Tag Archives: Omnivore’s Dilemma

A Mountain of Corn and Not One Bird on it

Just last week I saw King Corn, a film by Aaron Woolf, Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney. Well, it’s a documentary about corn. It fundamentally retraces the corn segment of Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, but throws an interesting spin on it.

The two main characters move to their ancestral home town of Greene, Iowa and plant an acre of corn which they then follow from seed in the ground to wherever it goes, which was very enlightening. It was very nice to see what Michael Pollan was talking about in his book and there are actually a few interview segments with Michael in there too.  I found the whole effort very balanced and less pointed than the Omnivore’s Dilemma but it, none the less, conveyed the same message.

But the thing that struck me the most about what I saw was probably totally unintentional. A number of times in the movie we see humongous mounds of corn that could not fit in the town elevator silos and there’s not one bird on it!

All of my childhood experiences related to handling any kind of food in a rural setting dictate that the corn would be literally covered by opportunist birds, but no. Is it because the corn they grow in Iowa is essentially inedible or perhaps all the chemistry involved in growing it killed off the birds 500 miles around Iowa? I have no idea but it sure is odd. The next thought, naturally is, why the hell would we eat that corn if birds don’t. And yet we do. Mind is boggled. Off I go to pick some kale from my garden, I need a green smoothie to regain my balance.

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