Food, Inc. Response

Food Inc., as promised, has changed the way I think about food. However, being a college student, I’m not exactly sure how practical the book was for me. While their suggestions were great and I actually practice many of them at home, here I am dependent on a dining hall for my sustenance, one which I feel confident does not follow all of Food Inc.’s recommended policies towards food. Their most compelling point, I feel, is the argument that too much American food is processed to the extent that Americans don’t really know how to cook anymore. It really is pretty sad how much I eat in a day that is processed. Unless I grab a salad from the Nest, my options for unprocessed foods are quite limited, and as I don’t have a kitchen, cooking for myself from fresh ingredients is virtually impossible. So I guess to Food Inc.’s dismay I’ll be just another American at the mercy of the industrial food system, but unable to opt out and declare my independence, as Joel Salatin would like.

I though that the connections drawn between organic food being better for our health but also for the environment were pretty convincing; however, as long as processed nonorganic food is so much cheaper than organic I don’t see it overtaking the food industry and putting nonorganic out of business. My favorite suggestion from Food Inc. is about buying local food, which supports local business, prevents the environmental and economic costs of transporting food long distances, and of course keeps the food we put in our bodies fresher and more nutritious. In fact, I got so attached to the idea that I found my appetite for Seaco food pretty much gone for the week I was reading this book. Throughout the chapter, I couldn’t help but think about the food share program my family participates in at home. A group of Mennonite farmers in the valley sell their produce to this program called Horse and Buggy, which in turn sells shares of food to customers across the mountain, transports whatever crops the Mennonites harvest, and then brings them once a week for the customers to pick up. You never know what produce, eggs, or bread you’ll get from week to week, and sometimes the vegetables that showed up on the table were ones we wouldn’t have tried from the supermarket. I got pretty fond of butternut squash soup, for instance, although I doubt we would have been picking up fresh, whole butternut squash without Horse and Buggy. In this way, we were able to eat local food, support local farmers, eat more and fresher vegetables, try new vegetables that grow locally but that we don’t usually eat, and learn new recipes for cooking these new vegetables. This is the type of system Food Inc. supports, and I must agree, it’s all around a better way to eat. Yet one that is quite the opposite of the way I’m eating here at college…

-Candice