Food, Inc., was just nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category. It’s been hailed as one of the best films of the year as filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA.
Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking— truths about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. Last week, Oprah's studio audience watched the documentary before a one hour show focused on how the food we eat gets to the kitchen table. We chatted with one of the film’s producers, Elise Pearlstein, about the making of the film and why it’s so important:
MindBodyGreen: What inspired the making of Food, Inc and your involvement?
Elise Pearlstein: Filmmaker Robert Kenner was inspired to make Food, Inc. after reading Eric Schlosser’s groundbreaking book Fast Food Nation. It took a number of years before Food, Inc. found a home at Participant Media, the company behind An Inconvenient Truth among other important films. When Robby mentioned the project to me, I was immediately interested and wanted to get involved. I’m also a huge fan of Eric’s book, and have explored food issues in other documentaries.
MBG: Has the movie affected your grocery shopping? Where do you shop?
EP: I shop at farmers markets whenever I can. I always loved the experience of going to the farmers market, but now I have a greater urgency to support local farmers, and to talk about what they do. I also like to shop at Trader Joe’s, for one because they tell you where their produce comes from so you can make informed decisions about what you buy.
MBG: What’s the biggest misconception that Americans have about food?
EP: Most Americans think that their food still comes from a little farm with a red barn and a white picket fence. It makes sense because that image in perpetuated by the companies themselves. It’s on all of the packaging. If Americans really saw where they food comes from, they’d be shocked at how far from the idyllic farm it really is.