February 11, 2011

Food, Inc. -- Review and Thoughts

My mom and I watched Food, Inc. last night.  I had heard about the movie and other people's opinions.  It's different when you see it for yourself.  The viewer is taken on a tour through Tyson and Purdue owned farms (more like warehouses) as well as an organic farm.  The difference is astonishing.  Sadly, the organic farm is questioned regularly by the government and yet the warehouse farms are the norm.  There are several interviews with farmers, law makers, inspectors, etc.  The most shocking statistic that I heard (and I can't find it online to quote verbatim) was in the 1970's  over 50,000 (I think?) food inspections took place and in 2006 (?) about 9,000 (again not sure on the numbers but it was an astonishing drop).   Another point the movie touches on is how cheap it is to eat low-nutrition foods and how expensive it is to eat healthy foods.  While we're not the healthiest family on the planet, I'd like to share with you what our family does to eat healthy and what our future plans are.

Part of the reason why we have our own chickens is for good, fresh eggs.  We have a dairy goat so we can milk her in the spring after she has her babies (hopefully more than one...I'd like two more does).  We'll use that milk to drink, make cheese, yogurt, and soap.  I'm not sure we'll have enough with one goat for all those endeavors.  I hope some day we can have two to milk....even more!  We have a large garden to help reduce what produce (in the summer, anyway) we have to buy from the store.  I try to cook from scratch as much as I can.  Some days are better than others.  We drink a lot of water from our reverse osmosis system (living on farm land, you never know what's in the water).  We don't eat out much.  It's not only a wasteful practice for our family, it's not very healthy.  I think our family has come a long way from where it was a few years ago; prior to chickens, goats and large gardens.

However we have so far to go.  We are thinking on expanding our chicken flock to have more to butcher, and also to build a chicken tractor so they can eat more bugs and grass and less feed (which is mostly corn).  We are seeking out a grass fed beef farm to buy half or quarter of a cow.  We hope to have our own hog to raise some day. (After the littlest ones are old enough to understand that his name will be something more along the lines of "Pork Chop" or "Bacon" instead of "Wilbur" or "Babe" and when they can grip the fact that he won't be a permanent guest.)  We hope to purchase more local items from farmers markets.  Not just any farmer, but ones who don't use pesticides.  I know it will cost a bit more than going to W*lmart and buying a tomato ripened with ethylene gas, but our family's health is worth it.  (Yes, I buy those so-called "vine ripened" ones in the winter...blech!)  We plan to buy local honey.  I hear it helps a lot with allergies.  Again, more expensive, but if it helps with the many allergies we have issues with in the spring and fall and our family can be less dependent on medicine, then it's worth it to!

In what ways are you living a more healthy lifestyle? One of the quotes that I love best at the end of the film is when they are interviewing a farmer and he says "If you want to buy $2 milk, you're gonna get a feedlot in the backyard.  It's that simple. People have got to start demanding good, wholesome food of us.  And we'll deliver.  I promise you."  

How will you start demanding more wholesome food?  It's a question I'm asking myself.


Kelle at The Never Done Farm said...

As per your question at the end of your post; well you have already answered it, grow/ raise as much as you can for yourself, then shop for wholesome foods from local producers, then if you must resort to local stores before supporting big box stores( such as wally world) Cooking from scratch, not eating out, etc.... The only things I might add is to seriouslt look at ALL ingredients, where it derives from and process locations. We, presonally have made it a life habit to shop for as much locally produced products( starting right in our small town first, then to the next small town and so on with the large city being our last choice and even then we avoid ALL large box stores, rather searching out the more Mom and Pop type businesses.

Recycle, reuse and share( clothing, services, carpooling etc....) Think of how you can pinch the budget of all of these industrial farms, factories and stores( many of which are now overseas, so no jobs will be lost here anyway) Bartering is another avenue, that will support local economy and put the pinch on the banksters( large corp. banks)
Just my opinion, for what it's worth. You are definately on the right path, keep putting one foot infront of the other.


Anonymous said...

I found that it was actually cheaper for us to eat all natural and healthier. We did not have to buy as much qunaity and we were not buying the bags of things and the frozen meals and such. Simple way is nice. The milk was more expensive by far. But the meat, if you cant afford a half of one you can use a small town local market they generally have organic fed meat.

Heidi said...

Love your review of this movie. I have watched it and recommended it several of my family members and friends.

As to your questions:

The first one: "In what ways are you living a more healthy lifestye?" We are raising more and more of our own food all the time. We have goats for milk and possibly meat, Chickens for meat and eggs, ducks for meat and eggs and rabbits for meat. We are toying with the idea of a dairy cow as well. We have been working on amending a large garden plot. So far it's not producing much, but it is getting better. Last year we were part of a CSA and this year will probably do that again.

The second one: "How will you start demanding more wholesome food?" That one is quite simple. Quit buying the sub-par food. Farmers and food manufacturers will continue to produce what sells. If we quit buying the feed lot fare, and start buying the organic, free range and grass fed fare things will change.

Carmen at Old House Homestead said...

Great ideas ladies!

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