Do You Know or Care Where Your Food Comes From?

Do You Know or Care Where Your Food Comes From?

Posted on 04. Jul, 2010 by in Uncategorized

Last night, I saw a documentary called, “Food Inc.,” which investigates where our food comes from, how it’s treated, how the worker’s are treated, and who controls the majority of our food supply. The movie starts by mentioning that the average supermarket contains about 47,000 different food items and yet the food industry controls 80% of the market and is mainly composed of 4 key companies which are Cargill, Swift, Tyson, and National Beef. I was startled!

food-inc-poster

The film talks about how these big food companies treat their animals and workers inhumanely. The creator and author of the movie and the book, Nick Schlosser, also talk about how there are not many farms anymore. Instead our food comes from factories even if the labels say “farm” or has picture of a graising cow on it. These factories have become so efficient in producing cheap food that is produced in half the time it used to take to make it during the 1970s. As a result of this “efficiency,” the workers, animals, and the environment suffer the consequences. There is not enough room for the animals to grow and live comfortably. The workers are overworked, underpaid, and recruited from foreign countries to work in the U.S. illegally only to be sent back when the immigration department cracks down on them. Contaminated water from meat plants run off into farm land which in turn contaminates plant crops with the deadly E.coli bacteria strain O157:H7.

Here is trailer of the movie so you can have a better idea of what this movie is about:

The one thing that did stick with me was a story about a family who was left to buy cheap, fast food over healthier options because of poverty. In reality, pre-packaged foods are cheap because they are mass produced and the manufacturers have cut corners somewhere else. The father who suffers all sorts of illnesses due to eating unhealthily takes so many expensive medications that his family was even more forced to eat poorly. I thought to myself, “how ironic.” I realized that cheap, junk food is not really cheap when you take into account the environmental and health costs we incur in the long run. This is one reason I do not have a problem paying for healthy foods, I see it as an investment so that I do not have to pay for medical bills later on when I age.

There many other issues discussed in the movie which I would not talk about in this post. Instead, I want to focus on the actions you and I can take immediately. As I was watching the movie, I sort of felt hopeless at the beginning. I was asking myself, “what do I do now? Do I stop eating meat? Do I do this or do I do that?” But, the documentary had a clear message in the end. We as consumers have the power to demand good quality food from these big food companies with every purchase!

Here are more steps you can take to take this power back (taken from the end of Food Inc.):

  • Buy from companies that treat workers, animals, and the environment with respect.
  • When you go to the supermarket, choose foods that are in season. Buy foods that are organic. Know what’s in your food. Read labels.
  • Know what you buy. The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to the supermarket.
  • Buy foods that are grown locally.
  • Shop at farmer’s markets.
  • Plant a garden. (Even a small one)
  • Cook a meal with your family and eat together.
  • Everyone has a right to healthy food.
  • Make sure your farmer’s market accepts food stamps.
  • Ask your school board to provide healthy school lunches.
  • The FDA and the USDA are supposed to protect you and your family. Tell Congress to enforce food safety standards and re-introduce Kevin’s Law. For more information on Kevin’s law and to support the bill, click here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/109-h3160/show
  • If you say grace, ask for food that will keep us, and the planet healthy.

You can change the world with every bite.

For more steps to change how our food is prepared and delivered to our dinner tables, please visit takepart.com/foodinc. You can also find the 10 steps you can take to help change our food system here: http://www.foodincmovie.com/get-involved.php.

You can help re-authorize the Child Nutrition act by signing the petition at http://www.foodincmovie.com/sign-the-petition.php.

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  • Dr Jaspreet Mundeir

    Excellent post Anna, I loved the documentary as well. It is an eye opener and it motivates you to be a conscious shopper.

    Jaspreet Mundeir, ND
    suratnaturopathic.com

  • The documentary was indeed an eye opener

  • Anna,
    Very interesting article. I haven't seen the documentary but I've always found it unfortunate that eating healthy costs so much more than eating unhealthy. Produce always makes up the majority of my grocery bill but I think fast food creates a big challenge/temptation for people…it's easy to come home from work, and get an entire fattening meal already made for you for less money than a carton of strawberries.
    Dave

  • AnnaDornier

    Dave, it is very unfortunate that healthy food is more expensive but I'm
    glad that we can do something about it. Fast food does create temptation
    depending on what kind of habits you've developed. I was able to wean myself
    out of eating too much fast food since I got out of college. Just like
    anything, it takes practice 🙂

    Anna

  • AnnaDornier

    Jaspreet, it really does make us more conscious shoppers. I just hope that
    more and more people will be aware and take the message seriously. Thanks
    for stopping by!

