Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Food Inc.

Probably one of the most watched documentary contenders of the year in the Oscar race was Food Inc.

While the documentary Oscar is The Cove's to lose, I think that Food Inc. will for many people be one of the most important documentaries of the year because it deals with something near and dear to our hearts...food, but ask a question we probably don't ask enough which is "where does my food come from?"

I must be honest, and say that while very impactful and dealing with a variety of important topics, Food Inc. is a little disjointed. It's message is become a person who questions your food sources and takes the opportunity to buy food that is both healthy and ecologically sound, even if that means spending a little more.

Generally, I think this claim is quiet reasonable and one of the producer's Eric Schlosser, author of many investigative journalism works including Fast Food Nation, makes a strong case in the film for deterioration of food quality because it is delivered to our dinner table (or cars, or restaurant table) at the lowest price, hence we can have dollar menu items you couldn't replicate for the price in your kitchen.

But this idea, is just one of many. Through the graphic images of a few select slaughter houses, is the story of chicken, beef, corn, e.coli bacteria and soy bean patents. I think this film will speak to people in different ways, perhaps making them more interested in grass-fed beef, wanting to write congress about Kevin's Law, or perhaps scratching their head at a system that allows for vegetable libel to have such inertia.

Perhaps it is this disjointed expose that lends itself to such varied conclusions, but tends to speak to our challenge a variety of people.

For putting all these ideas out on the table, the film is a good starting point for discussions. Honestly, if I could chose a follow up documentary I would like to see a documentary that explores in a balanced way the role of corn subsidies, the intentions, history, and impact. Of course, what is only touched on partially in this film is a whole new realm to explore.

Yet, for something so common the film demonstrates how many topics are worthy of our attention to be explored, and while the regular farmer's market purchaser might walk away with a different perspective that the typical Sam's Club bulk ground beef purchaser, I think it should leave viewers with something to chew on.

1 comment:

Tucker said...

This is a very interesting film, and more serious than Supersize Me. I have read some of Michael Pollan's work and he has a lot of great things to say. This year we are finally signing up for a CSA and are going to try a switch to a more vegetable-centric diet.

The Cove is next in our Netflix queue.