Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where does YOUR food come from?

This is the question that that movie Food Inc. addresses. The documentary came out in 2008 and I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to hear about it and to get it from the library. But after watching this movie last night with my roomie, I don't think I'll ever look at my food the same way, specifically the meat that I eat.

The film is broken down into 3 sections:
  • the inhumane and unsustainable industrial production of meat (chicken, beef, pork)
  • the industrial production of grains & veggies
  • the corporate-controlled food industry

I could talk about this movie for paragraphs, but I'll refrain from doing so and leave you with quotations and points that struck me the most.
  • I've read about the cruelty to animals in the slaughter houses but it was so much more powerful and revolting to see film footage of it. It was actually traumatizing.
  • The film delves into immigrant workers who are often transported to the US on bus by meatpacking companies (which is often ignored by immigration authorities) with the promise of higher wages. Several of the major agricultural businesses experience "occasional small raids" where 10-15 of their workers are detained. This radically changes the life of the worker but has little impact on slowing or stopping production within the company itself.
  • "The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 in setting up large-scale facilities and makes only $18,000 a year." ($500,000/$18,000 = 27.7 yrs)
  • "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000."
  • "Even if you don't eat at a fast food restaurant, you're now eating food that's produced by this system."
  • "I think it's one of the most important battles for consumers to fight: the right to know what's in their food, and how it was grown." - Joel Salatin

Me and my roomie had a good conversation afterwards, brainstorming of what we can do to make a difference. It's difficult as a student because the first thing that comes to mind is $$$. The first thing that came to mind was become a vegetarian, however, I love my meat too much. I tried going vegetarian for a week and it was the longest 7 days of my life!! But what I have decided is to start buying my meat locally from the Farmers Market and to do my reserach on the meat that is sold at the local grocery stores. It's only a small step but it's one that is important to me.

As for Food Inc., I highly recommend it to everyone, even the faint of heart. It definitely has the power to change your next grocery store visit! And for those who think this isn't a Canadian problem, the Montreal gazette noted that "despite the film's focus on American food manufacturure, the film is worth viewing by anyone living in a country where large-scale food production occurs."

For more information on "green meat" in Nova Scotia, click here (warning: this is a lengthy article and some strong language is used).

Have you seen Food Inc.? What has your experience been with buying local?


  1. My boyfriend actually watched Food Inc. After I told him I had decided to turn completely vegetarian just to learn more about why I chose to do so and what not. Now he buys nothing but organically, free range, hormone-free meat. :)

  2. That's great to hear Mary! When making the decision it's sometimes hard to grasp the impact that it has on the environment and on the meat industry...but when you see that hundreds of people are going vegetarian or choosing local you realize that the combined efforts really do go a long ways :)