Farmageddon–Horrifying Exposé on How Big Government Controls Food (and everything else)

Two blogs in one day.  Wow.  I couldn’t resist.  Saw this notice about the movie Farmaggedon on my friend Matt Wireman’s Facebook feed.  Looks like a must-watch:

Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.

As if modern government isn’t big enough, intruding in seemingly every area of our lives.  It also is regulating farming, intimidating farmers, seeking to shut them down.  Consider what’s already been publicized about Monsanto (also see the excellent Food, Inc., which was as the business types say “an absolute game-changer” for me).  I’m not a hippie, or even a bohemian, but this sort of thing rubs me as good old-fashioned wrong.

Local, healthy, natural food is best.  It deserves to flourish.  It’s better for communities.  The government has far overextended its control of food, and what results is homogenized, bureaucratically-driven, unsustainable processes that kill small farms.  This isn’t a super-important cause, but it’s one worth considering–and supporting.

As is the “food revolution,” Jamie Oliver’s cause.  Why do we eat unnatural foods instead of natural foods?  Why are we knowingly contributing to disease and malnutrition in ourselves–and more importantly, our children?  Why do so many of us exercise great care in spiritual matters and then turn lazy when it comes to food?  Why do we allow ourselves a pass when it comes to food, which has the power to make us ill, cause permanent damage, and kill us? Why do we think the body is unimportant?  Check out Matthew Anderson’s fine new book, Earthen Vessels, for more on these and other matters related to the body.

  • Al Mather

    Interesting. Our local farmer’s market just started yesterday. I was there selling items not directly related to farming. Other than the cool, damp spring slowing things down, I get the impression that local farming is growing. (At least around here.) I hope it continues to do so.

    Important issue to remember when we vote.


  • Gabe

    Without a doubt there are cases where the government oversteps it’s bounds in the food industry. But the bottom line is that we better be thankful that the FDA and USDA regulates and oversees our food industry, as well as imported food coming into our country. If we didn’t have this, there would be a massive increase in food-bourne illnesses and deaths. I work in the food industry, the next time you fill up a shopping cart at the grocery store, you can partly thank the government for the fact that you don’t catch E. coli, listeria, or salmonella, or swallow a piece of broken glass or sharp metal.

    You said, “Local, healthy, natural food is best.” First off, local food doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Secondly, of course natural foods are more healthy than most processed foods. But don’t blame the government for unhealthy processed food. It’s Americans that want it, so the food industry gives us what we want. The government simply imposes regulations on the food industry to make sure we’re eating safe food. Not necessarily healthy, but safe to eat.

    Finally, 300 million people will not survive off small, local farms. That’s why we have an enormous food industry.

  • owenstrachan

    Some good points, Gabe. Appreciate the critical thinking. I’m glad to not have diseases in food. I didn’t say all regulation was bad, for the record: “The government has far overextended” its reach, I said. I would suggest that it’s not merely “Americans who want it,” but that big government advocates drive this sort of thing.

    I prefer regulations to protect consumers but would turn such oversight over to the states rather than the federal government.

    300 million people could survive off a different system than we currently have. It would take a lot of them, to be sure. Incentives are low for this sort of thing. Certainly some larger farms are needed.

    Al, I think you’re right. Local farming is growing in places. That’s great.

    • Gabe

      Thanks Owen. I haven’t watch the movie but the first quote just seems flat-out wrong:

      “Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack.”

      I just don’t see how this is true at all. I can go in any grocery store in America and almost any fast food restuarant and buy healthy food. Healthy food is available if we want it. But Americans for most part don’t like eating healthy food. Whatever the demand is, the food industry supplies. Maybe the makes a compelling argument, but that statement is misleading.

  • owenstrachan

    Hi Gabe. I’ll have to disagree. Watch the Farmageddon trailer, and watch Food, Inc. if you haven’t. Both sustain what I said. I was of course speaking in the context of my comment about those films. I’m not suggesting that every farm everywhere is in such danger; that’s flatly not true. But the footage about Monsanto in Food Inc is chilling. It shows that farmers who do not use the Monsanto seed very much are under attack.

    Appreciate the exchange.

  • Patrick Schreiner

    This is a tough debate. Really I don’t know where I stand on the issue. But here are a couple of comments from a novice.

    First, the movies are pushing an agenda, and therefore one sided. That does not mean there is no truth in them, it is just that they probably don’t explain the other side very well. I watch those movies and take what they say with a grain of salt.

    Second, we need those kind of movies so that the government does not overstep. It is watch-dog journalism at its best.

    Third, some things grown locally are better simply because they are more fresh, but not everything. In the realm of economics it is actually better to have a bigger buying field which drives prices down. I think Jay Richards said he buys some things locally like fresh tomatoes because they are more fresh, but then other things at Walmart.

    At the end of the day I am thankful to live in the most prosperous times in history. This can be attributed to both the hard work of local farmers, and the industrialization that swept this country.

  • owenstrachan

    Good thoughts, buddy. Great book on this whole deal: Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Tracks how one family tuned into their local food community and how nicely it went.

    Just to be clear, I was talking about events contained in the Farmageddon doc and the Food Inc doc. I wasn’t making an apology for buying everything locally; my own family doesn’t. Companies like Monsanto, though, really are doing something I think is harmful in our food economy. Watch Food Inc if you are inclined to disagree.

    Also, Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me and Jamie Oliver’s tv show have had an impact on me. Michael Pollan makes a good case for natural, often local food in his books.

    Good dialogue here. Appreciate the sharpening.