This weekend we watched Food Inc., a documentary which examines corporate farming in the USA and concludes that the food industry often is putting profits ahead of consumer health and the livelihood of farmers.
I think most people agree that, looking at rising obesity and diabetes rates etc, there’s a problem with the way we as North Americans eat, and it’s definitely worth looking into where our food comes from and what we choose to eat. Anna and I have talked a lot about the kind of eating and lifestyle habits we want to have as a family. We’re not really health nuts, but definitely want to live and eat in a healthy way, and pass on good habits to Olivia.
Food Inc. raised issues that are quite personal for us, not only because it discusses the source of the food that we eat, but because we live in a farming region and have many friends and family members quite involved in the farming industry. While the film paints “multi-national corporations” as the evil greedy bad guys, it’s obviously not quite as simple as that. Afterall, we have them to thank for most of the food that’s available to us, and the science and technology that have helped us be as healthy as we in fact are. But the film does underscore some important values and adds some good thoughts to the discussion of healthy eating.
Here are a couple things that’ve had me thinking since watching the doc (“food” for thought, if you will…:):
Respect for food is connected to respect for humanity.
Food Inc. pointed out that when animals become merely meals on legs, products to be produced more quickly and efficiently, then it’s easy for the people that work the fields and factories to become merely human machines, and those who eat them to become merely consumers. I think it’s important for us as eaters to realize where our food comes from and the work that went into producing it. If I were a farmer, I’d hope that food would be more than a commodity where the price tag is all that matters, and that we’d honour the people that work to produce quality food by expecting to pay fair prices for it. (I think thxthxthx may have a point as well).
Change starts at your dinner table.
While it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the food industry and all the factors affecting the food we eat, Food Inc. gave some really great “first steps” to healthier eating, things like planting a garden, avoiding sugary drinks, paying attention to food labels, and having “meatless Mondays”. Personally, for a while now we’ve been trying to do more of our own cooking, without resorting to pre-packaged food. We’re also really excited to plant our very first garden (on what is now a little dirt mound, aka “blank canvas”) in a few weeks.
I’m curious as to what you think about the documentary (if you’ve watched it) and the issues surrounding the North American food systems, and what kinds of things you and your family do to eat healthy. McDonald’s three times a day? Veggies and water forever? How do you balance nutrition with the realities of living in our highly-processed sugar-filled culture?