Last night, the Museum of the Moving Image organized a screening of the new documentary “Food, Inc.” I went, and an old joke came to mind: There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.
“Food, Inc,” delivers a gut-wrenching (pardon the pun) look at our nation’s food supply, and there are some who are going to say (or who are already saying) that the film doesn’t tell the truth. That’s a bunch of malarkey.
It is true that the film doesn’t present the views of Monsanto, Perdue, Tyson, and the other major companies that dominate the market. But that’s only because they refused to cooperate with the director, Robert Kenner. After the screening, Kenner told the audience that when he started the project, “I wanted to make a film about where our food comes from, but more than fifty companies wouldn’t talk to me.”
Those companies do talk, but only about to distract us. They advertise like mad, filling our minds with cheery slogans and our eyes with pretty pictures. They don’t want the truth about what they are doing to be known. It’s not just that they don’t want the public to see what happens in a slaughterhouses or how chickens are actually raised. They don’t want the public to learn how government policy makes corn chips, soda, and the like cheaper than fresh vegetables. They don’t want you to think about what you are eating.
“Food, Inc.” does an excellent job of condensing the ideas of such authorities in the field as Eric Schlosser (of “Fast Food Nation”) and Michael Pollan (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”), both of whom appear in the film, as well as showing how seemingly rational decisions can have unexpected, and un-healthy, effects. We have some of the most productive farmers in the world and cheap food is a worthy goal. But that food needs to be good for us, and for the planet, or else we might just not be able to afford it.
The film opens on Friday, June 12, and there’s a screening in Brooklyn next Wednesday, the 10th, at The Bell House. Annaliese Griffin, the editor of the lifestyle and events-listing site Brooklyn Based, will interview the director and Schlosser after the screening.