I think one of the things that bothered me most is how apparent it was that when we go to the grocery stores, what we see are not choices, but is actually the illusion of choice. First of all, due to all the food conglomerates, most products are owned by the same few companies. Secondly, the food labeling system hides a lot of information -- like what our food is actually made from. Did you know that there are corn products in cheese? (Well, they showed Velveeta, which IMHO, is not cheese, but still).
Here are a few facts I learned from the movie that I found particularly interesting or enlightening:
- The average chicken farmer has to take out loans of $500,000 to build 2 chicken houses. From those chicken houses, they earn $18,000 a year.
- Feeding cattle corn actually encourages the growth of e. coli bacteria, because cattle are not meant to eat corn. Feeding a corn-fed cow grass for 4 days will clear out most of the e. coli. But instead, hamburger manufacturers make a filler (from God knows what, it was really gross) and treat it with ammonia to kill the e. coli. That's right, your fast-food hamburger was sprayed with ammonia. Yum.
- Monsanto (the same company who made DDT and Agent Orange), the maker of Roundup, has patented a genetically modified soybean that is resistant to Roundup. Farmers are no longer allowed to harvest and replant seeds due to patent infringement -- even if they do not use the genetically modified seeds.
- But, in an interesting (positive) twist, Walmart, the evil mega-corp, has started carrying organic food and bovine growth hormone-free milk...because of customer desire. That's right, enough people asked for BGH free milk that Walmart has started carrying it. So what does that tell us? Voting with your dollars works.
Next up: Eating Alaska, the film about the vegetarian lady who marries a hunter and commercial fisherman. I plan to get to the Bear's Tooth early for this one, as it will probably be pretty popular.
Edited to add: One of my loyal blog readers requested the name of my birthday books. The one about gardening is Gaia's Garden, and the one about sustainable living is called The Sustainable Toolbox.