Not many people know or care where their food comes from, which is why the directors of Food Inc. set out to expose the truth behind the food industry in America. The directors were able to lift the corporate veil of the major food corporations; exposing to the world the brutal truths behind how they run their businesses, cutting corners and tainting our food supply so that they are as efficient and profitable as possible. The first segment which compares the chicken farmers Vince Edwards and Carole Morison, who are both on contract with major companies, shows the audience that how we perceive modern-day farmers is actually very different from the harsh reality of what they do. The segment “In the Grass” then directly contrasts with that of the corporate farmers by showing how a true farmer, Joel Salatin, runs and operates his whole farm without hiding anything. Joel and a handful of workers are able to produce food all naturally without cutting any corners or using any sort of assembly line machinery and yet are just as efficient as the major companies. The directors use the differences between how the major food corporations raise and process their animals and crops to that of an all naturally organic farmer to convince the audience that the industrialization of the food market is dangerously inhuman and increasingly less naturally wholesome.
A nice day out, beautiful areal views, good music and a happy farmer driving in his truck with his dogs, all lead the audience to believe that Vince Edwards is what we believe to be an actual farmer. The audience soon finds out that he simply owns a couple chicken coops and that he isn’t really a farmer at all, but a mere pawn in Tyson’s corner of the food industry. These oversized chicken coops are nothing like a good old-fashioned barn on a farm where you raise chicken, they are mechanized factories where Vince manufacture’s chickens. He admits that his chickens never see the light of day and that “it’s all a science, Tyson’s got it figured out. If you can grow a chicken in 49 days, why would you want one you can grow in 3 months? More money in your pocket.” The directors include this to convince the audience that all these food corporations care about is profitability. These food corporations are choosing to sacrifice all the nutritional value of our food for an increase in revenue. Food corporations feed the chickens that we are eating all sorts of growth hormones to make them grow as fast as physically possible in terrible conditions and then give them antibiotics to help make sure their terrible living conditions don’t affect their health. This followed by the fact that Tyson representatives wouldn’t allow the directors to see inside the coops, even though Vince was willing to show them around, raises concerns. Tyson does not want people to see how their product is produced because they realized once people see the horrible conditions that these chickens are raised in, that they will be reluctant to buy Tyson products next time they see them on the shelves. That is exactly the effect the directors want Food Inc. to have on consumers, to lift the corporate veil in front of these large corporations to show people the honest truth about their food.
The directors of Food Inc. weren’t about to let Tyson’s representatives stop them from exposing the brutal truths behind the food corporations and getting a look inside one of these coops. So, after visiting 11 different farmers, they finally met up with a farmer who was willing to give them what they wanted. This is where the segment takes a dramatic turn towards reality. Instead of playing happy music, showing nice scenery and a farmer who is trying to protect his contract, the directors bring the audience to the run down farm of Purdue chicken farmer Carole Morison. Carole was told not to allow the directors access into her coops but she is so fed up with corporations and how they conduct their business that she feels something needs to be done and that people should know the truth about their food. The living conditions of these chickens inside the coop are absolutely terrible; there is dust, feces, and dead chickens on the ground. This is not the sort of place consumers what their food coming from. She even admits that “this is not farming; this is mass production like an assembly line in a factory.” Carole has come to realize that what they are producing in these coops are no longer the all natural, free range, nutritiously wholesome chickens that people should be eating. The genetic modification of these chickens is inhumane to the point that the chickens can’t even walk because the hormones make grow bigger and faster then their bone structure can handle. The graphic images inside these coops and getting to witness how our food supply
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After exposing the audience the inhumane and economically efficient way food corporations mass produce food, the directors bring the audience to the all naturally organic farm of Joel Salatin. Polyface Farms is completely different from all the other farms shown in this documentary in the sense that it is actually a farm and not a factory. The beautiful views of this farm consist of big fields of crops and large grassy pastures with chicken, pork, and cattle roaming and grazing freely. It is evident that this is the way farming should be and yet it is the direct opposite of how the large corporations are going about it. There are no hormones, chemicals, antibiotics or anything un-natural present on Joel’s farm, everything is naturally raised out in the fresh air of the pastures and pens eating what nature intended for them. There is no use for masks and walls around Joel’s farm because he has nothing to hide and there is nothing in his farming process he needs to protect himself from. This segment shows how true farming should be; the directors use Joel in order to prove to the audience that there is still nutritious food out there, and where to find it. As both a viewer and a consumer, it is refreshing to see that there are still farmers like Joel who have managed to keep their integrity by not cutting any of the corners the major food companies have and still produce food humanely and naturally. By buying products produced by farmers like Joel we are not only eating healthier but we are taking the profits away from the major food corporations. This forces them to change the way they produce their food, to be more wholesome for the consumer and more humanly for the farmers and animals alike.
The directors of Food Inc. set out to expose all the dirty secrets the food corporations keep from consumers and by doing so, help convince viewers that what they are buying in supermarkets is no longer the fresh meats or produce that use to come from the all-natural farm in the town over. By lifting the corporate veil and raising awareness directors can only hope that after viewing this documentary consumers will make an effort to support local
farmers such as Joel from Polyface Farms. I think they are satisfied though knowing that people now know where their food is coming from and that they need to make more conscious decisions when choosing their next meal.
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