Monday, April 19, 2010

Food Crisis!

I watched something that I don't regret but kinda wish that I hadn't seen. How's that for a ridiculous comment?!?! You see... I have a bit of an issue. When I see injustice, I have to respond. I get pissed. I vow to DO SOMETHING. I am not someone that can just rationalize why it shouldn't/doesn't affect me. This is why I should/shouldn't have watched Food, Inc.

I should/shouldn't have watched this movie a long time ago but I didn't feel like watching a movie with an agenda. I assumed that it would tell me that I needed to become a vegetarian. I assumed that it would offend me. I knew that this is why I needed to make myself watch it.

Last week, I felt brave enough to turn it on. As I felt my fears of agenda melt away, a feeling of nausea swept over me after seeing where our meat comes from. I felt disgusted after seeing how the animals we eat are treated and killed. Don't get me wrong - I still want to eat meat - I just didn't realize how disgusting a MASS animal murder could be. As simple as it may sound, I believe that an animal deserves the right to graze free in a grassy field and I believe that there are more ethical ways to raise them and kill them. The movie does NOT endorse NOT eating meat and this surprised me.

I also didn't realize how many injustices are happening to farmers in the US and around the world. I didn't know that they had been forced to sell themselves to big business. I didn't realize that the BIG FOOD BUSINESSES are trafficking Mexican farmers in for cheap labor and then turning them over to the immigration department as illegals at the rate of 15 people a day (an easily replaceable amount that doesn't affect production). I didn't realize that the FDA was being run by the very people that were formerly running these BIG FOOD BUSINESSES.

After watching the movie, I turned to my equally as stunned husband and said, "Well, crap (after viewing the movie, I mean this quite literally). Now I'm gonna have to change our food buying habits." We already receive all of our grass fed, free roaming beef from my father (thanks Dad!!). We are a part of a gleaning group and consider ourselves to be primarily "freegans." (If you don't know what gleaning is, google it.) But we still purchase a lot of our chicken and cereals, etc. from the grocery store/Costco.

This is where we meet our crisis. Where I would normally go to Costco to stock up on Cheerios for my boys, I will now be headed to PCC or Whole Foods where there is a significant price difference in the long term. Where I would normally head to Safeway to buy our meat and other various items NOT gleaned, I will now be headed to "Bill the Butcher." If you live in the Seattle area, check him out. He's watched Food, Inc. :) A lot of the food items that I would have purchased in bulk now need to be purchased from a local food source. As you can see, this means that shopping will be a little trickier, take a lot longer and be more expensive. My youngest, Finn, is NOT a good shopper and a Houdini in the cart so it feels pretty daunting. This will also elimate some of my shortcut cooking tactics used to make meal prep faster and easier. Darn.

Well, if you are still tracking with me and my early morning rant, I'm impressed and will end it here. I would like to urge you to watch this movie despite the fact that you might live to simultaneously regret it and it feel like it might be the best thing that you've done for your family in a long time. I KNOW for a fact that things CAN change if we all get involved. We just actually have to DO it.

I will be researching ways to make these changes without breaking our food budget. Will you help? Have you already made changes to how you buy and eat because of Food, Inc.? Share your secrets here and I'll repost them at a later date!


neely said...

i am in.

Living with Three Boys of Our Own said...

So glad to see someone else where we were a few months ago! It's so hard! We've joined a CSA, we buy our cow from a man in the country (grass fed, organic, etc.), but the rest is so hard to work around.... we need to share ideas and make this all work!

Kelly M said...

Oh Marisa, the McPherson family has been going through the same thing in the last year. There are meat CSAs, but they're a little out of our budget. Groupon and LivingSocial have both had a daily deal in the last couple of months on organic food delivery-which includes meat and they were for 50% off the cost. While the delivery option is generally more than Bill the Butcher, it was cheaper with the groupon deal! Bill the Butcher is less expensive than whole foods though. Not sure what you guys like to eat, but this website: has been a great resource for us! We're big fans of quinoa and well, we're on a pretty heavy legume diet too (I'm soy sensitive so it's not an option for us as a meat alternative). Our faves on 101 cookbooks are: lemon-scented quinoa, matchstick pasta, ravioli pasta salad, and the almost cheeseless pasta casserole. Oh, and the root connection is a great CSA for veggies! You can pick kale until late in the autumn if you're willing to wear some boots! Oh and this blog: is kind of fantastic. Mark Bittman also has a book "How to cook everything vegetarian" that is great! Here are some links to some of our other favorites:
Okay, um, this is a very lengthy comment. Sorry about that.

Chris Routly said...

