Food Inc.

LOVE having grandma live nearby. Saw Food Inc. last night, our fourth movie in three years, and cannot get over it.

What has become of our nation’s food supply? Why is it all made from a couple of crops, paid for by tax dollars, even though it’s not the healthiest food?

I mean, I taught Fast Food Nation for three years to my freshman English students. And I’m pretty well versed in everything Pollan says on NPR when they get in one of their all-food-all-the-time blocks. But I’m still shocked by a lot of what Food Inc. had to say.

Sure, it had the predictable propaganda moments. Music swell over repeated shots of the boy who died from E coli poisoning because beef recalls are still voluntary and the FDA and USDA have no real regulatory power anymore. Dastardly sinister music while we watch what technology has done to assembly-line food production. But pretty simple parsing of the purpose of the film would predict that. Of course it’s propaganda. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have important information. Critical thinking skills (which, unfortunately, are not always taught in colleges anymore), deduce that most of the fundamentals of the film are sound.

Mostly, I’m shocked that when the government complains we’re out of money, that we can’t get Americans healthy because we can’t afford it, they’re ignoring a glaringly simple way to rescue two birds with one pocketed stone: stop paying anyone not following organic practices. Stop it. It should not cost tax payers for huge farming corporations (all four of them who control virtually all of what this country produces) to make food seem cheap. What tax dollars buy is the ability for chemical-laden corn syrup and soy Frankenbeans to be cheaper than more healthful foods (healthful for our bodies and the planet).

If we stop paying huge multinational corporations to produce tons and tons and tons of food that we then overprocess and feed to animals who should be eating something else, maybe food will cost what it should. Maybe a head of broccoli will be cheaper than brown, carbonated sugar water trucked all across the country using scarce petroleum. Maybe organic proteins will be cheaper than a chemical-laden, ammonia bathed, bacteria-opportunistic burger or chlorine washed chicken breast at a fast food restaurant. Or maybe people will cut back from their average of 200 pounds of meat a year because the real cost finally makes it a food they enjoy but limit.

And maybe if we take the tax savings and pay for health care, people who buy the now cheaper whole foods will be healthier and not need as much medical treatment. Maybe obesity and diabetes will decline from epidemic proportions and we will all be eating what our local farmers produce instead of the chemical sludge, shipped from thousands of miles away, that we’re all pretending is food.

So cut all subsidies to food producing companies. Don’t lie about how important corn syrup is for our national health. If we have that much corn, so much that it can be processed into any number of pretend foods, then we have too much corn. Stop paying agribusiness to genetically modify and pesticide and herbicide and chemically fertilize and gas-harvest and chemically wash and process and alter and reprocess and package and truck and sell.

Now that we have all that money back, take the savings and give us health care instead of massive profit private health insurance. Or subsidize organic farms and teach small farmers to become organic farmers. It would do the nation’s food supply a lot more good than huge quantities of sprayed and processed and modified foods.

And while the gov. is taking care of that, please vote with your dollars. Buy food grown safely by people you trust.

After the movie, we ate here and I still eyed the potatoes, a produuct normally so pesticide and herbicide treated that it has to sit for several weeks after harvest to outgas all the chemicals before it’s deemed suitable for human consumption. Mmmmm.

Slaughterhouse morsels

Well, years after Fast Food Nation exposed the rampant practice of misleading and hiring illegal immigrants for slaughterhouse work, the government noticed. And busted several slaughterhouses.

Now it seems the latter group has found this convenient replacement source of abusable labor. Nothing like hiring children to butcher your meat (or win your gymnastics medals).

Please, y’all, reconsider eating the flesh of critters. Each burger includes a healthy helping of fecal matter, it’s bad for your heart, it can give you colon cancer, and the industry producing it abuses its workers, suppliers, and animals. They’re feeding dead cows to chickens, and chicken crap to cows. Why not just save a step and feed us all downer cows and SARS birds?

If you don’t get your antibiotic, hormone, fecal bacteria special burger from a slaughterhouse, and aren’t a particularly good hunter, make sure you have the government gun down animals who don’t have any measured effect on what you want to hunt.

Where’s that absentee ballot when you need it?