Thursday, June 4, 2009

Black and blue - but what to do?

Question: What does one eat after watching Food Inc. and the dismal loss of the Blues?

Answer: Nothing.

While I know skipping meals is not the solution nor the message of the movie, there are serious barriers to carrying out some of the borderline propaganda spouted at the film's end.

Say you're at an inner city pub at night looking for a meal. There's fast food just down the road, but you know now that they're not really helping the cause. Visions of cow's with Down's Syndrome and chickens with breasts too large to be supported by their yet-properly-developed feet turn me off the pub steak and chicken schnitzel. I can only hope that the situation is not quite so disturbing in Australia as the US.

But what to do? I can't go out seeking organic, humanely-produced food at half time - it simply isn't feasible. Drowning football sorrows in beer ended up being my answer, but what of the hops and malt used to make my drink? Vegetables are lighter on the guilt-factor but advancing technology means genetically-modified organisms are becoming the norm, without our even knowing.

Personally I don't know anyone who demands shiny, same-sized apples (I just like mine crunchy) but it's these mass consumer wants that are driving the technology that allows a farmer to grow uniform produce. A notable quote in the movie was that a tomato bought in a supermarket is not actually a tomato, but "a notion of a tomato".

While that sounds like something clever a chef may want to list as a menu item, it's actually quite wrong to think that the red-skinned, juicy 'fruit of love' is really a culmination of seed technology, pesticides, supply chain logistics, artificial ripening and marketing.

Or is it wrong? Is it just that our society has advanced so much that this is what farming and agriculture have evolved to? The "pastoral image" being just that - imagery. It's a tough one when viewed on the whole, what with life and all its other worries. But when the simplest act of eating is adulterated to a point that it's multinational board decisions driven by efficiencies and cost cutting that stock the supermarket shelves, maybe I'll spend a bit longer checking out my groceries before purchase.


Betty said...

Interesting post. It really does make you wonder and question where most of our food comes from. Ignorance really is bliss in this case!

Tina said...

Hi Betty - Yes, knowledge seems to come with a cost.
For example, doing groceries today: Supermarket brand 1kg self raising flour: 92c
Supermarket brand 1kg organic self raising flour: $3.29


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