No, I’m not trying to start a career as a movie critic. Trust me, I don’t even know the last time I saw a movie in the theater. However, I am going to take time in this post to review the documentary, Food, Inc.
If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth watching once to see what the Los Angeles Times calls “eloquent” and “essential viewing.” Farmers: be sure to take your blood pressure medicine before watching it. Consumers: keep in mind that when one of the narrators is Michael Pollan who is adamantly against animal agriculture and systems that provide food for the world, the view is obviously going to be one-sided.
Released in 2008, Food, Inc. is labeled by movie critics as a documentary of today’s food industry. The film examines what it calls “corporate farming” in the United States and essentially makes the point that the way today’s farmers produce food is harmful to the environment and animals. When it was initially released, there were many showings of Food, Inc. across the country. Chipotle was one company that sponsored free showings nationwide (Read my thoughts on Chipotle here).
Do I think that the producers of Food, Inc. were biased in their selection of farmers to include in the film? Absolutely. After all, they are movie producers and want to create a piece that includes drama.
I do not believe that the farmers filmed represent the majority of American farmers today. Contrary to what is portrayed, 98 percent of all farms in the United States are family-owned. All farmers care about their land and animals. Interview a local farmer and I guarantee that their view on today’s agriculture will be very different from the farmers interviewed in Food, Inc.
Do I disagree with 100 percent of what was conveyed in Food, Inc.? No, not 100 percent, but I do disagree with about 98 percent of it. The part that I agree with is that consumers are becoming far removed from agriculture and I do encourage them to get to know local farmers.
Do I believe that the number one concern of today’s farmers is the quality and safety of the food that they produce? Definitely. After all, they are not only producing food for you and I to consume, but their families as well. Farming is a noble occupation. Few other occupations can say that the world depends on them for survival.
Do I support technological advancements in agriculture? Yes, and you should, too. Advancements in agriculture have allowed farmers to be the ultimate environmentalists. We can produce more food on less land, and for a world population that is expected to climb to 9.1 billion by 2050. We will not be able to feed those mouths by farming as we did 100 years ago.
Do I support organic agriculture? Sure, I support all of agriculture. As a marketer, I applaud farmers that are able to capture a higher premium for their product because of the production practices they choose to use or not use. What I don’t support is one sector of agriculture putting down another sector of agriculture. Together, we are providing consumers with choice and feeding the world, one mouth at a time.
Forget the movies. Go meet a real farmer and form your own opinions about today’s agricultural industry.