tonight on PBS. This is probably only the third or fourth time I have seen the 2008 documentary detailing ‘corporate farming’ and the agri-food industry in the U.S.
The first time I watched it was on a plane, and I was compelled to comment but had no forum do so. I suppose, had I been a good ‘agvocate’ and didn’t have a policy against small talk on airplanes, I would have turned to the person next to me and starting discussing the film’s themes and got their feedback. I didn’t.
Rather than give an opinion on the film overall, I want to share the feelings and emotions it brings forth each time I’ve seen it. Bear in mind, I’m of farming background.
Anger – Anger at an industry so focused on profit and money, they’ve overlooked health. I don’t mean farmers, I mean the huge processors who drive this industry. Anger that companies I respect would sue and put their own customers, farmers, out of business.
Disgust – Disgust at what goes on in a meat-packing plant.
Embarrassed – Embarrassed to be disgusted. I know what goes on in a meat packing plant, and feel like it should never be shown publicly. There is no way that can look good. People should be educated, but large plants will never look good. If a meat-packing plant was all rainbows and butterflies, how sadistic would we be as people?
Fear – Fear of meat-packing plants. I always have been from the time I was a little girl, and I accompanied my mom to the butcher shop and saw carcasses hanging in the cooler. I still eat meat. Fear we’ve fed ourselves into obliteration. Literally. As a university student, I recall reading a study on starch and its high glucose level and (primarily negative) impacts on our body. I am mildly educated, and I believe high fructose corn syrup is one of the worst things you can put in your body. It’s in everything and that scares me.
Frustration – Frustration at the blatant one-sidedness that most viewers, who know only which aisle to find the corn pops versus what corn is, will never question. Frustration the agribusinesses weren’t permitted to tell their story in a fair manner.
Pride – Pride over the farmer that states: “As long as you want $2 milk, you’re going to have a feedlot in your backyard. You have the control. I guarantee farmers will produce what you want.”
Hope – Hope that consumers will choose healthier food options with their wallets. It happened in the tobacco industry. Hope that consumers will continue asking more questions about their food. Hope we as an industry will be open to listen, provide answers and calm and internalize their concerns.
Happy – Happy I can watch the film and feel all these things. Happy that concerns like traceability, which our Canadian industry is working hard (and spending money) to implement are highlighted as gaps. If we’re going to go to the effort to implement this high system of accountability, then there better be a spotlight pressuring our largest trading partner to do the same.
That’s all from me, for now. I’m dying for your feedback on Food Inc. Have you blogged about it? What’s your opinion?