Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Disconnect

As we have made the switch from a better than average, but still somewhat typical American diet, we've made an effort to educate ourselves on the food we eat. Growing up I ate a lot of meat, eggs and dairy like most people. But in general, I felt I ate better than most. I never drank coffee, I stopped drinking soda before high school and couldn't even stomach ground beef. We never eat fast food (a decision further solidified by Super Size Me) and shopped a lot at our local farmer's market.

Then Napoleon was hurt and our eyes, mind and heart were opened. It takes a lot to realize that you've been marketed to all and told this story all your life. That information was withheld from you and that you were so disconnected from the food you put into your body that you don't even make the connection that the veal you've opposed all your life is directly a result of the cow's milk you were so afraid to not have for your cereal.

I think I'm a pretty savvy person when it comes to marketing stories. I mean, darn it!, I work in advertising. I create these stories and positioning everyday. That's why, as we've learned more and more I'm even more appalled. If, as someone in the industry, I couldn't see through these deceptions, how easy can it be for other people?

That's why it's so important that people see these documentaries. Food Inc. is about where you food is coming from. There is some information about factory farms (the probable ground zero for the latest swine flu outbreak - a Smithfield factory farm in Mexico) and huge seed/chemical companies. While The Future of Food focuses more on Monsanto and how there are only a small handful of corporations controlling our food sources and distribution. The latter scared the heck out of me!

Food Inc. just played at a local film festival and will probably have a limited theater distribution. I had some friends who saw it and said it was very very impactful and eye-opening. I missed it but hope to see it via Netflix soon

The Future of Food is available on Hulu right now. I watched this the other night and was surprised and scared at the implications. There could come a time very very soon when the US is banned from exporting our corn and wheat completely. That is a major issue when our economy is in such a precarious state. And what these companies are doing is so risky and, frankly, unethical. You will be amazed at how little you knew about what was going on. I know I was.

I think that all of this information about food and what we eat and where it comes from should be taught in schools. I feel like I've been told nothing but propaganda my whole life. I am just now coming out of the dark and into the light.


Meg said...

The stuff with Monsanto really does scare me, from a health perspective, from an ecological perspective, and from an economical perspective, too. They are putting things into these plants that are untested and I don't want to be a guinea pig. If it was isolated and labeled, that'd be one thing perhaps, but since genes have a way of spreading naturally we should all be very concerned if not completely outraged.

In regards to veal and milk... As you know, I am not a vegetarian and have no plans to become one, though I eat far more vegetarian meals than is probably normal here in the South. However, I do think that it is important for people -- whatever their diets -- to understand the effects of those diets on themselves and others so that they can make informed choices.

I do think it is sad how animals are mistreated during their lives -- however long or short they may be. I don't think that is necessary at all. It is not enough to turn me vegan, but it is enough that I'm willing to raise my own chickens and pay a bit more (when I have the option) for animal products that promise better living conditions for the animals. Hopefully, choices like mine will encourage more companies to see the light.

Anonymous said...

The Future of Food is a real eye-opener on how we are rapidly loosing the ability to have any control over the quality or content of commercially produced food. It seems to me to be pure insanity to be handing so much power on this issue over to the giant corporations who's primary (maybe only?) motive is short-term profit. I like many others have begun raising my own food from heritage varieties and raising chickens... for starters.