We went to see Food Inc. last night at the Ragtag, our local indie film theatre. I was a little apprehensive going into it about what I was going to see, particularly regarding animal production. I had heard from the Urban Homsteaders that the animal production portion of it was particularly disturbing. And it was, but not as bad as I had imagined it could be.

It’s certainly not a kid’s movie and has a PG-13 rating for good reason. But I think what was probably the most graphic shot was actually of chicken slaughter being done humanely. It was blood and guts, but not the purposeless type of blood and guts you see in violent movies. This at least was real, and brought home the fact that if we’re going to eat meat, the animal does have to be killed somehow. We’re so far removed from our food source that seeing an animal get slaughtered seems graphic and horrendous instead of just a fact of life and a step in how that chicken gets on your plate. Maybe we should be more aware of how that happens so we don’t purposely put a veil over our eyes and allow the food production practices to occur that we are having to deal with now.

I had never seen a CAFO before, and it was interesting to see the parallel of corn fields as far as the eye can see and cattle lots as far as the eye can see. And the cattle are fed corn.

It wasn’t as revolutionary as I thought it might be, but that may also be because I’m fairly familiar with the topic and read about these things on a daily basis. It made me really happy that a) we don’t eat a lot of meat, b) almost all of the meat that I purchase now comes from local sources and c) I’m beginning to grow our own fruits and vegetables and d) I’ve been able to buy good local produce at the Wednesday farmer’s market. By the way, after the movie a panel discussion was held and a man who is involved with our local Columbia Farmer’s Market mentioned that our market has higher attendance in 4 hours on Saturday than the average Walmart does in an entire day. That’s pretty awesome.

People in Columbia are pumped about this type of thing. Last night’s show was almost completely sold out. It makes me feel like this is where I was meant to live.

Another aside: it was also brought up that Hy-Vee is going to be phasing out their Health Market section and integrating those products into the regular aisles. This could be good, I guess, because then they’re with all the other similar products, but it could also make them harder to find. When this was mentioned in the panel discussion, the ENTIRE audience let out a loud GASP OF HORROR. Like, every person there. (This was Charlie’s favourite part of the evening.) BUT, then the storyteller went on to say that the manager of our Columbia store, though, has said that because the Health Market in the Columbia store is so successful, Columbia Hy-Vee will be the ONLY store in the entire country to retain the Health Market. Yup, hippie town.

So, yes. Go see the movie. It’s a must-see. The point was also brought up, though, that this type of film is often preaching to the choir. Get someone to go to the movie who’s not interested in this type of thing or doesn’t know much about food production or why buying local is important. If you’re not aware of what’s going on, the movie probably will be revolutionary. I had already determined to grow as much of my own food as I can and buy local as much as I can. But the film just helps solidify why it’s worth it to make these changes.

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