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The Real Price of Cheap Food; A Panel Discussion With Michael Pollan

by Angela November 9th, 2009 - 1 Comment »

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Michael Pollan is an award-winning food journalist that has written the book “In Defense of Food” and who helped to make the documentary “Food, Inc.”. He was invited to speak at California Polytechnic State University on October 15th, but after pressure was applied by a university donor, his speech was changed to a panel discussion.

You can read the full panel discussion at Alter.net, but here are a few of the highlights:

-twenty-six ounces of petroleum go into making each McDonald’s Quarter Pounder
-”T. Boone Pickens says we’re going to have $350 a barrel oil within 10 years. We all saw what that did to the food system in 2008.”
-farmers are operating at a consistent loss in an unsustainable food production system

The overall conclusion was that cheap food is not good food. What do you think?

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Food Inc. Will Change the Way You Look at Food; A Review of Food Inc.

by Angela August 4th, 2009 - No Comments »

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Food Inc. is a movie bankrolled by a few executive producers, among them Canada’s own Jeff Skoll, founder of Ebay. It follows the thread of several stories that all lead to the corruption and unethical nature of agri-business. This includes a mother who lost her child to an E. Coli tainted hamburger being afraid to talk about what she eats at home for fear of getting sued by the meat industry. A “seed cleaner” being sued by Monsanto so that he goes out of business, so that farmers cannot save their seed from one growing season to the next, even if they are not Monsanto customers. Illegal immigrants being courted to work for the meat packing giants and then being deported in arrangements that the meat companies have with immigration so that their production lines are not affected. It goes on, but these items alone are enough to get you wanting to take action on the food that you eat.

Food Inc. told these stories, and a lot more, without trying to impart any fear into the viewer. They weren’t trying to slant the coverage to the right or the left; it was just a good old journalistic view of the facts. Which seems very left these days, mostly because of laws that even keep you from criticizing the meat industry in the US, as Oprah found out when she was charged under the law, which is a criminal law even, when she criticized the meat industry after an outbreak of mad cow disease.

The message of the movie is simple; you vote at the cash register. Every time you buy an organic product, that is a vote. They also urge you to support Kevin’s Law by whatever means you can, Kevin’s Law is a law that means to allow the USDA to shut down a meat packing plant if it has multiple E. Coli outbreak offenses. Right now the USDA has no teeth and can’t do anything to the meat industry, thanks to a supreme court judge that used to be a lawyer on Monsanto’s legal team.

The movie was great at showcasing the issues with the US meat packing system, but I was left wondering about Canada’s. We’ll be exploring that issue over the next few weeks in this space; stay tuned.

I caught the movie a bit late in its run, but here’s hoping that you can still catch it in any one of the below theatres.

USA

Magnolia Pictures
http://www.magpictures.com/dates.aspx?id=3e3938d1-b785-4286-9ae0-8eb5952f1480

Canada

Everywhere Except Quebec
http://www.tribute.ca/by_movie.asp

Showtimes in Quebec and Some other Places
http://www.foodincmovie.com/img/downloads/Canadian%20Release%20Dates%20PDF.pdf

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Food, Inc. Movie Will Turn Up the Heat on Agri-Business

by Angela May 14th, 2009 - No Comments »

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A new blockbuster is coming out this summer, only this one doesn’t have any special effects or big Hollywood names.  It does have Jeff Skoll of Ebay fame backing it financially, and acclaimed director Richard Donner.  They tackle the question of how our food is made, how it is being made dangerously, and how talking about the whole process is being censored by business and government.  This movie threatens to blow the food industry wide open the same way that Sicko blew the lid on health care.  Very exciting!  It opens on June 12 in major US cities, and you can sign up on their website for e-mail news on the film, including presumably where it will be playing near you.

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