Mama Controls The Food Dollars

This is what is just on the other side of our back fence and across the narrow alley.

Grass fed cows.

A big old ranch worth of grass-fed cows.

So watching Food, Inc. shouldn’t leave me with a panicky hyperventilating “what in the hell do I do now” feeling, should it? I mean there are cows in my backyard. Cows that I know for sure are grass-fed because I can see them eating the grass.

But guess what. I don’t know how to buy them! I have no way of contacting the rancher or whoever owns these cows. I don’t believe there is a slaughter-house in my town. Used to have a butcher, but he closed up about the time we moved here.

Best I know, the cows are shipped to Idaho, slaughtered and packaged, then shipped back and sold in our store. The meat packages that don’t come from a big conglomerate are marked Idaho.

But how do I know these are the cows from my backyard? The packages don’t say grass-fed. Wouldn’t they mark that? Charge me double for it? Maybe they finish the cows on grass and raise them on corn.

I almost don’t even want to know if they do that thing like they did in the movie, where somehow they get a big hole into a live cow right into its stomach so that someone can stick their hand in and check for bacteria.

Right into the living cow’s stomach. Who comes up with this shit? I mean, someone had to be sitting around some table somewhere and said…hey let’s try this bacteria-checking technique…right?

No. I want to know. I do. I want to know that my beef didn’t come from a cow with an open hole to its stomach.

I’m not stupid. I knew that commercial meat doesn’t come from happy places. No matter what the commercial’s say about California cows. But ammonia for a meat filler to keep e coli at bay? Really?

This is just more. More than I realized. More than I let myself think about.

And now I’m stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a cattle ranch in my backyard, but no access to meat that I know for sure doesn’t come from these places.

And how about vegetables that I know aren’t grown by heartless corporations that beat small farmers into submission with their ex-military/police goons in big black cars (I swear, this is in the movie!) A farmer can’t collect their own seed. Seed from the product they grew? That’s insane, right?

Here are the organic produce choices available to me this week: green onions and pineapple.


I just went and looked at the cases of apples I bought last week. They were grown in Utah (close enough to actually be local to me, about 150 miles) by Mountainland Apples.  They aren’t organic. But they also seem to not be grown by some monstrous company. So that’s good. Until I can get to a Farmer’s Market, I’ll at least have Mountainland apples, peaches, and cherries.

The one part about this movie that really, really was an eye opener was then they were talking to this pretty typical low-income family. The mother kept saying, “if I only have a couple of dollars, I can buy my kids a couple of hamburgers, but not much at the grocery store.”

They filmed this family in the grocery store. The dad thought $1.29 a pound for broccoli was too much. The daughters didn’t even bother asking for pears because “you only get two or three in a pound.” A pound cost $.99. The mom said that the crap was cheaper. Chips, candy…and she said soda is real cheap. Then the camera panned to soda on sale for four for five bucks.

The crap isn’t necessarily cheaper.

And if we stop buying it, we’ll have more money to pay a fair price for food that’s grown with integrity.

That was the message I got from this movie. (Other than feeling like I was run over by a pig-truck of shocking news about the corporate food industry.)

We vote with our dollars. Even families that are trying to shop on $75, or even $60 a week. That’s $250 to $300 dollars every month. Or $3000 to $3600 a year. A good chunk of money.

Obviously these corporations aren’t running their businesses this way for the hell of it. It’s all about the dollars, isn’t it? And who controls the dollars?

Mama controls the food dollars.

And there isn’t a Mama alive that wants to trade places with the woman in the movie whose son died from eating a hamburger tainted with e coli.

I wonder if that gives those corporate head honchos hyperventilation moments.

I think it should.

(Food, Inc. is available for immediate viewing on Netflix, if you subscribe. No need to wait for a DVD in the mail.)


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