If you’re in agriculture and receive one of the many e-newsletters or review ag websites, you’ve probably been exposed to the fact that the movie, Food Inc., will open in select theatres on Friday, June 12. The buzz? Ag enthusiasts are curious, scared and even worried if this movie will exploit the industry. And why shouldn’t we be worried?
Most recently the swine industry has taken a bath as a result of the poorly named H1N1 flu. Uneducated consumers pointed fingers at the swine industry – and purchases of pork at the meat counter dramatically suffered. Due to the fact that this movie is opening in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’m personally concerned of the reaction and reviews. The high concentration of activists and uneducated and highly impressionable people that will probably attend these openings is concerning. Wish they would have an opening in the heart of agriculture production – the Midwest? RED FLAG! Between the mega dollar supporters of PETA and the sometimes questionable agenda of the government led Humane Society of United States, agriculturalists have good reason to be on edge. BUT! The question remains: are agriculturalists hiding something or are they misrepresented by a few “bad eggs?”
As I review the website of Food Inc., and after watching the trailer, I have a positive vibe this movie is going to be real. The bright green layout and trailer leads me to believe this is not going to be a dark movie depicting all of the “bad eggs” every industry has, yet a movie that points out facts of present day agricultural practices. Will I see footage that disturbs this Iowa farm girl? Probably. Whether you grew up on a farm or not, no one wants to see animals mistreated.
Will I agree with every point of the movie? Probably not. But, I do hope it educates. I don’t know everything about farming and will never claim to. I don’t know everything about how government policies frame the day-to-day practices of a farmer, but I suspect there have been some bad politics along the way that we don’t know about.
Before you point fingers at small or large scale livestock producers or grain farmers, think, review and question. Does every industry need change? You bet, but at what price? It seems U.S. consumers thought bigger was better so farmers have tried to optimize their practices to meet demand and at the same time maintain profit with ethical farming practices. I’d guess you’ve ordered a meal and taken the choice to “Super-Size” it. Now we are discovering that might not be the best choice and re-educating ourselves about portion size, the origin of our food, if it is natural, organic or genetically modified.
Education and communication are key. Nothing new right? In the end, I hope you choose to educate yourselves, your neighbors, your children, and think about your food choices. Start a conversation with your friends. Ask your local restaurant where they purchase their produce and meat. You know you’ll ask the day you get sick and you’re trying to point fingers at the source of your food borne illness. In the end, this is the food that fuels your body. Look around locally. Seek out your local “CSA” (Community Suppored Ag) system, visit your local farmers market and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it really is to eat local and to learn about the sources of your food ingredients.
Author: Bellana Putz