Thursday, August 5, 2010

.C.ould .O.ur g.R.eed explai.N.

David and I watched King Corn. A documentary made by two young guys, just graduated from college who decide to rent an acre of land in IA and grow corn. Their plan is to follow their acre from seed to product. Interesting concept and of course holding our attention since we seem to do that every day ... trace our products back to corn ...

From Netflix:
King Corn
2007 NR 90 minutes
In Aaron Woolf's thought-provoking documentary, friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move back to America's Corn Belt to plant an acre of the nation's most-grown and most-subsidized grain and follow their crop into the U.S. food supply. What they learn about genetically modified seeds, powerful herbicides and the realities of modern farming calls into question government subsidies, the fast-food lifestyle and the quality of what we eat.
Cast: Curt Ellis, Ian Cheney
Director: Aaron Woolf
Genres: Documentary, Science and Nature Documentaries, Political Documentaries, Indie Documentaries
This movie is: Witty, Cerebral
Format: DVD and streaming

Despite our extensive research out of necessity, we were still surprised at some of the content. While some of the knowledge was "there" it hit home the actual role the government is playing in growing and producing of corn.

The bottom line is that the government, through subsidies, is propping up an artificial (literally) market for corn. Corn derivatives are so inexpensive that it has helped to drive down the annual cost of food in U.S. households, by about 1/2. While it sounds shocking, even in our household since discovering David's allergies and subsequently switching to primarily organic foods our grocery budget has more than doubled. Even 100 years ago, maybe even 50 years ago the thought of having to purchase "Organic" foods was probably ludicrous. Food was still being produced primarily through smaller farm operations - with naturally healthy methods.

I like purchasing organic, corn free products. I DO NOT like the dent that it has caused in our over all budget, but by purchasing responsibly grown plants and animals I am choosing to support small farms and casting my vote for free market - not one propped up with subsidies and corn kernels.

While we don't own a TV I have seen the commercial that is touting all the benefits of High Fructose Corn syrup. The actresses are playing 'mom' in this commercial and one of the 'moms' says to the other "Oh but do you know what is IN that??" And the (obviously more informed mother - typed with only a hint of sarcasm - ) says "What?" And then spouts off all the fantastic things about HFC.

Here is the thing: the guys in King Corn make HFC themselves when companies won't allow them to bring in cameras. They have to wear GLOVES & GOGGLES because of the poison that is required in the process of abstracting HFC from kernels of corn. Pretty sure that I don't want to consume a product made with chemicals that have a skull and bones on it. And I sure as anything wouldn't feed it to kids. No wonder our kids are fat, have diabetes, early periods, and on and on.... The government is encouraging parents to feed their kids crap - literally. It's hard for me to make good grocery store decisions and I have a household of 2. I can't imagine having 4 or 5 mouths to feed and looking at the meat or dairy and having to choose between products. When will the government - especially this current administration with all the talk of healthy eating - stop enabling companies to obtain cheap product. Cheap, unhealthy product.

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