Sunday, April 4, 2010

Food, Inc.

I've been giving a lot of thought to food lately. I'm making an honest effort to buy organic produce, I look forward to purchasing as much local produce as possible this summer, and I'm making progress on my vegetable garden.

I watched what I think is a VERY important movie this weekend that I think every American should see, Food, Inc.

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change? - Trailer and Photos

I cried and cried after watching this movie. I knew about a lot of the issues that are raised in the movie, but the way they were presented really hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. What I didn't really know as much about is the absolute power that a very small number of corporations hold over almost ALL of the food in America. The fact that it's illegal for farmers to save seeds, that it may soon be illegal to show pictures of huge cattle yards, and that you can be sued for speaking out against food produced by these large corporations is terrifying. Maybe all these people screaming about the government's involvement in our healthcare system should put some of that rabid energy into fighting against the government's nearly complete control of our food industry.

As scary and depressing as it was, I'm feeling more motivated than ever to continue to make responsible choices in the food my family eats.

A wonderful resource I've enjoyed for finding local farms and meat producers is
I also really like this list of the 12 produce items that have been found to contain the highest levels of pesticides (and are therefore probably worth buying from the organic produce section).

We've also started watching a great show on ABC called Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I have a big fat crush on Jamie Oliver, and he's even sexier when trying to make big, revolutionary changes in the way our country feeds our children!

One of the scariest moments in the the premier episode of the show was when a group of first graders couldn't name some of the simplest vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, onions, etc.) Seriously terrifying!

All this has got my brain spinning. In some good ways and some bad ways. I feel very grateful for the delicious, homecooked, healthy, fresh meals I ate growing up (thanks Mom!). It was good for me then, and taught me good eating and cooking habits for now.

Here are the 10 tips to take in your own life to change the food system in the country offered by the "Hungry For Change" website.

1. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).
2. Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.
3. Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.
4. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.
5. Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.
6. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.
7. Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
8. Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.
9. Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.
10. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.

This feels like a good place to start. Here we go....

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