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The documentary, "Food, Inc." Seen it?

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I loved the comment about the images used to sell food: "the spinning of this pastoral fantasy."

Watch the YouTube excerpt (3.5 minutes):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqQVll...

More info here:
http://www.takepart.com/foodinc/

Comments on the documentary, pro or con?

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  1. I like that last line.... more or less... The multinationals don't want the farmers talking etc., very interesting... could the gag order / censoring be at play in something as trivial as a dumb food blog?

    1. Looks very interesting I'll look forward to seeing it. Have you seen "Asparagus" the movie? It's playing on PBS here.
      Hopefully "Food" gets more people thinking about what they consume and where it comes from.

      29 Replies
      1. re: Fritter

        Watched most of "Asparagus" and it just reinforced my belief that everything has an unexpected consequence. Pay Peruvians to grow asparagus instead of coca, ruin the US farmers' livelihood. My heart broke for those farmers--we as a country have been so intent on cheap that we've forgotten about anything else.

        It aggravates me no end when asparagus (or apples, corn, cherries, whatever) is in season here that the larger grocery stores still sell cheap non local stuff, undercutting local farmers. But at least we are seeing more stores making "local" a virtue.

        I hope these movies help continue the national conversation about food too, Fritter.

        1. re: coney with everything

          "But at least we are seeing more stores making "local" a virtue"

          Yes! It's so nice to actually see local food in the stores once again. Whole Foods had Mi Asparagus this week.

          1. re: Fritter

            Just saw the movie...but Whole Foods in our area (DC) advertises local as anywhere in the Northeast or Midatlantic.

            To me, this isn't local. There are TONS of farms WF could buy from, but because those farms can't produce enough to stock a store or two, WF won't do it. When I lived in Massachusetts, WF stocked local produce. It's really sad that people think shopping there means buying local - all the local produce is labeled, and to me - in DC - Maine isn't local.

            (But it is better than Chile!)

            1. re: Jeserf

              When I worked for WFM, there was much more regional buying going on, even at the store level. The produce buyer was free to set up relationships with local farmers, since accounting was done in store. Now that WFM has grown, they are doing accounting regionally. This makes it MUCH more difficult for buyers to accomplish a successful account with a local farmer, but it's really up to the individual buyer at your local store how many hoops he/she (and the farmer) is willing to jump through to get that product in the store. My advice would be to talk with the produce buyer in your store, bring him or her outstanding product from a local farmer in your area, his name and number, and push to get that product in your store. It will help if you have some idea whether the farmer can provide the store with a significant shipment or at least rotating crops so it is worth both the buyer's and the farmer's time to establish that account. In other words, they won't probably bother if this is a short term deal. I hope this helps...

              1. re: amyzan

                and just a note: how far is it from Fresno to San Francisco or LA? 200 miles? a lot of the california "local" food movement benefits from coming from a very long state.

                1. re: FED

                  Bingo!
                  I have a big US map over my desk. California is "10 inches long."
                  If I use that same "10 inches" from my home in Washington DC, it encompasses the entire East Coast from Maine to Orlando, Florida, and as far West as Michigan and Illinois, plus parts of Wisconsin, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Everything to the East of the Mississippi is included.
                  Whole Foods uses this definition: " While only products that have traveled less than a day (7 or fewer hours by car or truck) can even be considered for "local" designation, most stores have established even shorter maximum distances."
                  You can get pretty far from a farm to a warehouse in 7 hours. How many hours do they allow from the warehouse?

                  I really hate when concepts become trendy or cool, and then the words start to lose their meaning.
                  I know what I mean by "local," and Maine, Alabama, or Michigan ain't it.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Seems like a bit of nit picking to me. While WF is far from perfect it's a lot better than the other stores in my area where 99.9% of the produce is from another country and I don't mean Canada. Not only can I get Michigan asparagus here (MI) they advertise the farm name.
                    At least it's a step in the right direction.

                    1. re: Fritter

                      It is hard to believe that at the height of the growing season in the US that the stores in Michigan would be selling cantaloupe, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and other produce from outside the country. There is a lot of farmland in the Mid-West from which they should be able to get local produce. Something doesn't add up.

                      I buy a lot from farmers' markets but lately the local groceries in Washington have been giving them serious competition with large amounts of their produce from local farmers in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware (the Delmarva,) as well as North Carolina, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A lot of it is organic and most of it has been terrific. Some is better than the farmers' markets.

                      Of course regular stores are doing this. It's trendy and consumers want it. It sells.
                      The problem becomes the definition of "local" which has become yet another Red Queen word, meaning whatever somebody wants it to mean.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Someone who works in supermarket produce once explained to me that one reason we are liable to see produce shipped in from far away in supermarkets even at the height of local growing season (something I saw to some extent when I lived in the Northeast) is that large produce distributors who supply grocery chains stipulate in their contracts that for the best terms, the stores must buy from them year-round. The stores need their product in the cold months, less so in the growing season when they can buy from local farms, so this is their way of guaranteeing they get year-round business. So, the stores will get peaches, asparagus - whatever - and the distibutor may be sourcing them from far away because it got the best deal. Some groceries will also have local product, some won't bother buying from nearby.

                        In NY, independent groceries and farmers' markets were the only places I could get local strawberries in the summer; the grocery chains invariably sold tasteless California berries even in July, though they sold plenty of New Jersey blueberries and corn and tomatoes.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          Someone who worked in the supermarket may have "once explained" that to you and it may still be true for some distributors, but things have changed dramatically in the past couple of years since you lived in the NE.
                          When consumers jumped on the "local" foods bandwagon, the chains were forced to respond or lose sales. The lost revenue was worse than having to pay higher wholesale prices to distributors. The distributors reacted by adding local suppliers to their offerings.
                          Most groceries here in the NE are making a major deal out of local produce offerings. It sells.

                          I just bought California strawberries at the supermarket in Washington DC. They taste great, regardless of where they came from. There are NO local ones now because the season is over in this area. They are a Spring crop here.
                          Sometimes stores will source from "far away" because consumers expect certain things that are not in season or they don't grow locally.
                          I also had to buy South African oranges. It was either those or the old US navels from last Fall that have been in storage. At least the S. African ones are fresh and the ones I bought last week were delicious.
                          The blues were from NJ, the cantaloupe, corn, and peaches from NC, but those things are in season in this area. The papaya from Belize, the pineapple from somewhere in Central America. Who knows or cares where the grapes are from? Cherries don't grow here.
                          Local? Some was. Some wasn't. I bought the best quality I could find by shopping three different markets.

