Huh, what's wrong with the food system?

If you live in America and if you eat food, watch this film.  Please.

Food, Inc.
Directed by Robert Kenner Or read the book.
Many people saw Food, Inc. earlier in the year, but once again I fall behind on the bandwagon.  Food, Inc. is currently out of theaters, but it will be released to DVD in a month.  Tonight I attended a viewing sponsored by the Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Food, Inc. goes beyond the fast food phenomena, and digs deeper to reveal disconcerting trends in the American food system.  Director Robert Kenner  sends a clear message: The food system needs restoration.  Such a restoration will require new public policy, revolutionized agricultural practices, and a different way of eating in America.  Though such changes may seem distant from the lives of individuals, Kenner sends another equally powerful message: American consumers have the power to affect this change as they demand healthful and ethical food.  This demand starts with our shopping carts.  

Perspectives from Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) added credibility to the movie.  The film also features Gary Hirshberg, the Chairman, President and "Ce-Yo" of Stonyfield Farm (think, yogurts).  After tonight's showing Gary Hirshberg came to answer questions from the Friedman community.  What a unique opportunity.
Hirshberg hopes that Food, Inc. will increase awareness about America's broken food system.  Ultimately, he wants the movie to lead to new conversations, and then those discussions can lead to change.   So far the movie has garnered over 600,000 views in 500 theaters and the book is in it's 7th printing.  Look for the DVD in November!
Tonight's film left me pensive.  As I walked home from the subway I mentally gathered three lessons in my head.  First, I confront sustainable agriculture yet again. Slowly my mind mobilizes from ambivalency to interest.  Yes, I believe farmers markets can make a difference!  But can I support them every week?  I wager, likely not.  
Second, I see the benefits of organic food.  No, I still do not think organic food necessarily has increased health benefits.  (That topic requires a separate post and lots of research.)  But organic food has unarguable environmental benefits.  Tonight Gary Hirshberg quoted, "There's only one reason to not eat organic: price."  Do I agree with this? 
Thirdly.  I learned that food, like any other commodity, has value associated with cost.  This seems obvioius, but Hirshberg pointed out, "The whole food system is based on low costs.  Americans are used to cheap food, but we don't remember to measure the costly externalities."  He mentions the oil costs, the negative impacts on the environment, and the rising cost of obesity and diabetes in the American population.   I need to stop scrimping, and spend the extra buck on fruits, veggies and lean protein.  I am paying for quality and investing in health.  
Tonight Food, Inc. challenged my grocery list and my plate.


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Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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