I love hearing about what people do. I like knowing how things work. I love the first day of a new job, where they show you how the mailroom operates, and what kind of email tagging system people use, and how to order stationary. (Stationary is the best.) I’m not sure if it’s a talent or a tragedy to find the mundane interesting, but I do.
And yet, I am generally clueless when it comes to how food is grown - my own failed attempts attest to that. The idea of farming seems kind of magical to me. You put seeds in the ground and they turn into food. Food that you can eat. I have a lot in common with this guy, I think…
As much as we like to think all farmers are cheerful fellas with sideburns, milking their own cows and occasionally offing a lamb for a special Sunday dinner, it isn’t really like that. Food Inc is a very important film that answers a very important question – how does food work today?
It’s fascinating, powerful and very well made. It examines the intersection of food, technology and humanity. It’s an American film, investigating an American system. But the model of factory farming has been taken up here (on a smaller scale, but to many of the same specifications), and much of it is pertinent to us.
One of the things I love about food is how intimate it can be. Our eating habits are our lives. Our stories, our idiosyncrasies, our heritage. Our pleasure to cook for other people, and our comfort to eat with them. It sustains us, so of course it's personal. It's easy to forget that we engage with food on just about every other level - globally, economically, and medically. And the ramifications of what we eat, and how our food is produced is felt on every level, too. Food Inc is a timely reminder of that bigger picture.
There are many people who will not see this film. Not because they think the information is wrong, but because they suspect it is right. I think that is extraordinarily telling. If we are scared of learning how our food is produced, why are we happy to eat it?
Food Inc is showing at Australian cinemas now. Check out the website here.