    Anna

  • Anna,

    Food Inc. is one of my favorite movies. I am a huge food nut and have always suspected that food quality is more responsible for the surge in obesity, diabetes, and all the other diseases of civilization than calories, fat, salt, and all the other things we have been led to believe. Seems like the whole world is starting to realize this as well.

    As much as I think it's important to get food “as close to the earth” as possible, I actually don't suggest it for guys just starting to get their health together. The reason being I think it's a bit too intimidating. I'd rather show guys how to make a quick and easy meal of grilled or roasted chicken and vegetables than say they need to go all organic, free range, and GMO-free. I think the average Easy Mac and Chicken McNugget-eating dude would just say it's not worth it and not even try.

    Anyone who enjoyed this movie should also check out Michal Pollan's books. Although I don't agree with all his conclusions (caloric restriction, plant-based diets), he is definitely one guy who is unveiling all the impact that food has in our lives in an engaging way.

  • Anna
    I have watched Food Inc a few times and, although we have always been fairly careful what we eat, we are now even more mindful. We shop at farmers markets, buy organic and in season where we can and cook most meals completely from scratch and we almost never eat fast food (the odd burrito for me really is it). Unfortunately this means that our food shopping bill is high though luckily we can manage that – I too was horrified by the family that ate so poorly because of the amount spent on meds – what a vicious circle. Thanks for a great blog post – the more people that are aware of this the better.

  • ireneturner

    sigh…one of the reasons I haven't seen the movie yet is feeling like I would feel hopeless and revolted. So…I appreciate you listing what we each can do to eat healthy. Also, by buying locally, seasonally and organically we will start to reduce our dependance on petroleum as our food won't have to be trucked that 1500 miles. Another good reason to buy local! Of course, we are blessed to live here in Sonoma county with all our great produce and the Slow Food capital of the US

  • AnnaDornier

    Darrin, you made some very good points. I do agree with you as well in terms
    of slowly acclimating people to this way of life. I certainly didn't start
    like this the first time around. Just like anything, it's a constant
    learning experience.

    I've had Michael Polan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, for awhile but I just
    haven't gotten around to reading it. I was just telling my husband last
    night that I really should read it…lol.

    Anna

  • AnnaDornier

    Irene, that's what I thought too which is why I procrastinated on watching
    it. But, this is one of those movies/books that really do have a clear
    message in the end and I was glad for it.

    Anna

  • AnnaDornier

    Louise, it can get expensive buying this way and thankfully there's just me
    and my husband to feed 🙂 I like cooking things from scratch anyway and
    would gladly help the local farmers.

    Anna

  • Thanks for the info Anna. I have not yet seen this documentary but will look for it. I hate the feeling of hopelessness so thanks for the tips on what we can do. When I teach stress reduction and life balance seminars we address eating organic. You are right people often argue about the expense but like you I suggest that you will either spend the money eating healthy or on doctor bills and medications.

    Lisa Ann Landry – Corporate Trainer – Unleashing the Genie!

  • Donna McCord

    I haven't watched this documentary, but have heard about it and have been much more conscious of what food I buy and where I buy it. Thank you for the links to give us more avenues to express our demands for healthier and less expensive food for ourselves and our children. I am appalled by the treatment of animals and humans in the big food industry, and can't understand how it can be allowed to happen. The more people become aware of what is going on, the more chance there is that something will change. I hope many more people will read your blog.

  • Will have to see if I can find this one on NetFlix. Great blog post Anna!

    -Ron Britton-
    Follow the Quest – MyWisdomQuest.com

  • I haven't seen Food inc. before but I have seen other similar.
    I have stopped eating meat and drinking, eating dairy products due partly for my health but more so for animal cruelty.
    I don't think people need to stop but demanding good quality foods will hopefully help drive the market the right way. (a large food shopping chain now aims at only stocking non-caged eggs.)
    We have a local organics market only on Sundays but I try to stock up for the week and get my eggs directly from organise free range farmers.
    Food cost is important but whats the real cost to our Earth and ourselves?

