Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Must See Film!

When Mom showed me the dvd she brought home the other day I was totally psyched. I love cows and figured I would like a film about them. Boy, was I wrong.

I was having a very peaceful nap last night when Mom woke me up to tell me the film was starting. She knew I didn't want to miss the cow film so I wasn't mad that she woke just as I was dreaming about going through the drive-thru at Popeyes. Nominated for an Oscar this year for best documentary, Food, Inc. tells the story of where our food comes from. Simple and to the point, right? Think again.

This film was unlike any other we have watched. It was well filmed and beautifully narrated. It's hard for me to describe but the opening sequences were beautiful and it was like we were watching a regular film. I admit that there were some scenes that I couldn't watch. I covered my eyes while Mom covered my ears because I don't like to see or hear animals being hurt. Mom tells me that this film contains only mild farm scenes and since I didn't want her to go into detail I didn't ask what she meant.

I really liked the first couple segments of the movie because they showed how we got to where we are today. How did we end up with factory farms, producing mass amounts of food for the cheapest cost possible? Who or what was behind it? I can't tell you the answers to these questions but we've all played a role in it, even me. Yes, even a pug is to blame for the mess we are in.

Did you know that corn is present in most of the packaged food in the grocery store? The film really delves into the Farm Bill and corn subsidies though they only present one side of the story. Like everything in life, you must do research and decide for yourself whether actions like these are the right thing to do for the greater good. The bottom line is that corn is king and soybeans are queen. Without these two crops we would starve because so much of our food production is tied up in them.

Factory farming is never pretty no matter how you spin it. The film takes viewers to chicken farms, to a chicken processor, and to the largest hog processing facility in the world. Some of the scenes are graphic but again if you want to know where your food comes from, you have to be prepared for the truth.

Mom thought one of the most interesting aspects of the film was the human factor. Not just the farmers and others interviewed in the film but the segment on the workers that work in the hog processing plant. It is eye opening (my eyes were open for this part) to really understand the cost of cheap food. Cheap food to the consumer means that all along the farm to table line and beyond, there are many costs to be paid by producing cheap food. No one should be treated like the workers in the hog processing plant yet this inhumane treatment continues as I type this. Big corporations treat workers like they treat the meat those workers process but I bet the cost to workers lives are never a consideration to most people who eat meat.

Environmental issues abound in the film as they do in every film about food. The production of food is to blame for a host of environmental issues. Is food a basic human right? I don't think anyone would argue that but is destroying the environment while producing food a right as well? That shouldn't even be up for discussion because there are right ways and wrong ways to do everything, including food production. Only time will tell the real costs to our one and only planet from producing food the cheapest way possible.

I don't want to give away too much of the film but I do want everyone to see it. It's important to know where your food comes from and to establish a connection with it on a natural level. Those that grow their own food do so not just because it tastes good and it's less expensive than purchasing it in a grocery store, but they do so to get back to their roots (literally) by working the very soil that has provided for so many over the years. The experience of growing food seems like one of the most things anyone can do.

If you cannot get this film, either from the library, by purchasing it, or renting it, the film will be shown on April 21 on PBS. I'm sure it's no coincidence that this film is being shown the day before Earth Day. The film is just another reminder of where we've been and where we're headed. We have lots of work to do to change policies, ignite fires under big businesses, demand better legislation, and to decide what we will and will not eat. We hold the golden ticket. We speak volumes with our purchasing power; every dollar we spend sends a message to food producers. Like Mom always says we come a long way baby and we ain't there yet.

Food, Inc. on POV


Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

Stubby, moms tried to watch that movie with dad. She gots a little grossed out and upsets about animals being hurt.

She LOVES cows too! Which is a good thing since we resemble cows a little.. bol!

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Stubby said...

Hi Stella, Gunther & Betty! That's so cool that your parents watched the film. Well at least your dad did. Did he like it? And your mom got grossed out and upset, huh? That's why I couldn't watch some of it.

I'm glad your mom loves cows. I don't think you guys look like cows at all. At least not Stella & Gunther. My girl Betty is a little cow like but that's how I like her!

Stubby xoxo

dw said...

I've heard of this movie, Stubby, and I might eventually watch it. I want to read Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan which also talks about our food, where it comes from, and what we should be eating. There's corn in way too many things, imo. Not that corn is bad, but corn in so many forms in everything? Just a bit too much for me. Cows should be "free range" -- no, that doesn't mean that steaks are free, it means that they can roam around and eat grain rather than being fed corn in a stall in a barn. Cows aren't supposed to have so much corn. Anyway, thankie for the movie rec. :)

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Please tell me that a cow does not die.
My mommie might watch it- but I can tell she will be sad.
My mama will not watch it at all-
I am not sure what I will do, I do not want to see any animal die- but thank you for giving me a choice.
You are always up on the latest.
Long live TOFU!

THE PUGLET said...

Hey Stubbs!

Good pick!

We watched that movie once too. The bad parts weren't as bad as that dolphin movie (The Cove) and you can probably even skip them and still learn a lot.

Like about corn and farming and stuff.

My human says Michael Pollan is a 'rockstar' (even though he writes books?!?). She says Omnivore's Dilemma (and his other stuff) is reeealy good.

I think that would make a good name for a pug's biography. Omnivore's Dilemma: so much food, so little time.

Stubby said...

Hi dw! Mom's read those books and really liked them. Michael Pollan has a new book out "Food Rules" that Mom has on hold at the library.

There's definitely way too much corn in everything and that has to do with the corn subsidies. Cows aren't suppose to eat corn but then again pugs probably aren't suppose to eat Popeyes.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! Cows do die in the film as do chickens and pigs. It was very hard for me to watch those scenes which is why I covered my eyes. It your mommie watches it make sure you are out of the room. It will make you cry too much.

I love tofu and Mom does too. It's delicious and good for you.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! Yes this film wasn't as graphic as "The Cove" but it still had its moments. Michael Pollan is a rock star and he's famous so maybe you can get him to donate to pugs. He might even need a posse and you could be part of it.

I like that name for a pug biography. I think mine might be "Death by Popeyes".

Stubby xoxo

Anonymous said...

I have heard about this film and I don't know if I could watch it.

I try my best to buy local meat but sometimes you can't (like sausage or bacon etc). We are also trying our best to cut out processed food too.

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!
oh what a great reveiw! we will have to see this movie!
happy monday!
m & e

Stubby said...

Hi Lex! The film might be a little painful to watch but it's so worth it. You'll learn so much about food that it will make you question where your food comes from.

I'm glad to hear that you buy local meat when you can and that you are cutting out processed food. I love processed meats but Mom says they're bad for me and bad for the environment.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! You are going to love the film. Hopefully Emmitt will be able to watch it in its entirety because he's older and wiser than me.

Stubby xoxo