Food, Inc.

I went to watch Food, Inc. yesterday.

It was not only in line with what Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan were saying - Eric Schlosser does not only show up in the film but also is a co-producer, and Michael Pollan speaks a lot in the film.

The story itself was not so new if you have been following the food issues in the past several years - what this film tried to do, it seems, is to make the message even clearer, make it approachable for the general public, or should I say, the consumers.

Sort of a similar fashion how Stonyfield grew into the third biggest yogurt producer in the U.S., and Wal-mart trying to move into organic business - efforts to bring the alternative into the mainstream are happening, and they are not without criticism for having come so far from the hippy small-scale idealism-laden operation.

There was something I did not like about the film - they sort of overused the image of the little boy Kevin who died of E-coli poisoning in the hamburger meat. I can see the filmmaker used it a lot to generate the sympathy from the concerned mothers - if that was the only effective way to communicate, it just tells me something about the self-centeredness of people - only when their children are at the risk, they want to make chanegs - in other words, they do not care unless they consider their children are at risk. The parents' protective nature may be only natural, but sometimes it seems that they only want to protect theirs and not many others.

In a strange way this movie made me cry, for thinking how far we have come to the point where they had to make this kind of movie, for thinking how this will appeal to the general public in the U.S., while at the same time it may be possibly viewed as a technological marvel in the eyes of the Third-World farmers, and for thinking why the U.S. consumers deserve to execute their purchasing power to change the world for the better - is this another kind of the America-saves-the-world story?


    stonyfield is yummy...

    interesting comments about 'idealism-laden' small producers (is this bad?) and people only caring if they are scaring (about their own families anyway..)

    I found marion nestle's comments in this article similarly interesting - does 'sustainability'= 'spirit'?
    We've discussed the hypocrisy of people buying 'virtue' via food on here before, but
    i guess most selfish people need a spirit-fix to do something selfless


    Yeah, I am planning to see it too. But, I have been a little undecided about whether to fork over the 11 clams to see it at the same arthouse that I saw "Future of Food" or to wait until it comes to DVD.

    Does the film really make the information more digestible for folks who are not already involved in food issues? Fear is definitely one of those hooks which turn heads (Future of Food had the whole scared-of-GMO thing going on). Money's the other hook, I suppose. But it is still not playing in the regular movie theaters-- only the small specialty theaters. Who goes to those except for a handful of specialty people.

    But how much was the film just restating what the Pollan acolytes already know?

    I'll see when I see it I guess.


    11 clams aye? That must be Maine terminology, how many clams equals a lobster is my next question.

    The thing that deeply annoys me about this new food activism is the constructed binary between local versus global, conventional versus alternatives, producers versus multinationals. It's so boring and over done, like reading a first year under graduate essay, all they need now is to throw in a few statements from Marx and then we can all blame capitalism.


    1 clam = 1 bone, neither of which convert readily to lobsters though I do think that this time of year, lobsters would run you a lot of cabbage.

    Very well said on the constructed binaries, there M.

    Binaries are comfortable-- you sort of need them for a Movement, right?

    If everything is presented as complex trade-offs in shades of gray, who's going to buy bumperstickers and books, much less write their elected officials?

    They're like models, simplifications of reality so folks can start to understand it and then pick sides.

    Annoying nonetheless...


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