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Prepare for the Food Inc. Onslaught....Movie to be broadcast on PBS and online. What can be done to tell agriculture's side of the story?

FOOD INC. MOVIE TO BE BROADCAST ON PBS AND THE WEB
Source: American Documentary Inc. news release

Whether you're a foodie or just a food lover ... Whether your tastes lean towards comfort food or haute cuisine, the POV (Point of View) series invites you to get your pots, pans, televisions, computers and friends ready for the special broadcast of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Food, Inc., on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 9 p.m. on PBS, in celebration of Earth Day. (Check local listings.)

Food, Inc. asks: How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Though our food appears the same as ever, it has been radically transformed. Producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) lift the veil on the U.S. food industry, exposing how our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations. The livelihood of the American farmer and the safety of workers and consumers are potentially at risk. Food, Inc. reveals surprising -- and shocking -- truths about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we may go from here.

Beyond the national broadcast, the POV website (
www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc) will offer viewers many opportunities to learn and participate:

• Invite your family and friends over for a healthy, delicious, affordable and sustainable potluck meal. Then watch Food, Inc. and discuss the many issues it raises. POV will be giving away books, DVDs, sustainable food items and more to potluck hosts and participants.

• Plan your party with POV's Potluck Party Guide, which features an online invitation, checklists, discussion topics, links, resources and recipes. (See samples below.)
http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/party_kit.php

• If you missed the broadcast, watch the film online in its entirety from April 22-29 at http://video.pbs.org.

• Join our Potluck Campaign and you may be selected for a free POV gift basket -- Visit the POV website (www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc) from April 22 to May 3 to enter the giveaway. Gifts include autographed copies of Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food, Inc. DVDs, autographed Food, Inc. movie posters and more. POV will select gift basket recipients the week of May 3 -- Check back for details.

• Blog/Tweet/Facebook about your potluck -- POV wants to know what you served, who joined in, what you thought of the film and what you talked about. Blog about your potluck and send us a link. Tweet @povdocs to tell us what you ate. Fan POV on Facebook and leave us a comment about your party.

• Calling all bloggers -- Food bloggers are joining the Food, Inc. potluck campaign by sharing recipes, reaching out to their readers, hosting potlucks and more. Bloggers, including the cooks behind Food 52, Not Eating Out in New York, Last Night's Dinner and many more sites, will be encouraging their readers to host potlucks and discuss the issues raised in the film.
http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/blogger_info.php

• Take action and take part -- The social action network Take Part has partnered with POV to help viewers find out how to support healthy school lunches, and stay up to date on the issue by reading the
Hungry for Change Blog.

• 10 Simple Things You Can Do -- Take steps to change your diet and change the food system with these tips from the Food, Inc. filmmakers.

• Schools and community groups -- Are you interested in hosting a public Food, Inc. screening and/or potluck? It's simple -- Just join the POV community network
http://www.amdoc.org/outreach/events/, request Food, Inc. and we'll lend you a screening kit that includes a DVD.

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Why in the world you would want to support the American agriculture system with its use of illegal immigrants with no labour standards, terrible environmental record and many of the other things the American system is steeped in is beyond me.

I've actually watched the movie - twice now, and there is lots of good stuff in it that shows what Canadian farmers are competing against. As well there are lots and lots of American farmers and farm organizations that think the movie is at least worth seeing, especially around the way some of the agri-business giants treat every day American farmers. It is far from a perfect movie and it does rely on sterotypes and sensationalism from time to time. But the parts of the movie that are good, make up for some of that, especially when they talk to some rather large grain farmers and the section on illegal immigrant labour and how the American system rewards and protects companies.

It is worth a watch, and the way to deal with it is to talk about the realities in Canada, not be defensive like farmers have something to hide.
I realize this movie is American based, but Canadian Farmers face many similar challenges that our neighbours face. There are too many anti-ag groups who just don't understand, or are misinformed about how Canadian Farmers produce the food we all eat. My own personal belief is that we (Farmers) need to get more involved with the consumer. They believe what they are told by other non-farming people, and the consumer WANTS to know about their food! My husband and I are members of the Holland Marsh Growers' Association. Last year the HMGA decided we needed to tell the Farmers' story. Last Fall a camera crew visited several farms in the Holland Marsh and surrounding area during harvest. As a result of all of these "live" interviews a wonderful show "Fresh Life" was put together. We saw the first show this past Sunday--WOW--informative, entertaining and most of all REAL. Watch April 4/10 at 1:30 p.m. on SUN TV. The Holland Marsh starts and ends the show, and is featured in the 13 episodes. There is talk of a second season. That's how the ag community responds. Farmers are stewards of the land, we follow very strict rules and regulations, which is what allows us the distinction of having the safest produce in the world. We know what we do is safe, healthy and nutritious. Let's be proud of what we do "Agriculture is Life".
Hummm. What IS agriculture's side of the story?
I would call this movie very pro-farmer. Anti-agri-business conglomerates and questioning government's priorities sure, but very pro-farmer. The overall message is that farmers are very important and needed and that the system is working against their interests. I would encourage people to actually watch the movie before condeming it. As I said, many independent American farm organizations, and farmers by themselves, support this movie, if not every single line in it. It is not perfect, but is a good place to start to begin a discussion with the eaters of the food we grow.

