At dinner last night, as we were enjoying our grass-fed beef cheese steaks, the girls started discussing the importance of knowing exactly what your food is and where it comes from. As a family we try to source our food locally by doing things like joining CSAs and buying co-ops. Our beef last night was purchased through a buying club run by a farm about three hours from our house. We have visited that farm twice to see the animals, camp and swim in their creek. We also purchase chicken, eggs and cheese from them.
As the discussion went on we discussed the living conditions of animals, the feed they consume and how that affects the meat and eggs we eat. Mid way through the discussion my 6-year-old got it and talked about the effects of a chicken’s feed on the eggs that we ultimately eat. Then as the discussion waned they started asking if they could watch TV to which I replied. I’ve got a great movie for you so the three of sat and watched Food Inc.
If you’ve never seen the movie you should. It discusses the current state of the food industry and how our reliance on fast food has changed the food industry and created factory farming. There are not only stories of the inhumane treatment of animals, their dirty unhealthy living conditions but stories of the unethical business practices of the various agriculture industries. There are stories of farmers for chicken companies who no longer have control over their chickens or their farms. Who are so in debt due to the companies that they can’t stop or opt out even if they wanted to.
We watch the movie, paused it, discussed and had a great dialog about food, where it comes from, why it’s important to know and what we can do as a family. I told them that we had the power, not the companies, that as consumers we are the ones that can decide to purchase or not purchase their products and that if enough people do that things change. That by buying from local organic farms we are supporting our local economy and the people in our community.
I also explained to them that when we go to restaurants we are choosing to eat foods that are manufactured produced similar to the way the we saw on the movie. This is because we have very few choices when it comes to local restaurants serving local or organic food but we are lucky enough to have two and we frequent them often. Even though we choose to frequent establishments that don’t server local organic foods we go in knowing what we’re getting, which is very important. I think after last night though they’ll be asking to go out less and eat at home more often.