Sunday, November 9, 2014

Exploration 6

It is always the case that when you have too much of something it can become a problem. Convenience in the food industry is no different. A huge problem with the American food industry as it sits today is in the fact that everything is run by large corporations, striving for convenience to maximize profit. In the documentary "Fresh" attention was brought to the problems these big business choke holds are adding to the market, and what more traditional farmers have done to fight back. With interviews and monologue from a variety of sources from natural hog farmers, to professional author and journalist, Michael Pollan Fresh provided significant evidence to back their claims.With credible sources and a clear message "Fresh" was a well put together film that brought light to many topics that not everyone may be aware of.

Using a variety of credible sources Fresh was able to convey its message of the problems arising in the food industry very effectively. A key source used throughout the film is Michael Pollan. Pollan is a critically acclaimed author, who has written several books on the topic of the food industry in America making him a credible resource. He has also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a Professor of Journalism at University of California Berkley Graduate School for Journalism. An attribute that makes Fresh a well put together documentary is that it also provides sources from people who are right in the heart of the active fight against industrial food production. Fresh introduces one farmer named Russ Kremer who tells his story of a near death experience after being infected by a pig, and the story of how he converted to more traditional ways of farming as a result of his experience. Russ' story allows for a first hand introduction to an important problem caused by conventional farming, disease.

A huge problem that was briefly discussed in Fresh was that of antibiotic resistant disease. Antibiotic resistant disease is when disease is able to survive after being exposed to one or more antibiotics. When animals become confined into monocultures the risk and occurrence of disease increases significantly. With such high disease rates, farmers must use large amounts of antibiotics in order to keep their livestock alive. Increased use of antibiotics in these animals has allowed for specific diseases to be able to mutate and evolve into a pathogen that is incurable with the antibiotics that farmers typically would use. A number of antibiotics have even been banned in most countries due to the severity of risk involved in the development of antibiotic resistant disease with use of those drugs. With non conventional farming techniques the risk for these antibiotic resistant diseases is reduced a lot. As non conventional farmer George Naylor puts it "all these diseases are nature screaming to us "enough"". With the increase of resistant disease in livestock the spread of resistant disease to humans has also increased. With this problem has come a market for "antibiotic free" foods but this market is small and unlikely to change due to entrenched industry wide practices involved in industrial farming.

In the documentary Michael Pollan says "Cheap food is an illusion". In saying this Pollan is bringing up the point that, like most things, you get what you pay for in the food industry. In essence this quote sums up a major theme of the film. Industrial food production has allowed for food to be made cheaper and quicker, however it comes at the cost of the consumers health. Industrial farming has allowed for increase in disease and also compromises the quality of the food we eat. Fresh shows examples of more traditional ways of farming as well as the benefits of doing so which allows for a solution to the growing problem of industrial farming. As consumers if we show willingness to pay a little more for our food then we can slow the problematic ways of industrial farming an allow for better quality in our food as well as a lessen the impact on the environment caused by unnatural growing practices.

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