Written by CORO Fellow Jon Harmatz on January 25, 2010.

Today at Franktuary we watched the movie Food Inc by filmmaker Robert Kenner. During the film, which specifically focused on the meatpacking industry and how cattle are raised, I was disgusted by the way food is produced in America. Along with raising cattle the movie discussed how human beings are being raised in a society where they have a perceived sense of choice at the supermarket. In today’s grocery store, we can get any type of food all year long but the days of the small family farm are almost gone. The food found in our supermarkets comes an average of 1500 miles away from large factory farms before it arrives at our table.

The misconception that large food companies want you to believe is that the food comes from local farms right to you. In order to emphasize this point, I just went to my refrigerator and looked at the margarine container that I used earlier this morning on my bread. The container said “country fresh” and there was a picture of a farm. I know for a fact that margarine is not a natural product so how could it come straight from a farm? Of course, this is not true. The margarine was made in a factory, not on a local farm near me and it’s certainly not “country fresh.”

Along with learning that most of the food products in a grocery store are not as fresh as I would like to believe, the workers are not treated as well as we would imagine. The movie specifically talks about how the meatpacking industry uses undocumented and illegal immigrants to work in their factories. The meatpacking plants send buses to Mexico in order to bring these workers to the United States to work in their facilities. Talk about herding cattle! Food Inc shows the industry herding people and treating people like they are just the dispensable property of the company they are working for.

The majority of the food that we eat nowadays is not healthy for us; it is not grown locally nor is it antibiotic free. I am worried that I will have diabetes by the time I am 30 years old. When I was younger diabetes was a rare disease: now, according to the statistics in the movie, one in three people born in the year 2000 will have diabetes by the end of their life. Diabetes is the inability for your body to process sugars because you overload your body with too much sugar. We can, however, do some things to change our eating habits and our food culture: we can buy local, buy fresh, buy organic, buy grass-fed beef and cut out all of the corn starches in our diets. Franktuary is working towards getting rid of all of the high fructose corn syrup products in their store in order to create a happier and healthier you.

Remember: Eat smart. Buy fresh and local. Your body will thank you for it.