First off, the results are in!!! According to Random.org, Jill, of Sprinkle Massacre is the winner of the Larabar Giveaway!!! Congratulations, Jill! I hope you enjoy and send me an e-mail with your mailing address so I can get those to you asap! Maybe they will help get you through the 5 AM workouts at the gym 😉
Now that we have that out-of-the-way, I have been dying to write about this since last evening. Before bed I decided to watch Food Inc.
I have read Eric Schlosser’s article, and Michael Pollan’s books, and think they are absolutely fantastic, BUT seeing the visuals of the horrors occurring in the food industry was seriously disturbing and made me evaluate the menu choices of our family on a daily basis.
The film begins discussing the inhumane and environmentally unfriendly practices of large meat corporations in the U.S. I am not vegetarian, nor do I plan on becoming one, however, after watching what some of the major grocery store brands do to their animals, I certainly will not be purchasing their products anymore. It’s not a secret that money talks, so most businesses do try to make the most profit they can, and I am ok with that…as long as there is some ethical practice behind it. I can’t justify supporting these big name brands that not only treat their animals poorly, but also their workers and mother-nature.
Similarly, the monopoly a certain company has on soy-beans and corn production is preposterous. Not because of the income they make necessarily, but more so the ways they squash their competition, primarily independent farmers, just to advance their already dominating business. Obviously I am not a politician, but I was a history major and do pay attention to the news…I think there was a man named Theodore Roosevelt, you may have heard of him, who created some laws to promote market competition. Trust busting was designed to eliminate complete takeovers by any one brand. I know this was put to the back burner in the 1980’s but it still exists for a reason. An economy cannot flourish when there is one single business controlling the market…the mega-brand in Food Inc. is definitely a monopoly as far as I’m concerned, and is stepping on anyone it can to advance its interests.
The third component of the film goes into food labeling laws, contamination, and the miniscule regulation by government agencies. It specifically highlighted Kevin’s law, which was put into effect after a two-year old boy died from E.Coli, allegedly from consumption of a hamburger. His mother continues the crusade to generate more strict laws, inspections and overall food safety.
This portion also discusses the fast food habit of Americans, and how because it is kept so inexpensive, families sometimes feel forced into making a poor health decision, based on their financial situation.
I have to admit, I do not completely abstain from fast food, or more importantly purchase organic all the time, because it is expensive, and my local stores don’t have much selection, but I do try to buy in-season fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets, as well as my bread products from independent bakeries. Do I do this all the time? No, you have seen me post using Thomas’ English Muffins and Eggo Waffles, but my research has begun to determine if the monopolistic company Food Inc. refers to in the corn and soy-bean section, has any influence over these breakfast brands, because if it does, they will no longer be in my cart. Instead I’ll opt for a smidge more expensive, but just as good (maybe even better, I’m just cheap) companies like Van’s Organic Waffles, De Wafelbakkers, Ezekial breads, etc.
Aside from the all negative information I very briefly discussed (the film has way too much to include in a blog past that isnt 834508358 pages long!) I was very excited to see Stoneyfield Yogurt featured. That is one brand I support whole-heartedly, and have for a very long time. Is it a little more pricey than the generic yogurt, or some of the other widely marketed brands, but the taste is extraordinary, and if you check out their website they offer coupons pretty frequently. So thank you Gary Hirshburg, it was awesome to see that a company I already enjoyed, is something I can feel good about eating for multiple reasons. Now if you could please put some of that delicious Drinkable Oikos I had at HLS, in my supermarket, I would greatly appreciate it!
I’m sorry I did not mention the names of the companies negatively featured within the film, or if I seemed a little vague, but I encourage you to watch the documentary yourself and make a personal judgment. I will say that the overall message I got, was to support local business, farmers and production. Farmers markets are so fun and a great way to see the passion and knowledge that goes behind what you are putting in your mouth, or on your table.
I loved how the film concluded, when it said that we have three votes (or more in my case because I do like snacks!) to express our feelings on what monopolistic agencies are doing to the food and agricultural industries. Purchasing power is in OUR hands, and like I said earlier, MONEY TALKS. If one extra person decides, every day to stop buying some of the products made by these food-giants, then it is essentially saying they need to change. It might be a little more expensive, and out of your financial means, but there are other ways to fight too!
In fact, on FoodIncmovie.com, you can find multiple ways to join the effort. Some of the suggestions I liked were…
1. Encourage schools to stop selling junk food and sodas (Yes PLEASE do this! I do not need any more hyperactive children in my classroom!!!)
2. Buy Local (Yay, I said this above!)
3. Meatless Monday, Try One Day a Week Without Meat (Flexitarianism anyone???)
4. Eat In! (Save your waistline and your wallet!)
5. Tell Congress (the beauty of the internet and fast communication is, its easy to get the word out!)
So like I said, I understand buying organic is not always feasibly. We have a weekly grocery budget as well, but I will definitely consider some other ways I could potentially have my voice be heard, and re-evaluate our major menu selections…After all, what is more valuable, my dollar or my beliefs?
Have you seen Food Inc. Fast Food Nation, Supersize Me, or any other film relating to this issue?
How do you feel about buying local?
*If you are interested in any more information, please check out these sites I found to be quite eye-opening…