Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Future of Food - A Movie Review

Welcome to Rational Living's first ever movie review! The movie? The Future of Food.

I have to admit that I drug my feet for weeks when it came to watching this film. Yes, The Future of Food had been floating around my Netflix queue for a little over a month. It wanted to be watched, yet it stayed near the bottom of the queue, grasping for recognition, longing for a higher position. Why did I delay watching it? Well, partly because we have the only-one-video-at-a-time Netflix subscription, so it takes a while to make progress in the queue. Additionally, we share that queue with our two daughters and, frankly, things like Hotel for Dogs (pretty painless for a kid's movie) and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (sigh) held sway. Some of my reluctance was based on the limited publicity I had seen for the film. The Future of Food was directed, written and co-produced by Deborah Koons Garcia (widow of Jerry Garcia) and was all the rage in natural foodie circles when released in 2005. A lot of the advertising focused around quotes like...

"We used to be a nation of farmers, but now it's less than two percent of the population in the United States. So a lot of us don't know a lot about what it takes to grow food."
--Judith Redmond, Full Belly Farms


"If you eat food, you need to see The Future of Food..."

I already read a fair bit of natural foodie wisdom and know where most food comes from, so the idea of spending my entertainment time focused on the same subjects did not seem that appealing. But eventually, The Future Food won out and appeared in my mailbox on an unseasonably cool August morning. And then it sat next to the TV for a few days, once again relegated to the land of the ignored. Finally, a nice quite evening (i.e., children asleep and hubby off with "the boys") afforded the perfect opportunity for watching (while crocheting, of course).

Now that I've seen it, let me make this clear: The Future of Food is not just about where food comes from. This documentary offers an in-depth look into genetically modified (GM) foods, which are most likely on your shopping lists, in your cupboards and in your bellies. Unless the packaging is clearly labeled as "certified organic" or "non-GMO," it is very likely that any soy, corn or wheat in the commercial foods you buy have been genetically modified. The Future of Food provides a nice, easy-to-understand foundation on GM foods for anyone not already familiar with the topic; why foods are modified, how they are modified and what the concerns are with GM foods. Additionally, the documentary highlights the extremely shady and downright dirty tactics used by GM seed companies and manufacturers such as Monsanto. Trust me, after reviewing the business practices of Monsanto that "Greed is Good" speech Michael Douglas' character gives in the movie Wall Street just doesn't go far enough.

Regardless of your opinion about GM foods, The Future of Food is likely to affect your purchasing habits. Whether you're ambivalent about the origination of GM foods (hey, whatever it takes to make a better tomato), or view GM foods as dangerous abominations (no E. coli-laced Frankencorn for me, thankyouverymuch) Monsanto's relentless pursuit to destroy the average farmer's ability to maintain control over their livelihoods is disgusting. And a review of their international practices will surely make your stomach turn (or is that the GM corn chips you had with lunch?). My determination to reduce the amount of GM foods in my family's diet now stems no only from health concerns but also out of spite for the manipulative, deceptive shenanigans used by the GM industry which, by the way, had a field day getting GM company advocates into key governmental positions during the G.W. Bush years. Surprised?

So if you feel like you need a crash (or even refresher) course in the genetically modified food debate, I think the 90 minutes it takes to watch The Future of Food will be well worth your time. And you can even hop over to and watch the trailer. Just don't let it sit at the bottom of your Netflix queue for too long!

--Rational Mama