                          Local should not become a fetish. If the store can get high quality to me at a good price in the shortest possible time, we are able to have very good fresh food and eat well.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            I didn't say "someone who worked in the supermarket," but "someone who works in supermarket produce" - in this case, a man whose career is in supermarket produce procurement. His remarks were not specific to the Northeast, and I related them as a possible explanation for what Fritter posted as his experience.

                            As for my remarks about strawberries, I was simply saying that most markets did not carry local berries when they were available (July in the NYC area), but sold inferior berries from "far away" instead. If your markets have great-tasting berries from California, good for them (and a boon for you). People everywhere want fruits and vegetables that may not be in season where they are or do not grow locally, and so markets all from coast to coast carry produce from other states and countries.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              As you say, "some [groceries] may not bother buying from nearby," but they will lose business if that is what customers demand. They will find distributors who will give them what they need to succeed and that's not hard.
                              The major national and regional grocery chains are "market makers," because they can buy in such huge quantities. They have their own buyers and distribution chains, so they don't need distributors. The smaller guys who use distributors have to compete with the big guys, so they are forced to seek out distributors or groups of them who can provide competitive products. The distributors have to adjust to the demands of that group of stores or they lose business.
                              "Local" produce is the hot item now and is being touted in mass media - even the women's magazines at supermarket checkouts and downscale publications - so shoppers are looking for it. Supermarkets who want to stay in the game have to provide at least some of it in season, even if it is mixed in with some product from across the continent.
                              There are a lot of people now looking for local produce who never before noticed that it has always been in stores. This isn't really new, just the "new thing," and it's being heavily advertised and promoted because people want it.
                              This is the normal pattern for all retail - not just food - and the merchants adjust or they fail.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                As someone remarked earlier in the WF part of the thread ... the size of supermarket chains plays a large role in determining how local they can get. For most of the country, there just isn't a distribution system set up that can get fruits and vegetables efficiently from small farms to the large markets (remember, even a small chain of, say, 50 stores will require the pooled produce of many, many farms to keep it supplied).
                                You can say what you want about California produce, but there is an extremely efficient system of packing houses, wholesalers and distributors that can get those strawberries from the many fields to the many markets.
                                It takes a lot of effort on the part of a local chain to set up an alternative to that. And say what you will about WF, they have gone further in that direction than just about anyone (Wegman's being one outstanding exception).

                                1. re: FED

                                  California has done a lot with growers' coops too. That is what makes local to supermarket feasible. Small farmers can't deal with the big guys and vice versa. Just not the way the real world works. But growers coops can and do in many cases.
                                  There is a real need for more coops, consolidators, brokers, etc. to get the produce from multiple small farmers into the supply chain.

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    Just wanted to mention how farmers markets are changing the California produce scene. I can't think of many neighborhoods that don't have their own farmers markets now - some have multiple markets through the course of the week - some will have more than one on the same day.

                                    Many of these small farmers find it worth it to trek from places as far as Modesto to hit LA farmers markets on a regular basis. This may stretch the sense of "local," but in the end, it's an issue of money. If these farmers feel they can make more by vertically integrating their product stream, then more power to them.

                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      I think we all appreciate that CA has a vibrant farmers' market scene, but please understand that this does not extrapolate to the rest of the US where farmers' markets are highly seasonal. We wish they weren't but the US climate make this so.
                                      Additionally, even in California, the vast majority of people still purchase most of their food at supermarkets. They're working or attending to other things when the farmers' markets are open, or they want the convenience of one-stop shopping. Some people don't even like farmers' markets.
                                      Until we can solve the problem of getting the local foods into the markets where most people shop, they won't be available to the majority of people. That would open new markets to farmers, spare them the time and expense of driving long distances to towns where farmers' markets are popular, and allow more small farmers to become profitable even when they don't farm near cities.
                                      Cost effective vertical integration should include middle-men who consolidate crops. It would make farming more profitable and local produce more available to a wider range of shoppers.
                                      Of course, nothing would stop farmers from driving to markets themselves, but working together might enhance their productivity and profitability.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        I get the impression that one of the major issues "driving" small farmers to various farmers markets are the consolidators. I've seen many articles mentioning this and how small farmers are doing better by cutting out any middle-men. I don't personally know any farmers so I can't vouch for this.

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          There are always bad brokers and consolidators who pay farmers poorly, or don't give them a fair price for their crops. Sometimes the farmers have to accept it if they don't have any other way of getting the perishable goods to market. Nobody should support that situation.
                                          Farmers can however band together and form coops, or demand fair prices from brokers. Farmers can even grow specific crops "to order" under contract with good brokers.
                                          If farmers work together, they can maximize their power and their profits.

                                          One of the problems is that farmers are an independent lot and often resist efforts to organize. They prefer to work alone, even though they make far less money driving long distances to sell their own crops.
                                          I know both farmers and fisherman for whom this is true. They don't apply sound business practices when they make decisions in many cases. They think that they are coming out ahead because they aren't actually factoring in all the costs, and they might often be better off with brokers.

          2. re: coney with everything

            Not having watched the movie... I have been to Peru and had Asparagus there... and thought it was generally superior to what is available in California. Given the inverse growing season and the quality of the product, and the free trade agreement in place.... I wonder if Peruvian Asparagus was bound to be marketed here anyway?

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Sure, since we seem to think that out of season produce is a good thing. But the movie makes the point that we took down the tariffs against Peruvian asparagus, plus some non-farm commodities, in exchange for them cracking down on the drug trade.

              We basically destroyed commercial asparagus farming in Washington state and it's on its deathbed in Michigan. And really it's not "fresh" asparagus that's the issue, it's the commercial processing--frozen, canned, baby food--that has been the industry killer.

              A fantastic example of the law of unintended consequences. Not saying we shouldn't do something about drugs, but no one considered the domestic fallout from this, or if they did they blew it off since asparagus farmers don't have a lot of lobbyists.

