King Corn Reflection

Hey all,

During last week’s team meeting, wel watched the King Corn documentary. The opening of the movie revealed an interesting fact;; carbon from corn products is detected in the filmmakers’ hair due to their consumption of corn products in its various forms as both oils and sweeteners.

While there’s nothing inherently bad about corn, the way we grow and produce it has some rather startling consequences. It was revealed that over half of the corn grain produced becomes feed for animals, about 32% was turned into ethanol, and the rest became artificial sweeteners.

It’s tough to say which concerns me most but it’s probably  the first. I was surprised to find that the cattle cannot be sustained for much longer than six months on a grain diet due to complications that arise in their digestive systems.  Our insatiable appetite for meat not only demands that industry set aside enormous tracks of land to produce feed for the not-yet-slaughtered cows but also produces feed unfit for the healthy rearing of livestock.

I wonder how these these farmers would fare without the work.  In the past, the government paid them to reduce consumption.   Since a 1973 decision that reversed that policy, farmers make most of their money from government incentives and pay and not from grain profits.  In other words, an inhumane and unhealthy industry is perpetuated by our own government’s funding in order to sate our population’s appetite for an inefficient albeit tasty product.  As more  and more of these small farms are bought out and replaced with corporate operations, an otherwise unprofitable industry has become quite lucrative with the government’s help helping farming and  the production of meat and corn products..

Can you imagine if a  fraction of these government subsidies were used to fund PSAs describing how overconsumption of corn-based food products affect our health and to support more sustainable ways of raising our food?   The representative from the high fructose corn syrup industry was neglectful about describing how her product affects our health in the the King Corn documentary.   Corporations might lose out on a profitable venture but their profits are less important than increasing food security and the health of our people.


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