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Documentary: The Future of Food

A very quick entry today as I’m about to drive up to London  for the afternoon to run errands etc.  I just finished (re)watching the movie The Future of Food and I had to give it a quick promotion on my blog.  This movie is fantastic – it’s hard hitting and offers a bleak but accurate picture of our food and its future if we continue along the path were are taking.  I watched it for the first time about 3 years ago, when I was first starting into my research on food.  It bowled me over then, but I figured it was just because I was so new to all the information that of course it was shocking.  Well, even after 3 years of full-time immersion into studying food politics, I still find the information in this movie shocking and disturbing.  The difference is that I now know it that is also extremely accurate.

Despite all the hoopla about the latest food documentary, Food Inc, I find The Future of Food to be a much better film.  I was angered by Food Inc.’s short sighted closing message that we can shop our way to change, as well as its promotion of WalMart as our potential saviour (really? seriously?  they must be kidding) and have been unable to recommend it as a result, even though it does contain some very good info.  I was also reluctant to show it in my classes.  The Future of Food offers a much more serious look at what’s going on and in my opinion offers a more accurate depiction where things are at.  It will be my film of choice (along with the stunning Our Daily Bread) for presentation in my courses this year.

If you’d like to see the Future of Food, you can watch the whole thing for free on-line here.  You can also follow their interesting blog here.  Definitely worth checking out.

2 Responses

  1. Although I haven’t yet seen the Future of Food film (and will on your recommendation) I always saw the Food Inc. “recommendation” about Walmart the Saviour to be depicted as dubious.

    Maybe it’s my own bias, but I could swear the film makers showed Stonyfield Farm yogurt man Gary Hirschberg in a stark contrast to Polyface Farm owner Joel Salatin on purpose. To me, the fact that Hirschberg was detailing the number of “sell out” organic food producers who are now owned by the likes of General Mills, Kellog, and Danone spoke volumes about how Corporate food companies have co-opted the market demand for real food while selling all their usual junk food in exactly the same way they’d always done so (this was something Salatin spoke out against, and seems to wish to avoid). Perhaps it was unintentional on the film maker’s part, but Walmart was shown to be stealthily promoting Big Food products by enabling buy-outs of “real” food producers, claiming to be motivated towards Green Good because of customer demand. Yes, these innovative food producers become wealthy because they help Walmart expand their market to include people like the farmer who told the Walmart executives she purposely avoided their stores. The once truly “organic” products (altered now, I’m sure) may be sold to a greater number of people, but there is no way anyone could believe the claims that this trend furthers better farm practices, “greener” practices in distribution of the food products (which now have to be shipped nationally, produced in mass supply and a lowered cost, etc), and a greater opportunity for communities to take back their own power in determining how their food supply will be created and sustained. We all know Walmart are still dependent on labour practices that create the poverty sustaining the demand for cheap, nutrient-free food. To me, Walmart comes out making every effort to look “green” on this, while conducting business as usual: if their status quo is upheld, however, their true mission is accomplished.

    I now know that the director really did wish to cheer Hirschberg on as a viable example, but the way in which he highlighted the Big Company buy out and operations all worked to make me decide never to buy Stonyfield Farm yogurt (and their like) again. So I have to wonder who else came away from that portrayal with the same conclusion.

    Just my (possibly deluded as well!) .02 cents, as that whole
    “Walmart = Good” idea was something I couldn’t believe I was seeing in the movie myself.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Food Inc. and The Future of Food. I am having a “100 mile diet” meal tomorrow and will watch it with my friends this weekend.

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