Category Archives: Movies

Chemicals in Our Personal Ecosystem

Right on the heels of reading the article Our Toxic Body Burden, a friend posted a link to the online documentary Genetic Roulette, which discusses the well documented (but not well publicized) effects that genetically modified foods are having on our digestive systems and health.

Vreni Gurd’s Wellness Tips article talks about the many sources of chemicals  we may be unwittingly ingesting. Some you’ll be aware of, but some may surprise you, such as cleansers and moisturizers. “If you put it on your skin you are drinking it.”

The documentary carries the theme further, exposing the chemical nature of the majority of processed foods and the marked increase in a wide variety of diseases linked to the digestive system and inflammation. As the digestive system is our first line of defense for our immune system, it makes sense that problems in our gut are going to lead to problems elsewhere. The scary thing is, once GMO enzymes and bacteria are introduced to your system, they can replicate and continue wreaking havoc.

More than ever our bodies are subjected to a myriad of chemicals in all forms and it takes some focused effort to reduce the effects. One of the key elements is keeping your liver healthy so it can do its best to detoxify your body from our environment. When I was diagnosed with skin cancer it became a priority to me to support my liver in cleansing my body. I believe our bodies are made to heal themselves and can do quite a good job if we support them by taking care of what we put in into the delicately balanced ecosystem of our bodies.

Please take the time to become more informed and make more informed decisions for your health and the health of your families.

Before We’re All Tapped Out

Okay, I know I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about our most precious resource, local water. BUT, before I step down off my soapbox I have to tell you, I’m not the only one!

I Am Not Alone

First, the other day I was in a coffee shop and requested a decaf latte and a glass of water. My friend was paying so I didn’t notice until I arrived at our table that she had paid for a bottle of water. I then suggested she take the bottled water, if in fact she would drink it, and went back to the counter to request a glass of water. “Truly, I’d prefer a glass of tap water, no ice,” I said kindly. It was duly poured from the pitcher right in front of the server.

As I walked back to my table another patron asked curiously why I had insisted on tap water. “Because Vancouver has great water. Because it’s cleaner than bottled water. Because there are tons of plastic floating in our oceans. Because of the politics around our freedom of access to water. Those are a few of the reasons…” She applauded my insistence and we shared a bonding moment of appreciation for fresh, local, delicious, tap water.

Discover the Truth

Second, there are a whole bunch of other people throughout North America who are also concerned about bottled water and there’s a new documentary that proves it, Tapped. From the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car? and I.O.U.S.A. comes another let’s-get-to-the-truth film about the bottled water industry. It’s a challenging topic, one with many faces including:

  • The advertising and marketing scam of bottled water
  • Loss of access to water as a basic human right
  • Toxicity of the plastic bottles themselves
  • Lack of adequate safety regulation of the industry
  • The environmental impact of the used bottles

You Are Not Powerless

Tired of hearing about the problem, but feeling powerless? Stop being powerless! You can make small, easy decisions that support your health, your community, and your right to fresh, clean water.

For starters buy safe, reusable bottles (metal, glass, non-BPA plastic)… and use them. If I can do it, you can do it.

Then, check out the Tapped website for additional ideas and resources on how to be part of the solution.

It’s All About Local When It Comes to Ingredients

If you’ve seen and loved Food Inc. and Fresh, here’s another thought-provoking film about a food system in crisis — and a growing movement determined to fix it.

Vancouver’s Projecting Change Film Festival is screening the new film Ingredients as part of their Breakfast Series. And yes, breakfast will be served!

In addition to sponsoring the breakfast, Edible Vancouver‘s publisher Phil Solman will be moderating a discussion panel and giving out copies of their latest issue: Winter 2010, which itself will be fresh…off the presses.

Saturday, November 27, 2010
9:00 am
Includes breakfast sponsored by Edible Vancouver
Fifth Avenue Theatre
2110 Burrard Street, Vancouver

Tickets are $15, get $2 off when you purchase online using code FOOD001.

No Really, You CAN Garden Anywhere

Last week I blogged about being able to grow things anywhere, after seeing a canoe garden in a quiet residential alley not far from my community garden.

If you don’t have a canoe but you do have say, an old truck, that can work too. From the duo who brought us King Corn, learn how to “teach an old dodge new tricks” in this trailer for the upcoming Truck Farm movie. It’s kinda crazy and a whole lot of fun.

You can find additional Farm Truck clips on the Wicked Delicate YouTube channel.

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.