I watched a movie on the Holland Marsh by the way- great movie called growing season (I think), but that sounds like it was a different one?

We have a proud story to tell. But if we are embarrassed, scared, whatever, to tell all of it, we need to ponder whether that part of the story is one we need to think about. Afterall this is a two way relationship between eater and farmer and we need to listen to our consumers concerns too- even if they are misguided or based on bad information so we can talk to them about the reality.
Hi Grant:

You have some good points....I have not seen Food Inc. I plan to rent it and watch in soon.

I am reacting to the amount of PR I get and see from the consumer groups.

Here is the Food Inc. trailer I saw and it looks pretty dramatic.....




It has nothing to with having something to hide. It has everything to do with the fact the movie does not represent the realities of what is happening on 99% of the farms in North America.

Grant said:
Why in the world you would want to support the American agriculture system with its use of illegal immigrants with no labour standards, terrible environmental record and many of the other things the American system is steeped in is beyond me.

I've actually watched the movie - twice now, and there is lots of good stuff in it that shows what Canadian farmers are competing against. As well there are lots and lots of American farmers and farm organizations that think the movie is at least worth seeing, especially around the way some of the agri-business giants treat every day American farmers. It is far from a perfect movie and it does rely on sterotypes and sensationalism from time to time. But the parts of the movie that are good, make up for some of that, especially when they talk to some rather large grain farmers and the section on illegal immigrant labour and how the American system rewards and protects companies.

It is worth a watch, and the way to deal with it is to talk about the realities in Canada, not be defensive like farmers have something to hide.
Have you watched the movie?

Please tell me how the conventional grain farmer they talk to, who has held leadership postions in mainstream ag organizations in the States, is not representative. I am sure he is a member of the NRA, votes Republican and listens to country music. He is about as mainstream as it gets. The other main guy is not mainstream, and I certainly don't buy all of what he is selling, but he still makes good points about how out of whack food saftey regulations are. A lesson we are learning with what is happening to small abattiors in Ontario right now and what it will do to many livestock farmers who make their living, or try to, by selling directly to consumers or by selling to the local abattior so they sell local meat to local consumers.

The woman chicken farmer seems pretty mainstream too, although you can't compare poultry across the borders due to the obvious fact of supply management.


And how you can make a claim about 99% of farmers in North America is beyond me. The farm community is so diverse, spread across so many commodities and doing so many different things you couldn't find 99% agreement on anything beyond maybe prices are too low, the government doesn't care, or things like that.

All I can say is watch the movie- it isn't perfect, but it is a way to open the conversation with a group of people that could be allies, because we sure know the government isn't listening to farmers.


RealAgriculture.com said:
It has nothing to with having something to hide. It has everything to do with the fact the movie does not represent the realities of what is happening on 99% of the farms in North America.

Hey Joe

That video won't play for me. But I can imagine it has ominous music, and a dramatic voice over - which is unfortunetly how these things get sold. I would just ingore all that claptrap.

Again I am not suggesting the movie is perfect, far from it. I just don't think it is anything to be afraid of, and in fact I think there is some stuff in there that helps get a positive message across from farmers. Like most movies, books, magazine articles it has an agenda, but often we see the exact opposite problem when real problems in agriculture are glossed over so we can have the 'smiling, happy people' message - like those recent FCC commercials.

If you are near Goderich there is a showing of Food Inc on April 15th at the Park Theartre at 7:30 pm. It is being shown in order to show what Canadian farmers and processors are having to compete against (think illegal, low paid, immigrant workers who are essentially indentured servants) and also to just get a conversation started about what we need to do in Ontario to make sure we have a viable, successful and healthy farm economy and sector.

Joe Dales said:
Hi Grant:

You have some good points....I have not seen Food Inc. I plan to rent it and watch in soon.

I am reacting to the amount of PR I get and see from the consumer groups.

Here is the Food Inc. trailer I saw and it looks pretty dramatic.....




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