The Film ‘Ingredients’ Is a Peek at a Better Food Future E-mail
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 00:00  |  Written by Rick Theis | Review

'Ingredients' Film Poster (detail) photo courtesy of the FilmmakersMajor changes are coming to the way we eat. And I don’t mean the dystopia of irradiated, cloned and genetically engineered food-like substances. Yes, that's where agribusiness super-capitalists want to take us. But the intersecting facts of increasing food-borne disease and decreasing oil supply will mean just the opposite, according to Ingredients, a gently powerful film.

This 67-minute documentary, written and directed by Robert Bates, crisscrosses the country to report on the local food movement and is persuasive in its thesis that this burgeoning culture is our future. What makes this inevitable, according to the film, is that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are causing worse and more frequent outbreaks of disease (e.g., e coli spread via scallions, spinach and peanut butter during the last few years). This, in conjunction with skyrocketing energy prices thanks to peak oil, will force most food exchange to return to the local level.

Ingredients makes a convincing case that this is not only inevitable, but all for the good. Local food means produce that is fresher, more nutritious, less chemical laden and better tasting. And dozens of testimonials are served up to support its case. Restaurateur Alice Waters, for example, represents one of the most widespread restaurant trends of the last decade: local food sourcing. We also hear from farmers that the local food movement has renewed their connection with the land and almost singlehandedly led to the resurgence of family farms. We even see how kids, who’ve never met a vegetable they liked, do a 180-degree turn after visiting a farm or growing their own.

Among the film's eye-opening revelations are these:

  • Just four or five companies control nearly the entire world’s food supply.
  • One in three children born in 2000 will eventually have diabetes.
  • The new generation will be the first in US history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
  • Currently it takes 10 calories of energy to produce one calorie of food.
  • US food imports have increased four-fold in the past decade, with very little government inspection (e.g., in 2006, less than 2% of Chinese food imports were sampled).
  • This is the only country that spends more on medicine than food. (One interviewee observed, “You can pay the doctor or pay the farmer.”)

The documentary also covers community-supported agriculture (CSA), biodynamic wine and organics. It’s certainly worth watching if you’d like to know what’s wrong with the way we now get our food, why we will all be eating local sooner or later, and how you can expedite the process for your family and the world.

Additional film reviews:
‘Cool It’ Film Review: The Devil Is in the Details
The Film ‘Farmageddon’ Says It’s 1984 for Small Farmers
Green Movies: The Best Environmental Fictional Feature Films
Green Films: The Best Environmental Documentaries

Additional resources:
The Future of Food Production
Think Global, Munch Local
Swine Flu and CAFOs: Mum’s the Word
Eco Restaurants: I’ll Have Sustainability With a Side of Localization
Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable Eco Wines

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