              1. re: coney with everything

                Again I haven't seen the movie... but I should note that the idea that we took down tariffs against Asparagus to crack down on Coca is seriously misleading. The Andean Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1991... and was a legacy of the country's cold war policy. The main driver was to strengthen what in Historic circles is known as Neo-Liberal politicians (although in the U.S. context it is more analogous to Free Trade promoting Republicans) against Sendero Luminoso.

                In 2006 it was simply ratified... but there was resistance from both sides of the Aisle... so they added the "Drug Eradication" part of the act to get certain people to vote for it.

                Now... what was happening is that the U.S. was not living up to its obligations under the 1991 FTA using a bunch of b.s. regulatory measures to buy U.S. Asparagus farmers time to adapt... I don't know what year the U.S. finally dropped its de facto quota restrictions on Peruvian asparagus... but certainly when it happened it would have impacted U.S. farmers.

                HOWEVER... and this frustrates me because I don't understand if its just that we are all gullible, ignorant & clueless or if there is a substantial campaign of misinformation... U.S. Farmers are NOT being decimated by Peruvian asparagus at all.

                If you do some research you will find that the Peruvian farmers are having a very hard time staying in business. In 1990, their fresh asparagus would fetch $50 for a 5 kilo box today its $9. Part of the reason is that the U.S. is now flooded with Asparagus grown in Northern Mexico whose peak season coincides with Peru's peak season.

                I should note at this time... that all of Peru's asparagus.. and I mean ALL grows in the Arid coasts and NOT in the Andes where Coca is grown. These Asparagus farmers are almost exclusively wealthy, gentlemen farmers descended from the original colonialists... its the same people growing grapes for wine & pisco etc., only a miniscule portion of Peru's export quality Asparagus is grown by small farmers and again there is no option of growing coca in the arid coastal lands.

                Further... lets get down to the nitty gritty... the farmers in Michigan are not being decimated because the U.S. is importing Peruvian Asparagus. The stuff grown in Michigan is overwhelmingly processed for domestic & export markets. What has happened is that they used to have a big share of the European markets... but they have lost that, yes Peru at some level... but really its Chinese asparagus. Even though Peruvian processed Asparagus enters the EU without tariffs, and Chinese asparagus gets a 16% tariff... the Chinese product is still cheaper. Michigan farmers are being decimated by Chinese farmers not Peruvian or Mexican etc.,

                In general.. the production of Asparagus is sharply higher as new competitors including Greece & Spain have flooded export markets that used to be dominated by U.S. farmers.

                Now I am not at all urging anyone to buy Peruvian asparagus... and I fully support buying local, slow foods etc., but I just think people should get the facts straight so that we aren't unintendedly mislead by activist filmmakers who don't feel the need to hold themselves to the intellectual rigours of an academic.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Interesting answer, EatNopal. And actually it's California and Washington, if I understand correctly, that so far have been harmed the most by the imports.

                  Don't know about misinformation, but another source from a couple of years ago that fingers Peruvian asparagus as a cause of trouble:
                  http://capitalpress.com/Main.asp?Sect...

                  Frankly, I like asparagus but you can't eat it every day even in season. It's not a "staple" vegetable like potatoes or carrots. Something's gotta give here with all these producers. I fear that cheap will win over good...again.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    "all of Peru's asparagus.. and I mean ALL grows in the Arid coasts and NOT in the Andes where Coca is grown"

                    If you had seen the movie you would know that was the point the asparagus growers are making. It's probably far more likely one could be mislead by a google academic on the internet that an activist film maker for a show airing on PBS.
                    As an American my first choice is supporting American farmers and buying local products when ever possible.
                    There is currently a relief bill waiting for a signature from the POTUS.

                    http://www.asparagus.com/maab/news.html

                    1. re: Fritter

                      The U.S. is the top producer of Asparagus in the world... Peru is the 2nd... it has been this way since prior to the Andea Trade Agreement.... subsidies to Coca farmers are NOT in any way impacting the price of Asparagus. Coffee yes, Cacao yes... Asparagus.. no.

                      1. re: Fritter

                        Further here is what is utterly ignorant & short sighted about any effort to curb Peruvian asparagus imports.... take the Peruvians out, the price for Asparagus will grow dramatically as will the Asparagus production in Baja & Sonora.

                        I heard one of the big Mexican growers of Asparagus on a public radio broadcast from Mexico City... on a conference regarding how to turn Baja into a big time global Ag player... the big limitation is water... its the crux of everything as is the case in Alta California. They are watching the impacts of climate change on California very carefully... if water becomes scarce enough in the Central Valley as evidence suggests... then California Ag prices are expected to rise dramatically within a decade... if prices go up enough Baja will be able to afford doing a major water project.

                        Talk about unintended consequences... if you get your wish & South American produce is restricted from the California market + the cost of doing business (vis a vis scarcity of water) you are going to empower a new giant just a few miles away. In the end it might not matter... the salinity in the Sacramento (below Sac County) may be so bad that American consumers will be begging Baja to ramp up their ag production and be happy about it.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          Well, water is one thing we are NOT short of in Michigan.

                          1. re: coney with everything

                            cwe, I just saw a film called "Flow" about water - and a Michigan community is featured. A big bottler is taping into some of that abundance, and the locals do not like it.
                            (It's available on Netflix.)

                            1. re: pitu

                              Yeah, Ice Mountain/Nestle was sued, and they were just ordered to reduce the amount of water they took from the groundwater. They also have to reduce what they take even further in spring and summer.

                              But we still have the Greats. Ain't never gonna suck those dry, at least in my lifetime :)

                2. re: coney with everything

                  so is paying Peruvians to grow asparagus part of our "war on drugs"

              2. Will definitely look for it. Sounds like the food version of "Sicko."

                "It looks like a tomato, but it's kind of a notional tomato." How true! Can't wait for natives!

                Thanks for the heads-up on Asparagus, too, Fritter.

                P.S. How geeky of me to say, but the ECU on the shopping cart wheel reminds me of the "Six Feet Under" opening credits!

                1. Two reviews today of the movie:

                  New York Times:
                  Eat, Drink, Think, Change
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/mov...

                  San Francisco Chronicle:
                  'Food, Inc.': Documentary on your dinner
                  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                  If you see the movie, post your thoughts...

                  M.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Thanks for posting these links. I can't wait to see the film.

