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The Food Industry Is Not A Villain

food-inc-poster.jpg Yesterday, my sister texted me while sitting in her Social Problems class at South Dakota State University (SDSU). She asked me, "Have you seen the movie, Food, Inc.?" I told her I had, and she said she had been assigned to write a reaction paper on the documentary. What did she think? She didn't like it. As the documentary explores conventional agriculture, it doesn't always portray farmers and ranchers in the best light. At times, this sensational video painted the food industry as the villain, which was hard for her to sit through. In fact, many of her classmates walked out of the classroom, refusing to watch another minute of the film.

Without a doubt, the agriculture industry was pretty worked up when this documentary came out in 2008. Many saw it as an attack on farmers and ranchers. Food, Inc. created such a wave that the debate over its merits continues today. Below are two videos discussing the documentary. In the first video, Robert Kenner, Food Inc. producer/director, talks about his experiences working with agriculturalists in producing the film. In the second video, Tom Nagle discusses the misconceptions out there regarding conventional ag production that must be corrected. Take a minute to view these videos, and leave your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

Here are two quotes about Food Inc. to get the conversation started:

Food, Inc. Producer/Director Robert Kenner (The Making of Food, Inc.): "I was also surprised how much information, as consumers, we were denied, and that really bothered me. I think what I'm finding now is they (ranchers) are much more interested in sharing ideas. I'm learning a lot from them, as well. I think it's important for everybody to get engaged in this conversation. I didn't choose (this project) because I'm a food activist. I just thought this would be an interesting conversation about how we feed the world. Unfortunately, so much of the industry that I wanted to talk to didn't want to talk to me, but I'm now finding a much greater openness. I'm very appreciative of that."

Tom Nagle, managing partner at Statler Nagle LLC (Truths and Misperceptions About The Food Industry) "There are people who think food is the essential element propelling obesity, and that's just untrue. There are a lot of factors that contribute toward obesity. The food industry has been painted as the villain, and we don't get enough credit in this industry for the positive role we have taken to help address consumers' concerns about obesity."