  • Excellent post, Anna! I think this is a Must See movie for everyone, and should be shown in schools. PBS has been running Food Inc. periodically, so it's not difficult to find (it may be posted on PBS website, as well).
    I've been a vegetarian for years, and, actually, spend less in groceries now. Protein-rich foods like beans, grains (quinoa, especially), tofu and eggs (I still eat dairy–not vegan, yet) are inexpensive. I live in the Sacramento area, and 2 days a week, the local 99Cents Store receives shipments of fresh, Local produce. 3 locally grown avocados- 99 cents. 3 red bell peppers -99 cents. a dozen manderin oranges- 99 cents. Plus, they often have interesting varieties of plums, peaches and berries, that are too fragile to travel long distances, so, again, all locally grown. What a deal! For less than 10 dollars, I have fruit and veggies for the week!
    Thanks Anna, for giving more attention to this important topic and movie.
    ps: Atticus does not agree with my meatless lifestyle!

  • I saw this and was quite disgusted. I think everyone needs to see the movie. It IS A MUST SEE!

  • julialindsey

    I am forwarding this post to my daughter. She has boycotted KFC for years after seeing a similar documentary. She was in High School at the time and I thought it was a phase but she is still passionate about animal cruelty. Since then we have all become conscious of what we eat and how it was grown. We buy most of our produce from the farmers market when it is in season and get our meat from local farmers. Your post is enlightening and you have great tips.

    Julia M Lindsey
    Our Little Books

  • Anna – you are in the right line of work to spread the word…I sometimes am in despair over what has become of our food supply. I choose organic and/or local whenever possible. I choose raw goat milk from a local farm. I think food should be labeled accurately (like when it has been genetically modified or eradiated) and we should be allowed informed consent. I believe that we should expect that animals are treated humanely if they are part of our food-chain including: we should expect that chickens are allowed to roam freely in the open air and eat bugs and that cows are not fed things they would not and should not eat so that they, in turn supply us with healthy food. So much more…we, as Americans have gotten so far away from our true food roots that a lot of people have no idea what the ingredients are in foods that they eat, nor do they care, chilling… We also expect our food to be cheap and we will sacrifice in that area so that we can have other luxuries. Thanks for bringing this to light.

  • Wow! Crazy! I agree, healthy food now means less doctors later!!!

    Shawna E Anderson
    “Your Brain Search & Rescue Program”

  • It is incredible that big companies can change how food is created and the ways it affects us all, in so many ways. I applaud your sharing caring & giving us links to make a difference. Knowledge gives us the power to act. Actions create change. For the sake of our children, the planet and yes even our own health and pocket book it is worth paying attention to buying local & eating green.

  • yes! we live in a community where there is a lot of emphasis on supporting locally-grown, sustainable, + seasonal food + i am constantly grateful for it! there are an abundance of weekly + daily farmers markets + CSAs, so the community makes it easier for us to live + eat healthier. i haven't seen Food Inc. yet, but it's on the netflix queue. 🙂

  • Great article. I became vegetarian in 1971 for exactly this reason; not because I was opposed to the killing of animals, but because of what was put in them (via their feed etc.) and how they were kept just to grow as quickly as possible so the meat could get to the market as quickly as possible. Although that was long before this movie, I am grateful that the movie does show what has been goingn on for years. If more people only knew!

    One other point to add to the eat locally point you made is that even if you buy “organic”, if it is coming from another country or across the country, then the food value is greatly diminished. If you can buy foods that have been picked that day (or even better yet, grow some of your own veggies!), then you will be getting most of the full value of the food. Organic is good, but if your food has no value, then why bother! Great post.

  • AnnaDornier

    Candace, you are right on about organic foods. It really does help if the food is as fresh or as close as possible to the source.

  • AnnaDornier

    Amy, I actually saw the movie on Netflix 🙂 I too am fortunate to live close to a lot of farmer's markets.

  • AnnaDornier

    Hi Jennifer, yes, they have changed it but it's nice to know that we have the power to tell them what we want to support as well.

  • AnnaDornier

    Pat, GMOs was a big debate back then and it still is. The movie also talks about this issue. Yes, cheap really does come at a price which is really ironic if we think about it.

  • AnnaDornier

    Julia, you're daughter seems so mature for having taking action like that. It's great that a lot of us are getting more and more aware of our food sources and practices.

  • AnnaDornier

    I totally agree, Bruce!

  • AnnaDornier

    Heidi, I was actually surprised when I bought fruits the other day. I had enough to feed me and my husband for days for only $11!

  • AnnaDornier

    Damn right, Raymond! Thanks for doing your part.

  • AnnaDornier

    Thanks, Donna. I sure hope so too!

  • AnnaDornier

    Yes, I'd rather spend money on good quality food now instead of useless medication later.

  • Nice overview of Food, Inc. I always encourage people to grow as much of their own food as possible.

  • AnnaDornier

    Thanks, Kevin.