Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Food Inc.

I'm totally into the documentary Food, Inc. The basic premise resonates with me very well, that farming and where our food comes from has changed from a sustainable business, owned and managed by individual farmers, to a few huge companies, controling everything.  It describes contracts with poultry farmers, which from my limited knowledge of business law, should be illegal.

This is outside of my own experience.  My grandfather negotiated a contract with 'The Cannery each year that he would plant a certain specified number of acres of various crops and The Cannery agreed to buy all of that crop for a preagreed price per pound.  My grandfather grew beans, corn, wheat, that kind of thing.  It was a simple arrangement.  The Cannery got what it needed at a price it could plan for.  My grandfather was rewarded for his hard work and good stewardship by having a prearranged contract. 

I remember being about 14 or so.  Some nice lady came to the front door and said she was with an organization which protected family farmers against "Corporate Farms."  My grandmother quickly got my grandfather which listened to what the nice lady said and told her that his farm was a family farm and also a corporation and that he didn't know what she was talking about.  He said that he knew all of the "old boys" around and most of them had come from Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas to our little bit of the Willamette Valley and that they were independent farmers making their way as best they could.  And if they were smart and worked hard, they would have something for their sons (just the kind of "old boy" my granddad was).  He told her he didn't know of any big corporate farms around his area that wasn't run the owners.  Have a nice day!

On the other hand, grocery stores and markets of my youth, the 60s, the 70s, were much smaller.  There were many fewer products, less packaged food.  What little "convenience food" was available seemed like a good idea but Mom and Grandma were sceptical about it and thought it was too expensive.  Now, there is little else. 

Eat Local and in season.  Cook and teach your kids to cook.  If it comes in a box, it isn't food.  If you aren't convinced, find the ingredient list and read it.  If you don't recognize the ingredients, it isn't food.  It is manufactured to resemble food.  It is a trick.  Cook and teach your kids to cook.

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