Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food Inc. directed by Robert Kenner


While yesterday I made my case for reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle today I'm following the food trend with a recent documentary that approaches the subject of dietary choices from a different angle. Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and Robert Kenner have teamed up to take a hard look at what lies behind the pastoral packaging that adorns the items on our grocer's shelves and uncover the big players in the multi-billion dollar food industry.

Unless you grow your own food or shop at a farmer's market the bulk of the foodstuffs you consume are produced and processed as a kog in the massive agribusiness machine. And the key to that movement from soil to shelf is speed. From the slaughtering of animals to the harvesting of corn (America's primary plant crop) the big businesses work to deliver the goods that we want. Schlosser and Kenner show the price that is paid for the ruthless efficiency that we have come to expect as consumers.

This film is not for the faint of heart. There are no brutal scenes of butchery but you get the feel for the lives of the animals that make it to our dinner plates. You also experience the frustration of the farmers who are caught between the demands of the big companies and their own efforts to stay true to their livelihood.

Food Inc. is a film that helps to rip the veils from your eyes. Your next trip to the grocery, should you decide to make it, will be as much more informed consumer. If you'd like a little more cinematic variety regarding food issues, King Corn is another recent documentary that looks at the crop that has found its way into almost all of the food we eat.

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