The other day at work, a woman in my office was passing out copies of the movie Food Inc. She had recently purchased several copies to share with friends and associates believing that the message in the video should be promoted. I have not seen this video, in summary it’s a documentary of modern food production. (For more details: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/food_inc/)
The two women who received copies of the video did not look pleased and repeated the phrase “I don’t want to know the truth.” Then the woman offering the video commented “I know, it (the content in the video) just makes you hate the government.” The two women took the videos saying they could not promise to watch it. Eventually, the video advocate directed her attention to me. I commented that instead of watching movies and getting angry at the government I’d rather spend time finding sources of food created using methods I appreciate. She responded that watching this movie motivated her to start doing that very thing.
Whether you choose to watch Food Inc. to get inspired for being more proactive in your food choices, here are some ideas for getting started (to be implemented one at a time).
Purchase from local farms:
- Shop local farmers markets.
- Research the products you frequently purchase. If something in the store is advertised as “All Natural” or “Organic” or whichever luring label you’re attracted to, research the practices of that brand.
- Read the labels to determine which product was produced nearby.
- Some restaurants are using local sources. In my area this include: Flatbread Pizza, Chipotle, The Fireplace Grill
- Visit local farms: http://www.pickyourown.org/
- Some communities have a cooperative (co-op) relationship with where you contribute a set $ each week or month, then the produce from that farm is distributed among the participants. This system helps the farms by providing a reliable income.
- Search for options near you: http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home
Prepare your own food
- Cooking does not take as much time as people think. The effort can be in all the tasks surrounding meal preparation: planning the meal, shopping for groceries, chopping ingredients (there are enough sources for chopping ingredients this can mostly be avoided, otherwise I suggest having a designated chopper during meal prep), trying to think of something to make with leftover ingredients (this drives me crazy sometimes). I just search the internet for Recipes that require (carrots) or whichever ingredient you have extra.
- Spend the time sharing the experience with a friend or with a group of kids. It can be a fun activity for a small group, and less expensive. You’re going to eat anyway.
- Create a list food items you eat might regularly. If you can think of 6 meal ideas you can rotate them through a 6 week schedule to have a home cooked meal once a week. You might prepare enough for leftovers and save on lunch the next day.
- Prepare a snack to carry with you. Granola and trail mixes are easy to make and store.
More intense research
- Look up the legal definitions of words like organic, all natural, cage free, etc.
- Reform in school lunch programs: http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution
Info for Appropriate Food Sources
- Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders http://www.safsf.org/resour/food_and_ag_films.asp
- Ways to Change your practices http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21306.cfm
Teaching your Children
- 7 Strategies http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/7-strategies-for-teaching-your-kids-what-real-food-is.html