Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Fresh, and Food Inc. – Two Movie Reviews in One

Fresh and Food, Inc Movie Review Coordinator

In the past week, we’ve seen both of these documentaries. They are both about our food supply, industrial farming, and safe food.  One is Fresh and the other Food, inc.  Fresh we bought on DVD and Food, inc is playing at our local movie theatre. I took the kids. Links are below.

There are a lot of similarities in the movies so I’m reviewing them together.  They are about how monocultures (growing just one crop) is environmentally dangerous and how industrialized food has lead to unhealthy, over-processed food and abused and neglected animals. My cousin, who lives near a cow CAFO, (Concentrated animal feeding operation) calls it, Cowchwitz, which unfortunately it is for the poor cows who live there.

Both movies have soy and corn farmers who don’t use GMO’s (Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed).  These conventional farmers are a vast minority these days and Monsanto is suing them anytime their field get contaminated by Monsanto’s products. Monsanto is also suing the seed cleaners and putting them out of business so even the people who want to grow and save their own non-GMO seed have no one to clean it anymore.  It’s unconscionable.

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The Book that Changed our Lives

I have been studying nutrition and eating healthfully since high school. I remember 30 years ago telling my mother that we should be using butter and not margarine. She didn’t believe me. 🙂

I have been a vegetarian, a vegan, and macrobiotic at different times in my life, trying to find a diet that really worked for me. When my kids were born our diet changed to home cooked meats (mostly fish & chicken), vegetables and grain, mostly healthy with occasional processed food. We were doing okay until I started having some serious health challenges, stemming from the California fires of 2003. I started having serious lung problems that got even worse from a subsequent smoke inhalation. I tried everything from the steroids prescribed by my doctor to homeopathy – I’m trained as a homeopath and did experience some relief from remedies but not enough – and also tried acupuncture, herbs, etc. I was still not doing well. At the same time my husband was experiencing a recurrence of sinus problems that he hadn’t had in years.

We were searching for something that would help us regain our health. I was browsing cookbooks on Amazon.com and found Nourishing Traditions.  It looked really interesting and after reading the reviews, I bought it. We both read it through and it made good sense, we decided to tweak our eating habits. We started making broths from scratch, started making real kefir (from real, raw, whole milk) and kombucha, and we stopped using vegetable oils (esp Canola as it’s made from genetically modified seed) and switched to olive oil, butter and coconut oil.

Within a few months of making those changes both of us experienced a noticeable improvement in our health and day-to-day energy.  I was able to slowly wean off of my inhalers and my husband’s sinuses improved. Our energy greatly improved – and we are both in/near our 50’s.

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All in This Tea – Movie Review

We saw a terrific movie this weekend. It’s about tea, the power of one person to help make real change and worms.

All in This Tea is about tea importer, David Lee Hoffman. He spent a decade during his twenties traveling around Asia and developed a love of good tea. The documentary follows his travels in China as he tries to encourage the farmers to give up their recent addition of chemical farming and go back to the traditional and organic methods of growing tea. Those methods were lost once the Cultural Revolution arrived, as the farmers started growing for quantity over quality.  As is happening on our farms here — after the initial boost in crops you get from chemical fertilizers, crop production lessens, and soil quality depletes.

As he tries to describe more natural fertilizers to the Chinese officials, David discusses earthworms, and worm castings (droppings), which are one the most wonderful fertilizers available today. We use them in our garden and whenever we put fresh castings on, everything has a wonderful growth spurt. I was happy to see worms and organic methods discussed as we are trying to encourage our farmers here in the U.S. to move away from chemical fertilizer too.

As he winds his way through China’s tea bureaucracy, he found that the companies don’t want to deal directly with the farmers, including those craftsmen who produce the finest teas.  Mr. Hoffman decides to travel through the country finding exactly the teas he prefers, buying them directly from the farmers and then he had to deal with the red tape of getting them shipped to the U.S. There’s also small segments with different people teaching classes about tea and it’s history, that’s very interesting.

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The Corporation – movie review

We saw the corporation last weekend, for the second time, and it’s such an amazing movie and a must see movie!  You can buy it from www.thecorporation.com  or Netflix carries it and there are clips on YouTube.

I really knew much less then I thought I did about corporations, how they came into being and why they’re not ideal –  to say the least! –  for social responsibility.  It’s a long movie and the first 15 minutes is a bit chaotic – make sure you watch past it – because once the intro is over it gets into the issue in a very understandable and entertaining way.  The film has many wonderful cameos including Howard Zinn, Michael Moore and Vandana Shiva, who we wrote about a few blog posts ago. It’s highly recommended and even our teenager watched this one with us.

There’s also a very informative section about Monsanto and gmo food.

Here’s the info from their site:

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Movie Review – The Future of Food

The Future of Food documents what is currently going on with the food supply in the US. Monsanto, a multinational corporation who was formerly in the pesticide business (agent orange, ddt) is now one of the biggest seed suppliers in the world. And not just any seed, it’s genetically engineered for a number of purposes.

Monsanto has been suing farmers who have not bought seed from them but end up with it growing in their fields from no fault of their own. In one very well known case a farmer, Percy Schmeiser, was told by his neighbor that the neighbor’s truck had a hole it’s tarp and a lot of Monsanto’s’ ’round up ready’ seed was dumped on his field. Monsanto tried to sue him (and many other farmers – google and you’ll see links to many of the cases) and he spent his life savings fighting them. He just recently won his case after 10 years!

The film has wonderful and informative interviews with Andrew Kimbrell, director of the center for Food Safety, Fred Kirshenman, a well known sustainable farmer, and a number of experts and scientists who document first off how GE food was pushed on the American people with no disclosure and no testing as well as the devastating potential for destruction with messing with our food supply for profit.

There’s a lot we can do. Support small farmers and farmers market’s. Join a community supported agriculture program where you get a box of fresh from the field organic fruits and vegetables each week. We also need to demand labeling. Right now we don’t know which foods we buy are genetically altered and which aren’t. If our food is labeled we can make informed choices.