June 26 2009, 9:49 AM
If you eat, then you must see Food, Inc., which opens at the Mayan, Esquire, and Chez Artiste theaters on Saturday. This revealing look at our nation's food system is one of the most important movies you'll see all year. Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, authors of The Ominovore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, respectively, narrate the film as it tracks food from gleaming grocery store aisles back to its origins in ghastly feed lots, over-stuffed chicken coops, and miles of pesticide-rich fields. The underbelly of the mechanized food industry is exposed. Part of my job entails understanding this multifaceted industry, and even I was taken aback by the insidiousness and callousness of the handful of companies that control our food. This is no American dream. But just as you feel kicked in the stomach, filmmaker Robert Kenner introduces farmers, ranchers, and individuals who are passionate about doing things right. They grow organic produce, raise happy pigs, treat their dairy cows with a combination of awe and respect--they have a conscience, and their businesses are thriving. Near the end of the film, Kenner also offers simple, daily solutions--don't eat asparagus in December, shop farmers' markets, buy organic--that can add up and effect real change. We do, after all, eat at least three times a day. Think of eating as voting, and realize how much power you--all of us--have.