Food: A Project Envision Documentary

This little documentary is only about a half hour long, but it does brush across the general scope of the problem of industrial food in the United States, lightly discussing differences in opinion by other countries. Described most aptly by KPBS, the producing agency of the documentary:

"Food" is a 30-minute documentary that follows your dinner from the plate to the field, farm and ocean. The investigation reveals some surprising facts about the modern food chain. You may be surprised how far your oranges have traveled, what's in your farmed salmon, and why your chicken breasts are so large these days.

Filmed in California, which supplies probably 30% of all food in the United States,  it makes a lot of really great points regarding food policy and comparison to how other countries manage their industrial food system.

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For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, there is a captioned version on the KPBS website.

The documentary brushes on all our favorite topics: product driven by consumer demand; meat production in the United States including feedlots and cramped chicken farms; local, accountable alternatives and the carbon footprint of food transportation.

An interesting point they brought up that isn't often mentioned is our importing and exporting of produce for particular characteristics, for example, the San Diego Orange. The grove manager said that Americans don't like to buy his oranges because they are too hard to peel and have green shoulders; they don't "look" orange-y enough. So we ship those to Asia and then import oranges from Australia.

This begs the question about organics and importing: how do we know what standards are being met by the "organic" label when the produce or meat is being imported from outside the country? In some cases, the standard may exceed ours, but in others it may not. Either way we have no true accountability.

The film continued on with the shopping habits of the American consumer.  It seems as if our celebrity culture has wrought its way into the supermarket: it's all about image.

We can hope that with the current trendiness of shopping local and visiting farmer's markets that more local produce will be in demand. If the farmers can dedicate at least a part of their farms to local consumers, it is that much less he has to focus on exporting. It's that much carbon saved.

Photo credit: still from the video, KPBS.