Sunday, July 19, 2009

Food Inc At the Naro

PREVIEW--FOOD INC. With Speakers and a Discussion.
Wednesday 7/29/09 at 7:15 pm at the Naro Cinema.

Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies FOR FOOD, the USDA and FDA. Our nation's nutrition is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers, and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e-coli, the harmful bacteria that causes illness in an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward-thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking—truths about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation, and where we are going from here. (PG, 94 mins) Discussion to follow the film.

Click here to visit official site.


J. Tyler Ballance said...


J. Tyler Ballance said...

Where I lived in Asia, people ate dogs and rats because there simply was not enough protein available from other sources, because their farm system just could not produce enough.

Here in America, we complain because our food production system is too big, too successful and controlled by a small number of oligarchs.

I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and I will probably see this film, too. Although I do not think I will join the alarmist bandwagon.

Surely, it is prudent to diversify our food sources and broaden the distribution network, but we needn't destroy the last thing that America does better than anyone else in the world, in the process.

Star Womanspirit said...

I have a friend now living in China....where did you live and how long were you there?

However, the myth about needing more protein that one can derive from a plant based diet is fiction and is promoted in America by the meat and dairy industry in America. (Those dogs and rats are being consumed in China for reasons other than avoiding a mythical protein deficiency.)

You can find protein deficiency in a starving situation.....but eating a varied vegan diet provides all the protein and nutrition one needs. (Vitamin D is an exception and is optimally obtained via sunlight...but if you aren't getting outside enough take a vitamin D supplement for sure.) Some do choose to take a vitamin B supplement when they stop eating meat. I don't and I have no known deficiencies and no symptoms other than improved health has resulted from my personal change in eating.

I am not promoting an alarmist bandwagon. I want to see local communities have more food choices, increased access to local, fresh produce, and develop a mutually beneficial relationship between local family farmers and the surrounding community. Personally I want to spend my time and money with mom and pop local businesses and avoid the large corporations as much as possible. Buying locally strengthens local economies; it keeps 43% of every dollar spent in the local community vs 13% spent with large corporations like Kraft foods, Home Depot, Wal Mart etc.

I just don't consider any of this alarmist. I choose to support local, small business instead of supporting the multinational corporate agenda to increase their profits at my expense and lobbying the government to subsidize unhealthy practices and limit my choices (and competition) in purchasing products.

I hope you join us for Food Inc. It promises to be an interesting evening.


J. Tyler Ballance said...

Not sure why you presumed, that when I wrote Asia, I meant China. I didn't.

Dogs and rats are fair game in many of the Asian countries with the obvious exception of India's Hindu population.

I am looking forward to the show. I worked at the NARO back when I was a teenager. I went to Blair Junior High School across the street. I hope some of my old classmates will come out to learn what this film has to offer. I hope it isn't anything like Al Gore's global warming film; that was boring and neglected to address the effects of solar variance on surface temperatures throughout our solar system.

As to the buy locally idea, I totally agree.

Star Womanspirit said...

Thank you J. Tyler for catching me on one of those "assumptions" that us Americans are prone to make.

I'm definitely guilty in this instance. Something I need to work on.

Wed nite and Food Inc are almost here.

sony camera said...

thanks ,good article...

J. Tyler Ballance said...

OK. I saw the movie, Food Inc.

Without question, the animals are not treated humanely, but even if they were each patted on the head, and tucked in each night, the brutal truth is that we kill and eat them. To omnivores, all of those animals are food.

While the documentary tried to imply that that we are no better off with regard to food safety than during, The Jungle's author, Upton Sinclair's time, the case was not effectively made. The safety record of the food processing industry, even with some recent notable errors, has been good, especially when one considers the volume of product that gets processed.

The truth is, that I am more likely to be infected by one of the chronically coughing humans who attended the film (a packed house at the Naro, with at least six people near where I sat who probably had some sort of cold or flu), than I would be likely to contract an E. coli (or other) infection from a meat or poultry product.

One very valid point that the film makes is that all of our food is getting processed by just a few multinational conglomerates. This is an anti-competitive situation that calls for strong anti-trust action to break up the four giant oligopolies who control the US meat and poultry industry. Breaking up these enormous companies would also help promote a more competitive atmosphere that could lead to better hygiene practices and perhaps even lower prices with higher quality; but that is speculative.

When Standard Oil, or the Bell System was broken-up, there was little real competition and we all saw our phone rates, as well as gas prices, go dramatically up.

Yet, it is still a good idea to not have all of your food processing in the the hands of a few mega-corporations.

The film cited the mysteries of hamburger several times, and they are right. You never know what goes into hamburger. I avoid it.

When I do eat meat, which is now only two or three times per week, I use cuts of steaks that are prepared for me by a local butcher. Anyone can delete hamburger for steak, if you elect to use smaller cuts that you eat less frequently than burgers.

Practice safe food handling procedures: At the market, place your hand in a plastic bag and reach out to pick-up the plastic-wrapped steak, that way you do not handle the package. When home, put the double wrapped steak in the fridge. When ready to cook, remove the plastic cover with a knife or scissors. Discard the plastic in the trash, place the contaminated cutting utensil in a container with soap and bleach, to soak while you cook the steak. Some suggest washing the meat, or marinating the meat, but if you select a quality piece, from a well run meat cutter, then you can go straight from the package to the grill. Cook thoroughly and evenly. Small cuts are easily done on a George Foreman style grill in eight minutes, with a slight pink middle, with clear juices. After dining, clean any surface or utensil that touched the raw meat (not the grill) with bleach or bleach wipes.

As for the fruits and veggies, don't just baptize them in a colander, really wash them using a light surfactant then rinse well.

There are many points to sound food safety, and I just touched on a few items here.

One final point: Some markets are buying produce from China or other less developed countries. China and some of their neighbors use raw sewage in their fields as fertilizer. So be wary if the package does not list a true origin, but instead just says, "Distributed by... (some US company) Distributed by, is not the origin of the product.

One example: a well known Virginia grocery chain was selling Broccoli that was distributed by a Monterey California company, The store shelf was labeled, "California Broccoli" but the Broccoli came from China.

BTW - American Violet will be coming to the Naro soon. It is a great film based on the truth regarding how police agencies try to pump-up drug conviction rates without regard to the actual guilt of citizens.

Every American should see, American Violet.