Monthly Archives: February 2010

Food Inc. Made Me Think

Many stupefying assertions are made in “Food Inc.”, one of this year’s feature documentary Academy Award contenders. I’ll roll some out for you:

 –         3 or 4 companies control meat production in the U.S.A. – probably not much different in Canada

–         a typical chicken grower (no longer called farmer) in Kentucky has borrowed $500,000 and makes $18,000 a year

–         there has been a massive reduction of food inspections in the US lately

–         13 mega slaughterhouses for that nation means there can be parts of a thousand different cows in a single hamburger

–         libel laws in the US mean that a mother can’t criticize poor food safety standards for the death of her son without facing a lawsuit

–         Monsanto owns over 90% of the patents of seeds (and thus crops.) It, along with the meat mega-producers and the mega-slaughterhouses mean tight corporate control over food production in the US

–         Federal US subsidies make it cheaper for poor families to eat corn and it’s thousands upon thousands of (mostly unhealthy) by-products than eat a home-made salad (thus rampant obesity and health problems)

These are some of the realities that Americans must face with their crippling food system. It seems to me a crisis akin to many of that nation’s other crises: economic, health (connected), wars. What a devastating toll our neighbours to the south are suffering. Especially those who really don’t have a choice because they are bound by this insane “food hierarchy.”

This documentary is a call to action – and done in a way that is colourful, bold and fighting. It’s what I call a “soap-box” doc – has a strong message, stands on a box and shouts for attention. Like Michael Moore’s docs, it is a strong piece of propaganda, so bear that in mind. But it’s an entertaining way to get a needed conversation started and I hope that it is seen by millions.

We in Canada are best to pay attention, as we may not have it much better up here. It’s time to take a critical look at food production in this country as well.

One thing I’m grateful for: my partner’s uncle’s bison farm in Saskatchewan and the hand-butchered, naturally-raised meat that I am blessed to nourish my body with. Thanks, Uncle Peter!

Visit the Food Inc. website here.

Food Inc. airs in Canada on CBC News Network Sunday April 11 at 10 pm ET/PT & Saturday April 17 at 7 pm ET, and after it has aired, will be available to Canadian residents to watch online for free here for a limited time.

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Les Enfants de L’enfer – A Story of Haitian Orphans

Again, I return to the short, journalistic documentary. This time, the story of Haitian orphans – both true orphans and children abandoned by parents that can no longer provide for them after the earthquake.

There are thousands of videos about the Haiti disaster out there, but this one stands out – it is informative, emotionally gripping, and tells the story of several characters from the orphanage director, to a teenage orphan in charge of her younger siblings, to American adoption agents.

Finally, it brings up the ethical questions that surround fast-tracked international adoptions but leaves these questions up to to the viewer. There is a huge story told here in a tight, 7 1/2 minute package.

Watch Swiss-produced “Les Enfants de L’enfer” (Children of Hell) online here.