                  2. Yes, have seen it. Excellent movie. Will it make a difference? Yes, but only to the already converted. Sadly, we Americans are not going to change when the option of fast food, convenience, and price are at the top of our lists.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: RaquelFoodie

                      That's what i thought about Al Gore's movie, and i am CONVINCED that film had a HUGE impact on the environmental movement. That said, food inc. wasn't made by Al Gore, but if it gets out on youtube in x amount of months, i think it could make a positive impact to people who don't even know what "slow food" is.

                      With this said, if you're a single mom working 2 jobs, you're not gonna have time/money to go to farmer's markets, etc. So, unless sustainable practices are scalable, we'll NEVER get everyone on board, despite what anyone tells us. This is why the guy from the yogurt co. had a brilliant point that when Wal Mart places another $1 million order, that actually does change the game. I hate Wal Mart, but ideology must be put to the side for results, IMO.

                      1. re: upstarter

                        ...this is why the idea of food aid - "food stamps" - needs to change. Food stamps should be more valuable for low fat dairy, fruit, veggies, and even more if used at a farmers market.

                        Lower income people should be discouraged from an economic standpoint from buying processed food, and if food aid is worth more at a farmers market, everybody wins.

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          I think that just puts lower income people into a worse situation than they're already in. Many people rely on public transport, which is often inconvenient and expensive. From where I live now, you can either pay $7 round trip to spend almost 4 hours on a bus round trip to get to the farmer's market or walk 30 minutes round trip to get to the nearest supermarket. The savings you'd get on the food stamps wouldn't nearly make up for the time and money lost by spending half a day buying food.

                          1. re: queencru

                            You may be assuming that they shop like you do. Many food stamp shoppers do a major food run at the beginning of the month and load up on staples. Overflowing basket or maybe two of them. A friend's car or a taxi to get them home with their purchases. Then they fill in with milk, bread, or whatever during the rest of the month from corner stores that take WIC or food stamps.
                            They may be poor but they ain't dumb. Pretty resilient and resourceful folks.

                    2. Another trailer:

                      http://www.foodincmovie.com/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gio

                        Great clip, Gio! Can't wait to see this flick. Looks like it's not coming to CT anytime soon, though.

                      2. Americans need to be less wasteful with food, reduce their consumption of food, and realize that QUALITY should trump quantity at all times. If LESS food was made available to us, the so-called multinationals wouldn't be forced to produce as much, and as a result could better direct their efforts towards producing foods more beneficial to consumers. At present, most Americans are eating what could be called faux foods, but be reminded that the diseases we are experiencing at earlier and earlier stages in our lives are very, very real. Nutrient deprived foods undoubtedly contribute to this problem and a solution is greatly needed -- on a multinational level, from a multinational. If "Food, Inc." is another exposé condemning the overproduction of faux food, then Godspeed. Overproduction, combined with the needless waste of food, along with the existence of remiss multinationals, ALL should help fuel enough change in everybody who eats or even touches food. JMHO.

                        1. If I watch this will I want to curl up in a ball of gastric distress?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: aforkcalledspoon

                            I don't know if you'll "curl up in a ball of gastric distress", but I will say that you'll be in serious flavor deprivation. Out of necessity on Saturday morning I had to buy a bunch of asparagus at a local supermarket. I roasted them after seasoning with a Very good EVOO + Kosher salt and freshly ground Tellecherry pepper and they tasted like nothing at all. Blah. Certainly not the earthy, fragrant vegetable that freshly picked asparagus should taste like.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Fair enough! I do believe, make that, KNOW that certain organic fruits and vegetables taste infinitely superior. But the coward in me doesn't want to watch miscellaneous animal bits being recycled or animals treated savagely. Shame on me! :)

                            2. re: aforkcalledspoon

                              I get grossed out easily and I didn't have a problem watching the movie. Certainly no gastric distress. There were some images of meat processing that were upsetting, but that's not the main point of the movie - I came away more upset about the interviews with people who've been hurt by the major food companies, and the facts and statistics presented in the voiceovers.

                            3. OMG......It will change me forever............or at least I hope it does.

                              I now regret every Costco food purchase I have ever made!

                              Can the statistic 1 in 3 people (1 in 2 for minorities) born after 2000 will get Type 2 Diabetes be correct? Amazing!! Just colossal to think about the ramifications.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MSK

                                Wow, just wow. It doesn't come my way until July 30...I cannot wait.

                                1. re: enbell

                                  I just saw the movie today. I very much enjoyed it. What struck me the most was the people in Washington D.C. who were once employed by the major food companies the movie attempts to expose (I had no idea justice Thomas was one of those people). There were parts I enjoyed and learned from more than others. I believe the most important aspect of the movie was getting the information out there.

                              2. The trailer really bugs me. Let me preface this by saying I am a big supporter of the local / organic movement. I belong to a CSA. I don't eat processed or fast food.

                                But faceless guys in suits walking through a field towards a fiery furnace? An evil fat redneck? Come on -- we can do better than that. There's a real problem with the food production and supply chain in the US, and we can tell a far more persuasive story to the American public when we don't rely on stock cliches that are likely to alienate the people we're trying hardest to win over.

                                21 Replies
                                1. re: oolah

                                  IMHO, RaquelFoodie and oolah nail the problem with Food Inc as well as any other posts on this string. We saw it two days ago. I so wanted to love it. So much education, persuasion and policy change needs to happen to reverse current trends in human health, animal health, and the environment. We have an administration now in the White House that seems more disposed to act than any other has ever been. And, along comes Food Inc.

                                  Whatever happened to the art of documentary making that, when trying to persuade, you craft an at least partly balanced view? I have no personal problem with any of the arrows thrown; I'm among "the converted" Raquel talks about. But Food Inc will struggle to get mass national distribution and attract the audiences that would ensure the kind of impact on US consumer behavior the principals were clearly after. It's unnecessarily sensationalist (the imagery) and incomplete. Why so little attempt (aside from Stonyfield Farms) to address Big Food's fair challenges about the economic and scale issues surrounding local and mass provision? There's an especially poignant scene with an overweight family buying "dollar meals" at fast food outlets instead of paying more for a few potatoes or vegetables at the local safeway. The wife asks, "we can buy the drugs for my husband's diabetes or we can eat right...which should I do?". Not even a small attempt to address that question and it's so central to everything that needs to happen with the population at large.

                                  I guess we should lower our expectations and be glad the filmmakers even saw fit to surface that question. Sigh...

