Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where's the (natural) beef?!

This post is dedicated to our beautiful daughter who went to bed crying tonight after watching just ten minutes of the Academy-Award-nominated documentary Food, Inc. (video embedded below) which, by the way, is a darned solid production that artfully ties many established agri-business facets togther in a cohesive and resonant whole. 

My post-film question to Cayley was, "NOW do you understand why I drive 60 miles and spend hundreds of dollars per trip at Whole Foods?" but she was really too upset at that point to discuss it. 

So what I thought I'd do instead is make a list of all the things we do to (a) buy food from producers that treat animals fairly and the environment responsibly, and (b) the flip-side of that coin, which is to minimize the amount of our money that gets into Monsanto's hands which, in my personal opinion (the one that I'm entitled to express by virtue of it being free speech and all that), is the devil incarnate.


- 95% of our ground beef comes ONLY from Whole Foods.  In a pinch, we'll buy Laura's Lean Beef and if a better product appears in the market, I'll switch.  I will NOT buy conventional ground beef. 

- 95% of the chicken we buy comes from a local Halal producer.  I haven't done the research but I suspect that those chickens are fed with Monsanto corn and if I could find a reasonable source of organic or near-organic, I would substitute it. 

- 95% of all bread comes from Whole Foods and most of its components are organic.  We didn't customize a special slot in this house for that 20-cubic-food freezer for nothing.  Whole Foods' bread frozen is better than any store-bought bread unfrozen, IMHO.

- 90% of sausage and bacon products come from one of Whole Foods' responsible producers.  I'm still looking for a responsible Canadian bacon producer. 

- 100% of our milk is organic. 

- 100% of our spaghetti sauces are organic.

-100% of our rice is Organic Texmati grown in Alvin Texas (about 15 miles from here).

- 95% of our snack chips are non-GMO organic (I admit a weakness for Flamin' Hot Cheetos but I only spend about ten bucks a year on them)

- As many canned goods as possible are organic.  I sure wish the Bush company would produce organic beans, because they are a staple we haven't seen fit to give up.

- The only syrup we use is 100% maple syrup.

- 100% of the juices I buy have no added sugars (we'll forgive Lawrence his Gatorade but even that has no corn syrup - we buy the zero-calorie stuff).

- 90% of breakfast cereals are organic.

- 100% of mac 'n' cheese and several other instant products are Amy's organic


- I go out of my way to buy every possible organic product at Walmart, just to do my small part to stimulate them into supporting responsible agriculture, because if The Giant doesn't get on board, nothing will change.  Small part?  It's probably several thousand dollars per year I spend, so it's not nothing.  And Walmart has significantly changed its buying habits in the past several years, so I must not be alone - their buying decisions are driven entirely by consumer demand.

- Of course there are no junk-food chain restaurants that we patronize, ever (Subway doesn't count... yeah, I know, probably not the best, but one has to eat away from home when the situ calls for it).

- We minimize the amount that we spend eating out, and we often eat the best products we can from restaurants that demonstrate some connection to the community, when we DO go out.

Anyway, I hope at some point that our little Chinnamma will read this and realize that, despite the grotesque imperfections in our world, we are doing something, literally putting our money where our mouths are, to oppose the types of conditions that led to the disturbing images she saw in the documentary, of which here's a snippet:

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