Gourmet activists are still buzzing about this summer’s food industry “exposé,” Food, Inc. But although most Americans agree that we should all learn about where our food comes from, Robert Kenner’s agitprop documentary isn’t the best place to turn for that education. As we’re telling readers of the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, Food, Inc. is the most one-sided doc to hit theatres since the last Michael Moore flick:
Clearly, Kenner doesn’t think highly of "big corporations" — or big anything, for that matter. And in the process of watching him denigrate them, we get foodie propaganda at its finest: mad food scientists lacing our foods with "artificial chemicals"; newsreel clips of food recalls; a soundtrack that could have come from the last "Saw" thriller.
With all the movie’s vague talk about "sustainability," it’s easy to miss the single most important point about sustainability in the film. Asked what he would do if everyone in his area suddenly converted to an all-organic lifestyle, charismatic organic farmer Joel Salatin replies, "Heaven help me fit the need."
Salatin’s help would have to come from a larger planet, or one housing fewer people.
If even Salatin recognizes the unfeasibility of switching to an all-organic food system, you would have to imagine what a non-organic farmer might have told the makers of Food, Inc.
As Frank Morris pointed out on National Public Radio over the weekend, silenced farmers may be the most frustrated over the Food, Inc. phenomenon. Not only were their opinions ignored by the filmmaker, but the rural farm towns that produce most of America’s food supply can’t even see it. (Food, Inc. is only playing in select large and mid-size cities.)
Here’s what a few farmers had to say about Food, Inc. on NPR:
“We’re an easy target.”
“[Food, Inc.] is a direct slap in the face to every farmer and ranch family in this country that has been involved – dedicated – to finding a way to produce sustainable, reasonably priced, safe food … Farmers are starting to realize that there is a concerted effort to mislead the public about what’s happening in American agriculture. “
“If you attack [corn and] the things that are paying our living – that we earn a just return for – and do away with [them], you’re going to do away with the last generation of independent farmers on the land.”
Click here to read the rest of our op-ed in today’s Plain Dealer.