Friday, November 13, 2009

A Fresh Look

Last week, my wife and I rented and watched the film Food, Inc. and found it to be very eye-opening.  It made us look at how we buy food, take stock of what we are doing right, and look at what we could do better.  It also made us want to make sure we were switching to grass-fed beef and other meats - which we had started to do - and look for different ways to buy more locally grown food.  Luckily our friends the Chicago Gardner and the Nature Nerd are always there to help us out.

One thing both of them did was point us to the movie Fresh which is being viewed at different screenings over the nation. (In fact, we went to the screening with them, Five Crows and her husband, and another friend of ours.)  The screening happened to be very near to our place of work (one could say it was on the campus...even though technically it was not).  Just like Food, Inc., Fresh was a look into the industrialization of our food supply.  Fresh, however, spent a little more time focusing on the alternatives to this corporate mentality to raising livestock and growing food.  It also builds a very compelling argument that medium-sized local farms is the way to go when trying to "feed the world." As with Food, Inc., I want to give some impressions I had of the movie and some facts that were given.
  • I found it interesting that they stated 3 new jobs would be created for every one that was lost if we started to deindustrialize our food supply.
  • One acre of Polyface Farms (run by my new hero Joel Salatin) makes $3,000.  One acre of his neighbor's livestock ranch makes $150....hmmmmm....(and Saladin doesn't need to buy seed or anything)
  • I loved Saladin's comments on being stewards of the land and embracing the rolls the animals perform in the wild.  Feed an herbivore grass...what a novel concept! *
  • The specialization of farms is leading to more virulent diseases.  They are becoming more resistant to antibiotics and the like...yet the natural farmers do not have as many disease problems.
  • I loved the Growing Power organization that is found north of me in Milwaukee, WI.  More people should know of such programs.
  • There is a lot more hope felt in this film.  You see multiple people starting to try and turn against the industrialized food supply.
  • I loved the fact they had local farmers and CSA opportunities at the screening.  Good job with that!
  • The industrialized food supply system is non-sustainable...naturally....hence all the antibiotics, herbicides, and the like.
  • I liked how they stated there is no such thing as cheap food.  You either pay for it up front with money, or through taxes and health problems.  I know some people would scoff at this last statement, but I have not eaten at what one would traditionally call a fast food restaurant since August.  In that time, I have lost almost 25 pounds...and the taste of the food is so much better.
I liked this film at least as much as Food, Inc..  I really liked the way it showed the alternatives and showed how they are working...right now.  My wife and I are going out to our local farmer's market tomorrow.  Hope you get a chance to go out to yours when it won't regret it.

* Please note the sarcasm in this statement...

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