A new documentary hit the scene this week. In Organic We Trust takes a look beyond the organic label to see what it really takes to eat healthy and sustainably in this country. It’s a great, thought-provoking film. There were several takeaways, but three really stuck out to me. Three things that I didn’t know before about the food industry seemed worth sharing:
The film uncovered a truth about the food industry that I’d never considered before. The understanding of what happens to the pesticides that are deemed unsafe in the United States was eye opening. If a company is told their product isn’t safe for our crops here, they sell it to another country. Here’s the kicker, nearly 50% of our fruits and vegetables are shipped from these others countries – the ones that used the “unsafe” pesticides. Some are calling this the “circle of poison.” When it seems our government is actually looking out for us and sending some of these chemicals away, it never occurred to me how they’re just coming right back in our food supply. This highlight in the film was one of the best arguments for eating local.
Food stamps or SNAP can be used at fresh farmer’s markets. Surely you’ve heard how fresh produce is too expensive, especially from a farmers market, which is a valid argument for why those on assistance continue to buy processed, unhealthy items. However, the film pointed out a lesser known truth. There’s a bonus incentive project funded by private foundations, non-profit organizations, or local governments that allow SNAP dollars to be furthered at markets. Essentially SNAP dollars can be doubled with “in-market credit” or “bonus dollars.” Meaning, the government dollar goes further at the fresh market, making it easier for those in the program to get fresh, healthy food. This is not well known and it needs to be. If parents knew they could double their benefits at a farmers market, they might skip the canned fruit and buy fresh local peaches for their family instead.
Another topic that the film hit was the subject of school lunches. No need to explain that most of our kids are offered an awful option for lunch in school. School lunches are often low in nutrients and high in calories and fat. The film featured the Calhoun School and their chef, Chef Bobo. The school was serving common unhealthy lunches when the parents sought out a change. The chef faced the challenge of serving fresh, healthy meals on the same $3 a day budget that they paid the food service. The French Culinary Institute-trained chef overhauled the school lunches on the same budget. Today the children are eating gourmet, healthy meals and thriving. Watching the young kids explain how they love their “roasted lemon chicken” was heart warming. Then learning that Chef Bobo’s proteges are taking this same concept into the Bronx and other schools is inspiring. Better food at an affordable price is an option and every school needs to see this in action.
These are just three of the awesome topics In Organic We Trust hits on. The film became available On Demand on January 22, 2013. Get it, watch it and see how you can help make a change for real health in this country.