                                  1. re: nwdchound

                                    It unfortunately follows the same model as Michael Moore's films, entertaining, revealing, yet lacking any profound solutions. As you had pointed out, the family's dilemma was tossed aside after the filmmaker's views were projected via them.

                                    If you've read Fast Food Nation or Omnivore's Dilemma, then the movie is a Cliff's notes summary of those. Unfortunately, the target audience it needs to reach will not watch this. The movie is preaching to the converted, most people watching it have already read those books.

                                    The most interesting story was by far Moe Parr's struggles in battling Monsanto over his seed cleaning livelihood. The look of defeat in his face as he listed off names in the disposition said it all.

                                    One thing that I found ridiculous was the notion of food stamp usage at farmer's markets. If a family can't even afford a pear at a chain supermarket, what makes the producers think they can afford farmer's markets.

                                    1. re: aser

                                      In my grad student days in the U.S., I knew students on very limited incomes, who used food stamps at farmers' markets. There were always good buys at peak season, or at the end of the day when the stall operators preferred to bargain rather than take home unsold produce.

                                      To suggest that food stamp families can't afford or attend farmers' markets is somewhat elitist.

                                      1. re: jayt90

                                        Good points on both sides regarding farmer market affordability and have to recognize also the positive progress that has been made in the past few years simply to increase access to farmers markets across the US. Costs and thus prices are still pretty high though food stamps are taken by many. As someone like Pollan would put it, the problem isn't that organic/local is too expensive; it's that industrial/commercial/grocery food isn't "honestly" priced due to subsidies. That seems a fair argument to me but it's not one easily solved since the fixes go way beyond ag.

                                        Back to Food Inc. Seems like there are a bunch of you who agree that the film fell disappointing short as a change vehicle. Are there other films out there, maybe lesser known or marketed that do a better job? Maybe one that was made in the past two years only so relatively current? There are documentary and discussion videos (the Michael Pollan/John Mackey discussions at Berkeley are very instructive) out there but stuff like that will get much less play than Food Inc. Need something that can engage many while inflaming few. Totally can be done. Any reccs or filmmakers out there working on something like this? .

                                        1. re: nwdchound

                                          Nothing that is subsidized is "honestly" priced.
                                          But the same people who decry subsidies to certain types of agriculture are also asking for subsidies for other types such as their preferred small farmers, farmers' markets, or new food programs.
                                          We began subsidizing large scale farming of corn for the production of ethanol at the insistence of the environmental lobby even though agricultural and energy economists warned of the outcome. Want to talk about unintended consequences? Why is energy/ethanol in the Farm Bill? That makes NO sense.

                                        2. re: jayt90

                                          I don't think I'm being elitist, I think I'm rather realistic. Have you seen the prices at farmer's markets recently? Have you seen the racial demographic of crowds that frequent farmer's markets?

                                          I go pretty often, and I certainly don't see families such as the one featured in Food Inc there. It could have something to do w/ $5/lb asparagus vs the $1.49 at chain supermarkets. And this is for in season asparagus, right now.

                                          Jayt90, in case you haven't watched the movie. The featured family couldn't afford broccoli, at $1.29/lb. They said it was far too expensive.

                                          1. re: aser

                                            Such an interesting conversation. a couple of points:
                                            1) there seems to me to be a difference between being "able" to afford things and being "willing" to afford them. To be willing, you have to see the benefit and you have to agree with the mindset that belives them to be important.
                                            2) absent that willingness, how far do we want to go to convince people ? And how far are we willing to be pushed to be convinced by other people (I, for example, am completely unwilling to give up red meat and alcohol)?
                                            3) At a certain point, doesn't this become a bit paternalistic? We know it would be better for them to do this, and if they don't agree it must be because they are misinformed and/or incapable of making choices for themselves.
                                            4) While it's true that there is some very expensive produce at farmers markets (I just dumped $10 for 2 pounds of Art Lange's Snow Queen nectarines and for me it was worth every penny), it's important to remember that farmers markets are not supermarkets with one price for everything. Even at the Santa Monica Wednesday market, there are great buys that beat the heck out of Ralph's. You might not be able to score with exactly what you wanted, but there will be something there that'll work.
                                            5) Farmers markets vary tremendously in their audience. Go to the Alhambra Sunday market, or the Gardena market or the Artesia market or the Compton market and you'll see a much wider demographic than you will at Santa Monica. Granted, it is still skewed toward white/middle class ... but who else has the morning off to shop for groceries?

                                            None of this should be read as defending the status quo, particularly as it applies to the farm bill, which makes the bailout look sensible.

                                            1. re: aser

                                              I agree with your realistic view. I think it always helps to qualify responses like this with a, "well, it depends..." I usually visit three farmers markets pretty regularly. One is in a well-established yuppie-hood, one in neighborhood that has been going through gentrification for over 10 years, and one in an neighborhood that has a wide range of socio-economic classes.

                                              The vast majority of vendors know what kind of crowd each particular FM draws - they tend to price accordingly, and the selection tends to vary in accordance with the respective neighborhood as well. But regardless of the neighborhood, produce at FMs tend to be higher - in many cases markedly - than their supermarket counterparts. For instance, we picked up 15 organic Fuji apples on Sunday at the FM that has a pretty good cross-section of folks living in the neighborhood. The price? $12 for a bag of apples. What family living on the economic edge would even consider spending close to a buck an apple? $12 could buy a family value meal at some chains - lots of carbs and fats, but still a meal for all. And that is why the oddity of obese children particularly in many low-income neighborhoods is becoming a serious issue. They eat like crap, they don't get much exercise because of safety-related issues in their hood, as well as sitting for hours after school at Child Watch, waiting for their parents who tend to work long hours.

                                              1. re: aser

                                                I should add that when I see families using food stamps at the farmers market, they are usually Latino families.

                                                The family in the film also likely suffers from a lack of education. 1.29 of broccoli is more filling for a longer period of time than a $1 burger, and would make the fathers/husband's health better considering they spend hundreds of dollars on controlling his health issues.

                                            2. re: aser

                                              Lacking solutions? The farmers and WalMart all said "if people demand better prodcuts, we will provide it, guarantee it".

                                              And people with food stamps DO go to farmers market - every Saturday I see 'em. They bring their kids. If the aid is $5 of junk food or $10 of farmers market food per voucher (example), which would you buy? The producers weren't saying "poor people, shop at farmers markets!" they were saying encourage your local market to take food stamps.

