Monday, June 15, 2009

Summertime, and the living is easy...

Summer is about lightness and being; paperback novels on the beach;blockbuster movies and popcorn, and far niente... If, however, you would rather your brain not turn entirely to mush this summer, may I suggest two hard hitting documentaries out on dvd to get your grey matters churning?

The World According to Monsanto
is a French-Canadian collaboration that brings to light the ugly truth about big agri-business. While the documentary deals exclusively with Monsanto, any other agro-chemical supplier could have been the subject: BASF, Cargill, ConAgra, etc...
The current financial crisis has brought to light the fact that big capitalism does not work. Yet governments are busy trying to save failing banks and car companies, while more and more people go hungry. Meanwhile, companies like Monsanto are holding farmers hostage. The very farmers who are supposed to feed us.
Proponents of organic and sustainable agriculture have long said that GMOs and large-scale monocultures will not bring about the end of famine: wherever you stand on this issue, you cannot help but see that Monsanto is like any other multi-national corporation. Profit is all they have on the brain.


The German documentary Our Daily Bread bares visual witness to the state of modern agriculture and food production. Completely devoid of any commentary or background music, you are left to your own devices to make sense of what you are watching. It's a definite eye opener. It might not change your purchasing or eating habits, but it will make you think.
A word of warning: it is not for the faint of heart. The abattoir shots are as real as they get. No, this is not some devious plan to push you to become a vegetarian (I wouldn't dare!).
Our Daily Bread totally adheres to the old adage 'a picture says a thousand words'. My mind was churning with all kinds of issues: the environment, food sovereignty, soil conservation, Man's survival...
A word of warning, the following clip can be disturbing, so do click on play unless you are ready to change your dinner plans.


The bottom line is that all these issues are intertwined, and we have to stop considering them as separate entities. If we want to survive as a species, we drastically have to curb the destruction of our environment. If we want to feed our ever growing populations, we have to become true stewards of the land. We might not all want to write to our governments to get a move on, we might not want (or have the means) to start an organic garden, but we can all encourage small farmers and food artisans by buying local, buying fresh.

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