May 24 2010

King Corn

To be honest, this DVD started out as a yawn. Part of it was probably my fault because I came to the viewing experience with high expectations.

Somewhere mid-film it took a nice turn. The focus turned from the film’s two creators desire to grow corn (not a lot actually goes into the growing of corn thanks to modern technology),

and moved onto the negative impact the current corn growing process has on our health and the environment.

Most of the corn grown in this country is not actually grown for human consumption in it’s pure form.

About half the grain grown in the U.S. is used to feed livestock. Livestock who are supposed to be eating grass!

As a result, cows are becoming obese, developing ulcers and living a miserable existence.

Also contributing to this atrocious situation is the fact that cattle are now more likely to be living in confined “feedlots” rather than roaming freely, eating grass.

Corn is also grown to make high fructose corn syrup.

High fructose corn syrup is in soda, juices, chips, breads, cereals, crackers…….basically it’s in an insane amount of processed food.

HFCS is thought to be a leading contributor to the rise in diabetes in this country.

When you go to a fast food restaurant (and I hope you never do), you’re pretty much eating corn.

The beef comes from corn fed cows, the bread and ketchup have HFCS and the fries were likely fried in some derivative of corn.

The government is encouraging all of this by giving large farms subsidies in a way that makes it difficult for small family farms to survive.

While the larger government subsidized farms are producing inedible crops which are leading to the obesity epidemic in this country, the small family farms are closing after generations.

So, what’s one to do?

It’s actually pretty simple. Don’t eat processed foods and if you consume meat, purchase grass-fed beef.

Not only is grass-fed beef kinder to the environment and the cattle, it also contains significantly less saturated fat than corn-fed beef.

It always seems to come back to the same thing doesn’t it?

Grow as much as you can yourself, cook your own food and make environmentally friendly choices, like buying locally.

Only about 10% of the fossil fuel energy used in the world’s food system is used in production; the other 90% goes into packaging, transportation, and marketing.

–Geoff Tansey and Tony Worsley, 1995

I highly recommend this movie.  Are the first 20-30 minutes necessary? No, but after that you will learn a lot, and likely not want another steak.

It even got my beef-loving husband to ponder turning in his steak knife.

I’m not going to get too excited because this epiphany also occurred after watching Food, Inc., but one can hope.


Don’t forget to pass along all this info to the kids! Getting them educated and involved is how we will end this craziness.

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