                                              1. re: Jeserf

                                                Point is, they can buy very little food at the current pricing structure of farmers markets. Your proposal isn't realistic, who is going to foot the bill for that? Where is the government supposed to find magical funding to double the food stamp budget? Or do you suggest farmers help swallow the extra allowance? Neither looks very likely.

                                                Good that you see people using food stamps at farmer's markets, but do know that you are definitely in the extreme minority. You're the first person in the thread to have seen it.

                                                I think most people will agree that something meaty/starchy, will be more filling than a head of broccoli.

                                                If you think the film isn't lacking solutions, then you're deluding yourself. It doesn't mean the film is a total failure, but that is a definite fault of the film.

                                                1. re: aser

                                                  Who foots the bill when we allow people to use food stamps to buy complete junk?

                                                  Answer: we do, more than once. If lower income people are more likely to have weight related health issues, and part of that is food aid related, why would we continue to encourage them to buy crap?

                                                  The government gets lobbied by huge corporatios to keep the system the way it is - keep poor people dependent on crap food instead of teach them better and TRULY help them improve their health.

                                                  What is the point of having any food aid program that assists in making people sicker?

                                                  I never said the film was perfect, but did you miss the last 2 minutes or so? If people are OK with the status quo, then you get what you deserve. Like they said, you vote 3 or more times a day, and every time you go to the market - no matter your income. You can choose to think that's BS, but when the largest corporation in the world changes its practices based on what its customers were asking for, then that says something.

                                                  PS: I go to 2 farmers markets a week - the more "elitist" one does not take food stamps.

                                                  1. re: Jeserf

                                                    The burden on health care is a hidden cost people in this thread are grossly aware of. You are right, but your proposals need to be more feasible. How are we magically going to get funding for the doubling of food stamp value for farmers markets?

                                                    Everybody in this thread agrees with you, you're preaching to the converted.

                                                    The point is not whether change needs to happen, but rather realistic solutions be proposed. I and a few other people feel the film failed to address that aspect. 2-3 mins spent during the ending credits pales in comparison to the amount of time spent in the film pointing holes in the system. Do you see the imbalance there? That is exactly my point, it seemed to be tacked at the end as a mere afterthought.

                                                    1. re: aser

                                                      If you assume a film's job is to say "This is what needs to be done!" it stops being a documentary seeking to educate people about what happens and starts to become a propaghanda piece.

                                                      But, I get it - you didn't really see the point of it.

                                                      Go ahead, vote with your wallet or be OK with the status quo. If we as a nation can be OK with giving defense contractors billions of dollars to execute soldiers with shoddy electrical work in barracks they build but not ok with spending billions on providing a food stamp recipient $6 a day vs. $3 a day if they choose healthier food, it reflects on our priorities.

                                                      If you're ok with agribusiness controlling what goes into our bodies, then we get what we deserve.

                                                      1. re: Jeserf

                                                        The USDA has a new program that they're phasing into farmers' markets that will allow double credit if people buy fruits and vegetables with SNAP and WIC. Nice but it's the kind of stupid crap that detached regulators think is going to make a difference. Most food assistance purchasers shop at grocery store.
                                                        They need to start making major changes, instead of nibbling around the edges, but those are almost politically impossible.

                                                        When the food stamp program was started, the argument was that recipients should be allowed to choose anything they wanted. Proponents of this said that the prior commodities program made them feel like charity cases, and that it would give them more "dignity" to be able to make their own choices in grocery stores. The food processors were more than happy to go along and lobbied for it..
                                                        Of course, that opened the flood gates for the purchase of processed foods, cookies and soft drinks.
                                                        The rest is history, including the downward spiral of the health of the nation's poor.

                                                        Succeeding generations of food stamp recipients, raised on processed foods, lost the ability to cook from scratch or make healthy, economical choices. When they run out of money, they complain that the allotments are too low. Again, regulators and legislators from middle/upper income brackets (especially those looking for votes) agreed that "no one could possibly live" on that little money (like $3 day/pp,) so they continued to raise the allowances.
                                                        The food stamp recipients bought more junk.
                                                        Asking for an education component for food assistance recipients got politicians branded as hard-hearted.

                                                        Most people know what they are supposed to eat.
                                                        Getting them to actually choose it, especially when the alternative is free/delicious/microwavable, is another matter. They like pizza, the kids don't argue, there are no pots to clean, and they'll worry about the last week of the month when it gets here.
                                                        Politically incorrect, but the truth.

                                                        What will happen to the first Member of Congress who tries to restrict what food assistance recipients can purchase? Yeah, right....

                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                          "Succeeding generations of food stamp recipients, raised on processed foods, lost the ability to cook from scratch or make healthy, economical choices."

                                                          "Most people know what they are supposed to eat."

                                                          Which is it?

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            There is a big difference between knowing what you are supposed to do and actually doing it.
                                                            If asked, virtually everyone will say "fruits and vegetables," but that's not always what they eat.
                                                            They might even like certain fruits and vegetables, cooked certain ways, but it's not what they are willing to purchase, nor prepare.
                                                            Shopping wisely and preparing healthy food at home must be learned somewhere, and it must become a way of life.
                                                            Even educated middle class Americans admit to having a hard time following a healthy well-balanced diet that includes enough fruits and vegetables.

                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                              So perhaps by "lost the ability" you were saying "lost the fortitude to" make healthy, economical choices.

                                                              Working-class and poor people, middle- and upper-middle class people of my generation and younger: it's the same song for many in all these categories: ate lots of junk growing up, never learned to cook from scratch, eat crappy, processed foods and too much of them, choose the quick and prepared because they don't have or don't want to take the time, or don't know how, etc., and we're an overweight nation.

                                                              This, as you acknowledge, is hardly limited to recipients of food assistance; nor is it universal among them, of course. Whether it's appropriate to apply stck rather than carrot (even if carrot's ineffectual) to one segment of the population re something as personal as food choices because you (i.e., congress) holds the purse strings is a pretty sticky question.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                There is a direct correlation between education levels and dietary choices, although there are ethnic and cultural factors that can affect this.