Related Post: Cheeky Corn Syrup Commentary

Thoughts on Food, Inc.

I watched Food, Inc. last night and enjoyed it in a horrifying, “Gross, I just bought chicken. I wasn’t thinking about how it’s farmed when I made the impulse, grocery store purchase. Now I don’t know if I can actually eat it” sort of way.

Much of the information was nothing new from what I’ve seen in other similar documentaries such as Our Daily Bread (warning: do not eat in front of the TV) and the Supermarket Secrets exposé series from the UK (don’t get all superior, the exact same things happen here).

I assure you, I may have seen much of it before, but it’s no less disgusting and infuriating. Whether we’re talking about how animals are “farmed” — and I use the term loosely — or the Big Brother tactics of seed companies, or even industry/legislator incest in food regulation, I hope we start waking up en masse to the seriousness of these issues. Sooner than later.

There were a couple of angles in the film I particularly appreciated. First was an interview with Gary Hirschberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt company, especially the extended version in the special features section of the DVD. He talks about the power of consumers and business to shape how industry and mega-corporations behave, in this case Wal-Mart.

When Wal-Mart gets on the organic food bandwagon you know the concept has gone mainstream. They are in it for the profit, without a doubt, but that profit is driven by consumers. And the side effect is many more tons of pesticide and poison NOT spilling into our watersheds, as well as less crap in our food. How is that a bad thing? (Watch for a brilliant clip where a farmers happily tells Wal-Mart execs who’ve come to visit, “Wow, I’ve never even been in a Wal-Mart store, we boycott them.”)

Another great element of the film is dialogue with a farmer who clearly describes the benefits both health and environmental of choosing small scale, integrated farming methods. Watch for the description of how keeping cows, pigs and chickens together creates mutually beneficial side effects and reduces the need for artificial interference with medication and chemicals. Again, it’s worth watching the extended interview.

And finally, my favourite thing about Food, Inc. was how, after showcasing the sorry state of affairs, they wrap things up on a high note with a list of things anyone can start doing right now to vote with their dollars. The film does an excellent job of highlighting many of the entwined issues surrounding food security, then offering ways for you and I to get involved and contribute to resolving the problem. And it’s not even that hard!


I Lost My Appetite Watching Our Daily Bread

Here’s how I know the food revolution is going mainstream: I chanced upon an exposé foreign indie film at Blockbuster on the weekend, which isn’t where I typically go for that kind of thing.

Our Daily Bread is the Manufactured Landscapes of the commercialized food production industry. In its disturbing and enlightening travels from lettuce to chickens to peppers to salmon and beyond, the film moves from large expanse to large expanse detailing the vast reality of how our grocery store food is manufactured. And I do mean manufactured.

On the livestock issue, I was expecting some shock and horror tactics — anyone who’s gone vegetarian after some nasty film footage knows it can work — but the film didn’t sensationalize the reality and in so doing, made the reality all the more stark. What’s done with absolute mundane, unemotional repetition is all the more horrific.

Just as bad, though perhaps less obvious, is the wholesale spraying of toxic chemical vapour on factory farmed vegetables, and the massive greenhouses that protect the plants from bugs, fungus…and sunlight.

None of the trailers I watched after the fact did the film justice. Maybe it’s just too hard to capture the full impact, the magnitude in a 2 minute clip. Food is a living organism and somehow the nature of commercial food manufacture reduces it to much less than that. It’s a little depressing.

I do have the perfect antidote, though. When you’re done watching Our Daily Bread, check out Tableland.

If you do want to see a clip, I’ll just warn you, Babe the Movie, this is not…

Trailer for Manufactured Landscapes, viewer discretion advised.



Stone Soup Film Festival Coming This Fall

Learn more about food issues, both locally and internationally, at this year’s Stone Soup Film Festival. Presented by the East End Food Co-op and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, the festival will explore health and nutrition, food economics, agricultural worker rights, and urban agriculture over two days of great films.

October 17 & 18, 2009
Britannia Community Services Centre
1661 Napier Street, Vancouver
Purchase a pass for $15: 604.718.5800

The film festival is a part of the Stone Soup Fall Food Gathering, also taking place at Britannia Centre. Events will include:

  • “DIY” Food Day on October 3, a day of sessions where participants learn the art of making and preserving food
  • Community Potluck on October 15 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
  • Food Justice Forum & Discussion on October 8 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

More information (pdf)

Planning to attend? Leave a comment and let us know how it went.