Food, Inc. is one of the books on my list of 100 books I want to read. However, I ended up watching the movie version on Sunday. I am on the fence between being rendered speechless and having so much to say that I don’t know where to begin. I’ll start simple. I am not a vegetarian; I am not vegan. The notion of being either has never really entered my subconscious. Bacon cheeseburgers are one of my favorite meals on the planet. Until now, I haven’t done much reading on animal food production. However, Food, Inc. equally disturbed and fascinated me. And I don’t think a trip to the grocery store will ever be the same for me again.
In the last year or so I have taken a much greater interest in the notion of self-sustainability and buying food locally. But nothing has smacked me in the face as hard as this movie. While it may make me a hypocrite since I am not a vegetarian, I absolutely abhor hunting for sport. I can’t stand the thought of animals being killed in the wild for fun, yet I’ve never really thought twice about eating animal meat since it seems that’s what we’re “supposed” to do. However, seeing the ways in which animals are raised, kept, slaughtered and processed has given me amazing perspective. I was also incredibly disgusted by so many of these practices and by how cross-connected these huge corporations and policy makers are. Then there’s the pervasiveness of corn products and how it makes its way into such a huge number of food products. I was astounded.
My head has been spinning, thinking about food, my food, its impact on animals, the environment, my health, and so on. I’m still not sure where this leaves me. To be sure, I will be buying as much local food as possible, especially locally raised meat. Luckily there is such a place less than 10 minutes from me, and while we get meat from there from time to time, I think I’ll be buying any meat exclusively from there from now on. I had already planned on a garden for next year as well. And I will be doing a LOT more reading. But now the idea of vegetarianism is swimming around in my head. For me, it would be a very significant change. But the seed has been planted, and I’ll continue to give it thought. Many things to think about. Definitely “food for thought”.
I’d love to know if you’ve watched this and what you thought. If anyone is a vegetarian convert after being a semi-big meat-eater? Anyone with links to articles for either side of the argument?
Edited to Add: I also started a discussion thread about this on the Brown Eyed Baker Facebook page, and reader Nikki shared a link to a great resource: http://www.localharvest.org. In a couple of minutes I found a small farm 20 minutes from me that raises organic, grass-fed cattle and another that offers a CSA as well as eggs from free-range chickens. For those of you trying to find resources in your area, this might be a great place to start.