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DVD Review: Farmageddon

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Farmageddon is a movie that will make you think and hopefully outrage you. Everywhere you look there are stories about food safety, ecoli, dangerous things in food that shouldn’t be there, GMO foods, mad cow disease and a variety of other concerns. These concerns have led the government to try to tighten the reigns on farms and food producers. Many small farms and small food producers are concerned about this because they don’t feel that the same regulations that work for huge corporations are fair or applicable to small farmers.

Many of the food concerns happening today are occurring on the larger, factory farms. People have been eating locally for thousands of years. It’s really the healthiest way to eat. When you think about it, it only stands to reason that eggs from chickens raised in a small family chicken coop in the back yard will be infinitely safer and healthier than eggs raised in huge factory farms where chickens are packed together like sardines in cages inside huge buildings with no windows and no access to the healthy outdoors.

This movie was created after one mom was concerned about her sick child who suffered from allergies and asthma. She felt her child was cured completely by switching to raw milk, which is banned by the FDA in many places. The effects she saw encouraged her to introduce healthier foods into their diets. They began to avoid factory farmed foods tainted by antibiotics, steroids and GMO grains. She was distressed to find out that armed agents of the government were raiding small farms in her area for simply providing the foods that co-op members wanted to eat.

She felt that the government raids were done to crack down on the sale of raw milk. In a document titled Healthy People 2020, the FDA stated that they intend to “increase the number of states that have prohibited sale or distribution of unpasteurized dairy products.” This makes it increasingly harder to obtain raw dairy products. Thankfully, here in rural Vermont I can still purchase raw milk from small local farms but I know this isn’t the case in many states.

The health benefits of raw milk have been scientifically proven. Farms began to pasteurize milk as they grew larger and farms went from small and family owned to the huge factory farms we have today. The same level of cleanliness is just not present in huge factory farms. Many factory farms also feed grains to their cows that contain steroids and antibiotics. Small farms generally grass feed their cows, rotate pastures and are able to raise the cows in a much healthier and safer environment. Government agencies don’t differentiate between milk from factory farms and milk from small farms when requiring pasteurization.

Another concern the director presents is that some of the regulations and government raids were performed with the goal of controlling the local food supply and the local farmers. Living in Vermont, I well remember the local sheep farmers who had their entire flock and much of their farm implements and supplies confiscated when the government decided that their sheep were infected with mad cow disease. The Faillaces share their concerns and their story in this movie. They state that the government had test results stating their entire flock was free of the disease prior to destroying them all. They also talk about how they were threatened to be quiet and not share their story with the media by the government and what the results were when they did go to the media. They feel the entire raid and confiscation was done as a results of the FDA’s agribusiness sponsors and not for human safety as the government said it was.

The movie also addresses the concerns of this country’s growing problem with obesity and links it back to the heavily processed foods that most Americans are eating. Much of our foods today cannot be recreated in our kitchens and you can’t even pronounce many of the ingredients. Eating locally gets us back to eating healthier and it can address many health concerns. However, the government gets no funding from small local farmers like they do from huge agribusinesses.

If you’re not already aware of the issues surrounding our local food suppliers and the problems with some large agribusinesses, this will open your eyes. You absolutely cannot take the same rules that need to be applied to large factory farms and try to apply them to small local farms.

I’m a huge advocate for small, local farmers. I’ve never been a fan of government control of individuals. Do I think there needs to be some control over our food supply? Probably. Not everyone is ethical and makes good choices especially huge corporations. I don’t have an issue with inspections and health rules. However, I do have an issue with the government making regulations for no purpose other than to line their pockets and increase their control over our lives.

I love buying local and do it whenever I can. We raise our own ducks and chickens and grow some of our own veggies, fruits and herbs. At times, we buy raw milk from a small farm up the road and I use that to make some of our own cheese and yogurt. We support small local farmer’s markets during our short growing season in Vermont and I love having the ability to make these choices. I absolutely do not want the government deciding that I can’t do these things for no reason other than their own profit and it disgusts me that this is happening.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat entirely local or all natural but when I decide that I want to buy something local or all natural or raw, I want the ability to make that decision for myself just like the people in this film. The only farm crop that’s regulated more than raw milk is marijuana. Does that make sense to you? If that has you scratching your head, you’ll want to watch this movie. If it doesn’t have you scratching your head, you need to watch this movie. Think about it.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.