‘Food, Inc.’ Focuses on the Needfor Food Independence

Just a week before we heard about more food recalls and the continuing obesity crisis, the documentary “Food, Inc.” opened in the United States, warning us of those hazards and more from our current industrialized food system. The movie is now showing in select cities across the country. Readers of this blog already are in the know about many problems in our commercial food supply, but director Robert Kenner wanted to make a film that brought the subject to people who haven’t thought about the food they are eating and what we all can do about it.

The film has not yet come to my area, so I can’t review it. But from media coverage in numerous venues, such as ABC’s Nightline, it’s clear that the movie is raising awareness about some topics covered on this blog – such as the “cornfication” of American food – to an increasing number of people. To read more about some topics covered in the movie, especially corn in the food supply and the many problems that come with it, check out these previous Nutrition News & Notes posts:

“King Corn – A Must-See Movie”

“Corn Fed and Fat: The American Problem That is Spreading to Other Countries”

Focus on Real Food Instead of Trendy Imitation Food Products”

“HEALTH ALERT: Mercury Found in Many High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup Foods”

“Replacing Wheat with Corn? Most Corn is Genetically Engineered”

The bottom line message of the movie is we’re paying too high a price – in health, environmental, and human rights costs – for the industrialized food system we have. It’s a hard message to swallow and may seem somewhat overwhelming, but it is important to digest it as best we can and take action. The first place to start is to make small individual steps. In an interview with AlterNet, director Kenner said none of us will ever be perfect, but if each one of us starts by changing at least one meal for the better, it can have a huge impact. He explained:

When it comes to our meals, there is local, which I think is the best, it affects things on so many levels. There is organic — I was in fields where people had to wear spacesuits, and I don’t think we should be eating food when people need spacesuits to grow it. When you go to the supermarket, start to read labels. All those funny words are corn and soy, and they are going to not be good for you. And know you have power — talk to people, ask for things you want. But don’t feel bad if you’re not perfect.

Each of us doing our part can gradually make a grassroots movement that can change the current food situation. “We have to vote with our votes and our forks,” Kenner said. “I am really optimistic that it’s going to change. I feel a sense of real growth — it might not be quick, but it is going to change. There is a real growing movement…”

To read the full AlterNet interview with the film’s director, read “Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends Reveal the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets.” The film features prominent food writers Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation.

You can also watch the official trailer of Food, Inc. (which tells us The American Food Industry is Making a Killing and It’s Making Us Sick… But You Have the Power to Turn the Tables) or a longer trailer that gives you different food for thought.

See if the movie is playing in your area and learn more about issues that are raised in the film by going to the Food, Inc. website.

On this, the beginning of July 4th holiday weekend, let me leave you with great words about how you can declare your food independence this holiday weekend from blogger Sarah Newman on the Food, Inc. section of the Take Part website

I’m not asking you to give up your cherished grilling time, but each of us has the opportunity this holiday to make a radical political statement by declaring our food independence. What does this mean? Well, it means a lot to each one of us as unique individuals. But, collectively, it’s about saying no to our industrial food system which is feeding us an unhealthy corn-based diet that is contributing to skyrocketing obesity rates, helping to fuel global warming, scaring us with constant food recalls and offering us foods that barely resemble food (a friend recently received a piece of sausage resembling a Pabst beer bottle. American kitsch? Yes. Healthy? No.).

It’s time that we return to our roots. Literally. We need to support a food system that offers us healthy, safe, sustainable, fresh foods. And what better time to begin than on Independence Day?

© Copyright 2009 Melissa Diane Smith

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