We went to two different BBQ’s over the fourth of July weekend. My husband, Brian, didn’t eat the burgers that were served. Brian loves burgers. At least he did until he went to see Food, Inc. with me Thursday night.
I knew the movie was impacting him when he yelled “No!” out loud early on in the film at the treatment of baby chicks. As each chick was pulled out of an overcrowded drawer and held firmly as its head was smacked into a stamping machine, he stared in disbelief. I think that at that moment, he truly understood the fact that chickens aren’t raised in a barnyard on Old MacDonald’s farm anymore.
The movie’s official website synopsis of the film says “filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry.” Lifting the veil is exactly how I would describe what happened to Brian as he watched Food, Inc. There was so much information to take in during the movie’s 93-minute running time, and it was presented in just the right way to impact both someone like me who is aware of many of our food system’s problems and someone like Brian who didn’t know much about our food system’s problems.
When the movie was over, Brian leaned over to me and said, “I’m okay with you serving less meat and buying better meat.” I had to smile. I’ve already been serving less meat and better meat, but I appreciated what he had to say. He was saying that he’s on the same page as I am about it now.
When we left the theater, I asked Brian if he wanted to write something for this blog. I wanted him to tell my readers what he knows now that he didn’t know before he saw the film. The thing is, it was too much. He bounced from one newly learned about problem to the next. Here are just a few of his thoughts.
- I didn’t know control of almost all of our food came down to just a few companies.
- I’m trying to understand why the government would hire people from these [major food] companies to run federal agencies [like the USDA and FDA].
- Our food system is contributing to our dependence on oil.
- What’s in the food we eat (and not just how much of it we eat) actually causes health problems like diabetes and obesity.
- Consumers lose by having to purchase sub-quality foods (and I’m being very generous by only calling it sub-quality).
His thoughts jumped around like this on the page that he wrote and in the conversation we had afterwards. And that’s okay. Actually, that’s fabulous. He’s really thinking about all of this and seeing the importance of the changes I’ve been making to the food I serve our family.
When I got home from the farmers market on Saturday morning, the first thing he asked was what kind of meat I bought. When I told him, he didn’t say, “Wow, what did that cost?” He said, “Good.”
If you’re someone who is familiar with the subject matter in Food, Inc., by all means still go see it. When you go, take someone with you who isn’t as familiar with the problems with our food system. If we each take one person who doesn’t know yet, we can double the number of informed people. When people have the information, then they can start to make better choices in their food purchases, and that is one powerful way we can make changes to the broken system.