Watching Food Inc.

The documentary Food Inc. is a fantastic overview of the problems with the modern food system in America. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. If you haven’t heard much about it, the text on their about page is as good as anything I could write about it:

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s DilemmaIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

I’ve read Schlosser and Pollan’s food writing and find myself constantly learning new and disturbing things when I do. The simple fact is that we know so little about what are food really is, where it comes from, how its made, and what the trade-offs really are. This is especially true of the cheaper processed and/or “fast” food that’s all over the place.

Though I’d seen the film about a year ago, I found myself re-watching it the other night–mostly in an attempt to help me remember some of what I’d forgotten. Near the end of it, I started to wonder what’d happen if every school assigned it for homework: just watch the film and talk to your parents about it.

A couple months ago we signed up for the local CSA and have been really happy with both the quality and selection of the foods we get–even in the off season! We can’t wait until more of the Spring and Summer foods start appearing in our bag(s). Between that and cooking so many of our own meals at home, I have some hope that we’ll be able to eat more “real” food than if we didn’t take the time and think about what we’re doing.

Say what you will about the Obama administration, but I can’ t think of a better issue for first lady Michelle Obama to be focusing national attention on. I just wish more of the health care debate talked about how the “food industry” (it really is industrial) affects health in this country.

No matter what your political views may be, watching the movie is one of the best things you can do for your health–it’ll make you think and hopefully change what you eat.

About Jeremy Zawodny

I'm a software engineer and pilot. I work at craigslist by day, hacking on various bits of back-end software and data systems. As a pilot, I fly Glastar N97BM, Just AirCraft SuperSTOL N119AM, Bonanza N200TE, and high performance gliders in the northern California and Nevada area. I'm also the original author of "High Performance MySQL" published by O'Reilly Media. I still speak at conferences and user groups on occasion.
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5 Responses to Watching Food Inc.

  1. Rene says:

    Maybe you want to have a look at

    There is not a single comment in that movie, only plenty of scenes about how our food is produced.

    It’s european, but I guess Americans do it in a similar fashion.


  2. Aaron Schaub says:

    Must recently started keeping a food journal to keep track of calories. We make most of our food ourselves with the freshest ingredients we can find. I do really well keeping the calories down unless I go out to eat. Even at sit-down places, the calories are off the charts compared to what we do at home. I’m a little nervous to watch Food, Inc. To find out why. I gave Ominvore’s Delimma to Kristin for Christmas and will read it when she is done, but have similar dread about what I’ll learn.

  3. Pingback: Health and Food « Tip The Cook

  4. I am big Ominvore’s Delimna fan … it is a wonderful systems book devoted to food. One of my goals is to get more home grown vege this year, but the animals and weather always make it a challenge.

  5. Asa says:


    You need to watch King Corn! It fits this theme well but with a focus on corn. Our food supply depends upon corn and its misuse (via corn syrup) in everything. Also cows are feed corn (instead of grass) in mega industrial farms. The cows would die in a few weeks past the time of butchering of natural causes.

    When I went to Guatemala earlier this year I couldn’t believe how good the food was. Later I realized it was because all the food they had was real and not edible food like substances. I realized that America had the 3rd world level food supply when I had previously thought it was the other way around.

    Take Care,

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