| By now, you've heard and read all about the most important movie of the year. PublicAffairs' newly released companion book to Food, Inc. contains over a dozen essays expanding on topics covered in the film, and lists of action steps we can take towards improving our food system and, ultimately, our environment and our lives. Contributors include Marion Nestle, Anna Lappe, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and Joel Salatin, amongst others.
The book opens up with Eric Schlosser taking us back about 15 years to the beginning of his own journalistic involvement in food issues, up until where we find ourselves now; after which filmmaker Robert Kenner describes how Food, Inc. came together, sharing personal anecdotes and background stories from the process of making the film. From there we head on into the second part of the book, the "meat" (if you will) of our story - essays covering topics ranging from organics to GMOs to ethanol, and from climate change to the abuse and exploitation of farm workers by agribusiness. Standouts in this section include a piece by Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association laying out a strong case against GMOs, and United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez' piece describing the many ways in which 'cheap' food in our current system comes at the expense of those sweating, bleeding, being exposed to toxic chemicals and sometimes dying right there in the fields, with little to no legal protections, while living and working in appalling conditions.
The book closes with pieces focusing on what we can do, with the American Community Gardening Association offering "Ten Steps To Starting a Community Garden" in your neighborhood, and Joel Salatin offering guidance on how to "opt out" of the industrial food system and take charge of our future. Previously published essays from Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle also appear in this section. The essays in this guide are well written and easily accessible, and while there may be nothing new to the activists amongst us here, they will certainly be of help to the ever-increasing number of those new to our movement, helping them further along their own paths towards a good food future. This book is another useful tool in spreading our message beyond just the screens playing this film. A good book to gift, or to "accidentally" leave with a friend or relative you think may just need a little bit more prodding.