This is pretty much a U.S. post, so if you’re from another country I’d love to hear what it’s like where you are.
Ok, so I’m late to the game, but I just watched the documentary Food, Inc. (This is a PBS link, it’s also on Netflix) Wow. It was made in 2008 but I’m not sure things have gotten much better since then. I was unaware of the monopolies in agriculture. I knew people had differing opinions about Monsanto but I didn’t know anything about them. I knew there were some big meat companies but I didn’t realize that four companies provided 80% of the meat in the country. I knew feedlots existed but I didn’t know what they entailed. The whole chicken thing is disturbing.
I’m lucky enough to live close enough to Polyface Farms, which is profiled in the movie, to have a farmer’s market near that sells their meat. I think we’ll be buying more of their meat in the future. It makes me think twice about the butcher’s special that I bought. If there are only 13 slaughterhouses in the U.S., and conditions at those are not conducive to healthy meat, well, the meat I buy from the butcher probably isn’t any healthier than the meat I buy at the grocery store, is it? It still comes from those slaughterhouses, right?
It’s beginning to seem to me that the only way to truly be healthy is to grow and raise all your own food or investigate closely exactly where each thing comes from. It looks like I’m going to have to be much less lazy about my buying habits. This is certainly not the frugal route unless I grow a large percentage of what we eat. That will allow us to afford the more expensive, healthier meats.
This documentary was disturbing. These things that I knew about in a vague way became much clearer. It has certainly made me think more about how I buy. Every dollar is a statement. I’d love to say that the family is only going to eat clean foods from this moment on, but that’s not realistic. Honey Nut Cheerios taste good and my kids love them. There are some other products that we love as well. At what point does it become too austere? At what point does it become too expensive? How do you shop ethically and keep a budget? More on that in a minute though. The movie is well worth the hour and a half it takes to watch it.