If you watched the Future of Food (see Corn Maven's review), chances are you found yourself tearing up over the plight of Percy Schmeiser, the independent farmer who was sued by GM corporation goliath, Monsanto.
Not GM as in General Motors, although in my opinion their practices are just as horrifying. Monsanto is GM as in genetically modified -- and chances are you've been eating it all up. Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser for growing rapeseed (also known as canola) that was genetically modified, as a result of Monsanto's seeds blowing into his crop.
Joseph Heller, eat your heart out.
Not exactly light entertainment. My husband, E. Ho, did not want to watch the movie with me. It had arrived from Netflix about two weeks ago, but everytime I wanted to watch it he made a sound that was between a whine and a moan. Finally I asked him: "Are you ever going to watch it with me?"
"I don't know," he said. "I don't really want to watch it."
"Well, I don't think it's fair that I had to watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith with you but you won't watch this one."
"You liked Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
"Not really." He looked at me. "Okay fine, but I didn't really want to watch it."
He sighed. "I'm sorry, but I don't really want to watch Future of Food."
"Because it might change my life."
After arguing about how many movies we had each reluctantly watched over the course of the entire relationship (everyone's an accountant), I finally won him over to my side. Well, not really. But we watched it anyway.
It was a Saturday, which is the day I like to go to the downtown Austin Farmer's Market. However, this Saturday I was going to the Austin City Limits music festival, and the idea of the sun beating down on my head for an extra hour was not appealing. Before we sat down to watch the movie, I asked him if he'd be willing to go. "That's not really my thing," he said.
It was true. I'd started this whole Ethicurean eating business slowly and in increments. My hubby was more than happy with our change in eating habits -- he dropped ten pounds without having to work out, we were saving money by not eating out as much and besides, we were eating like kings.
I didn't want to start a new discussion in which I was leaning on him to do something. "That's okay," I said. "I'll go to Boggy Creek Farm on Wednesday."
We didn't speak once during the movie, which is how E. Ho prefers it anyway, since I have an apparently annoying habit of talking over key dialogue. The reason we didn't speak is because we were so shocked and moved by the information we were getting. Holy shit. This is something I've learned from college: When you start thinking things are bad, and you start learning about them, you discover that they're much, much worse. Poverty? Corruption? Human rights abuses? We only see the tip of the iceberg.
However, the thing that struck me most about the documentary was the underlying current of hope -- that we have the power to change what we put in our bodies, and that we do that by educating ourselves, slowly and patiently. Choosing what we eat can be a political act, and a powerful one at that.
After the movie, E. Ho stood up and asked, "What time does the farmer's market close?"
"Um, I think in an hour."
"I'm going," he said. "We're not eating that crap anymore." It was all I could do to discourage him from emptying our remaining high-fructose corn syrup items from the cupboard. Then I thought, "Why? Why not let him dump everything in the garbage? What else are we going to do with it? Would it be fucked up to donate it to a food bank?" Maybe we'll have a HFCS ceremony sometime soon. Most of that stuff hasn't been touched for months. Maybe we'll take pictures of it and list the ingredients. It will be like a confession, like an exorcism.
The really great thing was that when he came back from his shopping trip, he had bought things I might not have bought myself. Tiny little bell peppers and tiny little red onions. Some yummy summer squash and red okra. German sausage in addition to the Italian hot sausage that I always get from Full Quiver Farms. That evening, I started taking out the food he had purchased to start dinner.
"What are you doing?"
"I was gonna cook."
"You don't want me to cook?"
"Well," he said, "I kinda wanted to cook all the new stuff I bought."
Being an Ethicurean family is flippin' sweet.