So I’m a little behind the times. I think the documentary, “Food Inc.” came out in 2008 and I just watched it for the first time two nights ago on Netflix at Mirs’ house. I’ve seen a lot of disturbing and enlightening documentaries in the last few months. I saw “Crude” about the Chevron oil crisis in El Salvador and was horrified and shocked. I recently watched “The Business of Being Born” and have a new found love, respect, and am in awe of midwives. For the record, I cannot wait to have babies with a midwife. Watching “Food Inc.” I found myself completely in awe and shock by what I learned. It made going grocery shopping today, at Whole Foods and Trader Joes very difficult.
When I moved from Connecticut to New York getting into the “green” thing was a lot easier. That’s not to say that the residence of Greenwich, CT weren’t eco-conscious, they were. But when you drive to the giant Stop and Shop and are attacked with sensory overload of products down every aisle shopping in the miniscule Organic Foods Section of the store seems incredibly daunting and pricey. I opted instead for the boxes and brands I’d grown up with.
Fast forward to moving to Bed Stuy when I didn’t live just one block from the train as I do now. The only grocery stores I visited were the Whole Foods and Trader Joes in Union Square. I tried to get as much as I could for the little money I had. I’d always be amazed when I had two bags of groceries from TJs and not see the total exceed $40. I’d pat myself on the back and schlep my bags to the Utica Stop on the A Train and walk the 15 blocks to my apartment on Madison Street.
Fast Forward another year and I’m on the Upper West side with stores like Zabar’s and Fairway just a few train stops away. A few blocks through Morningside Park and I could shop at the West Side market with their tempting displays of fruits and vegetables on Broadway and 110th. Even though the Upper West Side Grocery options were closer and more accessible I’d find myself at TJs or roaming through the Farmer’s Market in Union Square in an affort to find more organic food options. I’d notice that the apples, blackberries, or eggs were so much more expensive than even the organic eggs at Whole Foods. I’d shrug my shoulders and buy the eggs, milk, and some produce in the stores-always reaching for the organic option over the conventional.
Now, back in Bed Stuy my grocery shopping goes like that-TJs for Soy Milk, Spices, and Sugar-Whole Foods for Pasta, Tofu, Fake butter and sometimes canned tomatoes and to the farmers market for produce. I still get my eggs at the store, though. Except for today I handed over $4 to the Farmer for my eggs thanks to Food Inc.
I also made a pact to myself that it doesn’t matter if the produce or meat is organic if it’s not local. Therefore, I’m taking on a pseudo vegetarianism-I’ll only consume meat that I get from the Farmer’s Market. I had a good conversation today with the farmer who sold me my brisket ($14 for 3/4 lb) that I’m making for Hanukkah. I will admit-buying from the Farmer’s Market seems like it’s more expensive. $4 eggs, $2lb apples, $4lb brussel sprouts, $5 bread BUUUT when you think about the fact that the $3 eggs I normally buy or the $4 bread has to travel sometimes across the country to make it onto the grocery store shelf-it makes me think. Why buy Organic Gala Apples from inside Whole Foods Market “grown in Washington” for $1.99 a pound when I can get Gala Apples from a farmer upstate for just about the same price?
Seasonal Foods are just as important as Local Foods, right? I saw some amazing looking Strawberries today but they were from South America. I mean, who cares if they’re organic if they’re getting flown across two continents?
If you haven’t seen the film-you can watch it instantly on Netflix-I’m not going to go into the specifics of the film, one ranting blog from a more educated food consumer will not do it justice. You should definitely watch it and you’ll find that it’s not only eye-opening but how terribly heart-breaking and completely fucked up our food system is.
More and more, as my rights as a gay black woman, as heath care continues to suffer, as our government lies to us about our food and how to have babies the idea of moving to another country gets more appealing. I made a joke after prop 8 passed that it was time to brush up on my French and move to Quebec. It’s a big little city just north of the US-therefore relatively close to my parents. I’m just sayin’-Watch the Film.