King Corn is a film about the country’s obsession with corn and how the government plays a role in the future industrialization of what once was a type of family business. Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis drove from Boston to Iowa to grow an acre of corn and follow the path of the corn. Through the year, they examined the fate of what most of corn becomes and how it affects the people of America.
What shocked me the most in King Corn was that, yes, many farmers grow corn, but most of that corn is not edible until it is processed. To have extra edible corn and using it in ways that are not wasteful would be fine but something needs to change when we grow corn simply to be used in cheap and non-nutritious food products. This is difficult because the government pays farmers to create a surplus of this inedible corn. Individual farmers and families have contributed to this new crop and others have dropped out of farming completely as larger businesses take over.
Though we see this corn as “evil”, I was surprised to learn that this product started as a good way to provide inexpensive food. The food may not be good for you but the legislation behind our current corn policy served its purpose and allows us to spend only about 17 percent of our income on food. We are now able to spend money on other things. Aside from learning about “king corn”, this documentary further taught me that things that may seem awful now start out as seemingly good solutions to past problems.