We've been looking into some of the plethora of organic/local/free-range food around here a lot. We just joined a CSA and will be getting our first veggie/fruit/herb box soon, but meat has been a trickier thing. I'm hoping I can start buying most of it at one of the fantastic local year-round Farmer's Markets, but I need to do some more research so I'm not just getting the same thing I would in a grocery store but paying more.

I do still need to watch Food Inc though, at some point. I'm a little afraid now! ;-)

Andrea Horne said...

Food, Inc. has also transformed our household. My husband has never really cared about fast food or really if I bought organic or not, & since seeing the film about three months ago, we, too, have been on the same quest. We've taken this very seriously and have actually been the brunt of jokes of our friends who haven't seen it. Ignorance is bliss, right?

But I finally felt like I had our grocery budget under control, & then we watched it...So back to square one & adding other variables such as organic, free-range, GMO-free. So for us, I shop at Trader Joe's, farmer's market, get eggs from friends, & occasionally Whole Foods. I am couponing a lot of our household items, trying to save money in other ways so I can put it towards the good stuff.

Sandy said...

Have you read Michael Pollen's books? Absolutely eye-opening! I buy most food at Whole Foods, but it is expensive. We've cut out a lot of meat. Did you know Calvin Klein gets an F from the website? Sandy W

Ashley Julian said...

Josh had to watch Food,Inc. for work. I was shocked! I'll admit I'm not a big animal lover. I've never cried when a family pet died. (Heartless, I know.) BUT...I was embarrassed and a little mortified at the way the animals we eat are treated.
We haven't made huge leaps yet but so far we have started growing a garden. We don't eat a lot of meat to begin with but we are looking for an affordable way to buy organic meat without buying in bulk (we don't have the room to store extra meat). I would think with all the farmers around here we would be able to find an affordable meat source.
It's hard buying organic because the only whole food store here is TINY and VERY expensive. Other than that we have Safeway and Walmart. Since watching Food, Inc. we only buy free range eggs and try to buy organic whatever from the stores mentioned.
It's small, but it's a start.

Betsy and the Boys said...

Hello, Just recently found your blog, we are with AGCI as well.
We have been gradually "making the switch" over the last couple years. We've done most of the things mentioned, bought a "cow", joined a CSA, grew a garden. But as far as the grocery shopping, I make a point to pick out thick skinned fruits from the non organic section, ( bananas, oranges, melons, etc. ) and then buy a bag of organic apples, or whatever is on sale that week ( at Publix ). I kind of know where to go now for what I want... Costco has my organic oatmeal, my WalMart is now carrying organic milk, Publix has the best produce. We don't have any of the "whole foods" type stores, but stock up on staples when we visit family in the "big city"!! My husband is more dedicated than me, but I do all the shopping and cooking, so it's a tricky balance! Not sure I'm brave enough to watch the movie. Will I ever be able to eat at my beloved Chick fil A again??

Mandy said...

I totally get it. We've been weird about food for a few years (and by weird I mean, we try to only eat food that is...well, food!)Have I told you how I cured my infertility by the way? (;
Anyhoo- I offer a small solution for eating real food at a smaller cost and MUCH less work..umm, hello, it takes TIME to make food from scratch?
It's called a meal swap or co-op cooking. Just started doing it here and it is rocking my world! Contact me if you want more details!

"Indescribable" said...

We watched Food Inc about a month ago and immediately ordered a half a cow.... I couldn't believe the poor chickens that couldn't walk b/c of the weight they're bearing on their legs - too much! I've never 'cared' about the way food was prepared before I saw this - now I know there's a difference between right and not right! Just have to find chickens.

We've been trying different kinds of food habits, beginning with Andrew Weils, Optimum Health. Getting rid of all foods that have artificial food coloring and flavoring and moving to eliminating anything with trans fats... next adding omegas, broccoli and garlic.... we started that about 8 yrs ago. We (not really me, but my hubby) have been lessening the amounts of carbs - b/c of the increase in insulin that the body needs to break down the carbs, we're watching that.

My husband likes the primal diet. I eat what ever he makes..... primal totally supports eat what's in season, and real food.

We did join a CSA and are looking forward to the weekly produce.

We've been a part of a food coop, ordering in bulk, getting decent prices and the coop truck is the same one that delivers to whole foods... I love the discount prices. Just takes a little planning. We've found a US brand of frozen food, Stalhbush, that tastes good. We ran out and purchased birdseye... birdseye tasted like it had a coating of oil on it, uck!

I was really saddened by the actions of the big M company that made the little guy pay them off b/c their seeds blew over into the little guys crops.... sad. Not eating soybeans anymore.
The biggest thing I learned from the film was that I'm voting every time I purchase something at the groc store. And if we look hard enough we can find good food at reasonable prices without compromising.

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