                                                                Among the poor and working classes who are more likely to receive government food assistance there are statistically higher rates of all types of nutrition-related diseases.
                                                                These include premature births, low birth-weight babies, high infant mortality, failure to thrive infants and children, childhood obesity and diabetes. Among adults, there are higher rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. There are many cancers that have higher rates among this group that may be diet related, such as colon cancer. Their life expectancy is lower.
                                                                They use emergency rooms and hospital services more frequently and these are paid for by government insurance programs.
                                                                No, it is not "limited" to them, nor is it "universal" among them. Diet related illness is however statistically higher in this population - from pre-natal care to the grave - and the cost is greater than the food programs themselves.

                                                                If the purpose of "assistance" is to "assist," that means that the government has made a choice to intervene. If it makes no effort to "assist" people beyond allowing them to buy whatever in the hell is making them sick, then it has abdicated the responsibility that it has assumed.

                                                                Choices funded by government are no longer personal when the consequences of poor choices further burden society. The government can justify education requirements and limitations on food assistance in the public interest, just as they can forbid smoking in government buildings and other personal behavior choices.

                                              2. re: aser

                                                I use food stamps at the Farmer's market. When it's in season the produce there is generally cheaper then the grocery store. You go to a lady, who takes your card asks you the amount you want, she swipe the card. And you get tokens. It's awesome. I spend about ten dollars on Produce and usually get some primo stuff.

                                                1. re: YAYME

                                                  That's awesome! This gives me hope to know that folks needing assistance aren't limited to the grocery store and processed foods, but have access to fresh, local, organic food. Thanks for posting.

                                          2. I just saw the film yesterday and it will definitely change my eating habits. I had to close my eyes a lot to the brutality to the animals. It was like watching the Omnivore's Dilemma come to life. Very moving.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Sharon S

                                              I saw the movie recently and I sure hope this doesn't get off into animal cruelty and why we should not be omnivores. For some the killing of animals for food will be revolting, regardless of the conditions.
                                              The movie makes some good points, but I saw it as not wholly honest as there was sensationalizing some practices that have gone on for decades while giving short shrift to very serious issues of antibiotics used in the feed of animals, especially pork. Again, as others have commented, it was lacking on solutions. There was no comparison or mention of "better practices" of other countries.
                                              I hope it does some good to educate more people who think meats just fall from the heavens like mana and think it's all good.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                ABSOLUTELY. I am an animal lover, but I like to eat meat too (most especially pork...I could live without every other animal product, no problem). The reality is that the meat on your plate was a living thing. The society we live in presents these products as neatly packaged and very anonymous items. I come from an Eastern European ethnic background (albeit 2nd generation) that made use of every part of the slaughter. As a result, to me practically every part of an animal is as it should be...a consumable. I have to confess that the "ewwwww" attitude of many of my friends sometimes upsets me. Maybe it's just naive of me to think that if you take a living creature's life to provide you with food, you shouldn't throw most of it away.

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  re: Antibiotics & "better practices" of other countries, Katie Couric recently did a report. The videos can be seen at
                                                  http://www.saveantibiotics.org/newsro...

                                                  Some choices to improve the healthfulness of our food are expensive and beyond the reach of many consumers, but some involve very modest increases that will save money on health care.

                                                  http://www.saveantibiotics.org/resour...

                                              2. I saw it and believe it is an important film for people who know nothing about industrial food systems. It only scratches the surface of many relevant topics that you could make a whole documentary on (e.g. King Corn about the corn industry.) And there are plenty of other fantastic docs about food and food trends (The Future of Food, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, Our Daily Bread, Supersize Me...) But this one does a decent job detailing a foundation of the picture and connecting some of the dots. It is managing to get a good deal of publicity which hopefully will get people talking.

                                                For people who are well-versed on food systems in the US, it will probably provide few new facts but it will be entertaining nonetheless. Its not a real con.

                                                The only thing that irked me a little was that I felt it tried a bit too hard to play to emotionals (music, editing, and whatnot) when any sentient human should respond to the cold realities of whats going on without being nudged in the right ethical direction. What I mean is, I don't need sad music to feel disgusted about what goes on in factory farms. But for the uninformed and youngest media-reliant generations, it may be necessary? Again, not a real con. Just an irk.

                                                1. The Chipotle chain has vowed to use only humanely raised pigs:

                                                  http://www.newsweek.com/id/135376

                                                  I saw a piece on the news that they have made a deal with the farmer featured in the film.

                                                  Bravo!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: MSK

                                                    I'm not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, but god bless the "Pope of Pork!" I loved this man in "Food, Inc." and was pleased to learn more about him in this article:
                                                    http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2008-1...

                                                    And while I was searching, I turned up yet another film for our consideration: "Fresh: How We're Supposed to Eat."
                                                    http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2009...

                                                    Here's a link to a list of screenings. I'm sad to say I see nothing in a 50-mile radius of my house, but I'm going to keep looking. I did see something from one of our local wineries that mentioned a screening of a movie that sounded like this--I will call to see if perhaps "Fresh" is on the horizon somewhere in CT.
                                                    http://www.freshthemovie.com/screenin...

                                                    "Food, Inc." was interesting and, in some parts, hard to watch, but I'm glad to have seen it. I think "Fresh" might be more to my liking as it seems more focused on solutions than on the problems, of which most of us (on this site, anyway) are well aware.

                                                  2. Get yourself a coffee and a few snacks. This video is almost 2 hours long. It touches on agent orange and also cotton, but is also about food. After the video, you can lay awake all night and worry about what is going to happen to our food supply.

                                                    http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: billieboy

                                                      Ohmygoodness, buddy--glad to hear from you again!

                                                      I hear you re the movie--skip the coffee or get a decaf, I suppose. ;) I didn't realize the entire video is in the link! Will save it for another time. Lots of food for thought out there.

                                                      Roundup-ready soybeans strike again, eh (as in "Food, Inc.")? Hope all is well--and that we'll see you 'round the boards more frequently!

                                                    2. I saw Food Inc. a few weeks ago at the Embarcadero, just a couple blocks away from the Ferry Building and its very pricey farmer's market and local food vendors. Made me feel a little frustrated going over there after watching the film - I cannot afford much of what is sold there.

                                                      I did think this was a pretty good movie. It is great to see a slickly produced, widely promoted film on the subject of foodways in the United States, and I hope it reaches people other than the Pollan-ites who have long anticipated its release.

