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Food Inc. unsurprising but powerfully presented

July 27th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Food in the news, Food selection

challengeIf you’re interested in food and you’ve been paying attention the last few years, you probably won’t see much in Food Inc. that will surprise you. I didn’t when I saw it yesterday. Still, I came away impressed, as Food Inc. ladles out the bad food news—the illnesses, the abuses, the power—making it more powerful than the usual drip, drip, drip of bad food news.

We’ll see whether this movie makes the slop bucket finally overflow and provokes widespread public outrage. In the meantime, though, we have choices that can make a difference to curb these powerful sources. To that end, I’d like to make a challenge and offer a modest prize.

Food for change challenge

To make things simple the challenge asks only if you can go a week, let’s say Aug. 3-Aug. 9, without consuming from two food categories:

  • Supermarket meat, poultry, dairy, eggs or fish. By “supermarket” I mean the ordinary stuff you’ll find that makes no claims to be local or pasture-raised or wild-caught. Organic (even if industrial organic) is OK. If it says “no additives,” that doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t count. This will be easy if you’re a vegan or if you’re in the habit of eating this way anyway.
  • High-fructose corn syrup. This will be really tough if you use prepared foods of any kind. It seems to be in everything.

How to win

You can either:

  • Post a comment on at the end of the week (I’ll put up a reminder), or
  • Write a post on your own blog and send me the link via the comment form. I’ll list all the posts together on so that everybody can go read them.

Whichever way you “report,” tell your story: What you learned, what was easy, what was hard, what tips you have for others who want to try this. The person writing the most compelling (how’s that for subjective?) story wins.

The prize

lbshirt I’ll send the winner this fine Local Burger shirt, graciously donated by Hilary Brown, the Local Burger owner. (Disclosure: Hilary just hired me for a small writing project.)

It’s a real shirt, not your average T-shirt. It’s a women’s size large, although I’d probably call it medium, and, true to the Local Burger ethic, it’s made from organic cotton.

Shirt back reads "Fast food never felt so good!"I think this challenge will be easy for me, but we’ll see. I’ll post a reminder this coming weekend that Monday, August 3, is the start. Will you join me? For you Lawrence residents, it will be a nice warm-up to the Community Mercantile’s Eat Local Challenge Aug. 16-29. (That’s the back of the shirt at the bottom, left.)

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer (Baklava Queen)

    Janet, your timing is superb. August 2-9 is National Farmers’ Market Week, so what better way to support the farmers’ market than to take this challenge and go shopping for the good stuff? :-)

  • Susan G.

    So what if we have a supermarket (Hen House) that goes to a lot of trouble to feature and promote local (maybe regional) products over and above the regular supermarket fare. Should that be avoided if it’s not organicl?

    High fructose corn syrup won’t be quite so hard for us. About 3 years ago I started making a conscientious effort to stop buying as many things as possible that use it, such as regular peanut butter vs. natural peanut butter. Or many juices, cookies, lots of breads. Wow, the list goes on and on. I may buy some of those items occasionally, but I know what’s in them.

    I like this challenge but not sure I can get the better half on board!

  • The Frugal Hostess

    The Frugal Hostess is going to come out of her usual third person voice to say – I love that you’re doing this! My husband and I started in the summer of 2007, after I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Your local farmer’s market makes all the difference in how difficult this challenge is, but I promise you will taste the difference, especially in grass-fed beef.

  • Janet Majure

    Jennifer–I didn’t even think of that. Good point! yea!

    Susan–I think the meat/dairy/chicken that Hen House gets locally don’t count as regular supermarket fare. As to the “better half,” just don’t tell him! (And don’t let him use any supermarket salad dressing or BBQ sauce or the like.)

    Frug-ess–Thanks! Hope you’ll join us. :)