                                                      I thought the bit on the meatpacking industry and its illegal workforce was fascinating, and would like to know more about it.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: operagirl

                                                        I believe a Smithfield crack down was on the national nightly news a few months ago (could be more than a few, not so sure). The company got no punishment for hiring illegal immigrants.

                                                        Wonder why.

                                                        1. re: operagirl

                                                          The book Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser, has a fair amount about the meatpacking industry and the whys and wherefores of its workforce.

                                                        2. I wish everyone in America would see this movie and they would play it in schools. The saddest part is how the workers are treated. Any normal human would think about what company they are purchasing from just from that aspect. It was all in the media when Nike used sweatshops yet our meat comes from the same type of situation and most people don't even know it!

                                                          1. No but I did enjoy this interview with the guy who made it, on the difficulties of getting it made. Big agra doesn't sound nice at all.
                                                            http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts...

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                              Good read, thanks for posting. I saw the documentary this past weekend. I found it very informative, but I was also disappointed that they didn't offer more information on what we can do to affect change. I would liked to have seen more interviews with organic farmers like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms.

                                                              Here is a link to Joel's website, btw: www.polyfacefarms.com

                                                              1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                                Thank you for sharing this interview. How frustrating and courageous to create this film knowing the toll and costs both professionally and personally. The battle of where our food comes from is about as big as it gets. Protected by those who profit by the food chain staying just the way it is.

                                                                The courtroom scene in Food, Inc. between the farmer and the "owner" of seeds nearly took my breath away. I can't imagine the heavy heart and stress that farmer endured from being honest and being forced to name names. Ugh.

                                                                Knowing how difficult this issue is for the very people who grow crops, I can't imagine a day when "all people" will be able to afford to eat and live a better way. Should things be diff, better-of course. And knowing it can be done but probably won't be done is sickening.

                                                              2. I saw the movie this week, and even though I was aware of much that was in it, I still found it disturbing. We went out to dinner afterwards, and neither of us could eat very much.

                                                                My main observations: I feel fortunate to be able to afford to shop at farmers markets and places where sustainable food is available. I also am feeling a responsibility to be more vocal in my opposition to "big agriculture," which the movie showed us is ruining our food supply. We need to be advocates for those who have no choices but food from "big agriculture" at this time.

                                                                that's my 5 cents...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                  Watched this last night and I agree, even though I knew much of what was going on...it was still very upsetting. This is an important movie.

                                                                2. I just watched this again and have to say I really admire the food advocate mom. What breaks my heart though is she keeps saying she "lost" her son, as if it was an accident or her fault somehow. Basically, he was murdered.

                                                                  1. So glad to find this discussion thread! I'll be going through the video and article references. Now that this was on Oprah, this film has gone mainstream. In the thread, there's a lot of talk about solutions.

                                                                    I think part of the answer is that people need to start gardening again.We put in a garden this year, and I'm really amazed at how little effort it's required, outside of building the cedar garden boxes that will last years. We have community gardens in some of our urban neighborhoods, with educational programs for children. In my city, we have people fighting for zoning to permit residents to keep hens.

                                                                    Most suburban and gated communities are on former farms, now the only agricultural product there is lawn turf. I'm actually going to a meeting tonight to talk with others about building a community, like a gated community, only holisticly oriented.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: MCFAC

                                                                      cool - when was it on Oprah?

                                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                                        Jan. 21, there's an article and a huge discussion thread on her site. http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Tr...
                                                                        She also recommended the DVD in her magazine, there's a seperate thread relating to that. When the movie was featured, there was also a DVD/instant download promotion on Amazon for $9.95, they're still running it. It hit #3 on the amazon bestsellers list for all TV and movies within a week, last I checked, it was at #5. I'd love to know total DVD sales, could only find info on box office. I'm sure everyone who watches it will get their family and friends to watch as well, I'v'e already promised a viewing party at my house.

                                                                        We went ahead and bought some Whole Foods stock! All their stores in my area have been slammed, when I was in there after 9:00 PM on a weekday Tues., they were as busy as I've seen them during the day. It's amazing to read the comments from people who were new to the issues on her site, people immediately changing their eating habits and going to farmer's markets. It will be really interesting to see the "Oprah Effect" on this one!!!

                                                                    2. I saw it a while ago on BluRay, why don;t I remember that "pope of pork" guy? I thought that would have been the pig farmer in the glasses.. I don't remember the other guy from your links above in the film at all

                                                                      1. We saw this movie and found it very enlightening and interesting. Over the past few years, I've managed to give up processed food (due to living with a frenchman) and concentrate on fruits and veggies in season and GRASS Fed meat. The food IS more expensive--no doubt about that, but the flip side is that we don't have soda, or boxed cookies, or cakes, or mac'n cheese....yadayadayada. When you take into consideration, the price of processed foods, and delete them from your daily food intake, you find out that your food bills will not vary in pricing that much. One thing I've really taken note of is that many stores will have stickers on meat reading "vegetarian diet"...which does not necessarily mean that the animals about to be cooked are grass fed--they can be fed with corn or some sort of grain meal. We prefer grass fed because there really is a taste and texture difference--especially in beef. In addition, by bringing food to work for lunch and NOT going out and purchasing fast food, you are really making a statement to the fast food places.
                                                                        SPOILER FROM MOVIE--There was a scene in which a family was going food shopping and opted for soda (I believe) rather than fruit because of the price. Said family was next seen eating fast food burgers that they got for a buck. THAT was sad. A bag of beans is about a buck--you can cook 'em up and have a couple of good and hearty and healthy meals rather than a burger from a fast food joint. All in all, the movie really was very good and informative.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                          You're so right about cutting out the "middle isle" stuff! Came to this decision after talking with a friend who insisted she couldn't go organic because Paul Newman's cookies were too expensive. I areed at first, woke up the next day to the reality that I could shrink my wasitline and my food spend at the same time. Used to send up to $350 at WF check outs. No more! Working on beans and baking like you. If we eat the high cal. treats, at least we can burn a few making it from scratch!

                                                                          1. re: jarona

                                                                            We've been baking our own breads and cookies for the last couple of years. I'll admit my kids get pretty excited about the occasional bag of oreos that make it into my house, but overall, they like our home baked stuff better than the store's.

                                                                            I had a problem with the movie - it was just too over the top. I wanted to like its message, but it was really too extreme for my taste, and didn't represent my lifestyle.