Thursday, July 19, 2012

king corn, a review

King Corn 
Independent Lens
Written by Aaron Woolf, Curt Ellis, Ian Cheney,  and Jeffrey K. Miller
Directed by Aaron Woolf

 Did you know that more than 92,000,000 acres of corn were planted in 2007? Are you aware of the fact that in 2003 the USDA estimated that Americans ate an average of 73 pounds of corn sweetener per year? And it turns out an elemental isotope analysis of your hair may very well show that you are predominantly ingesting corn?

Corn has invaded our diet to startling levels. Aside from the obvious places like corn on the cob, corn syrup and corn starch, corn is also turned into fillers, modifiers, extenders and other ingredients that are used in everything from chips to cookies to beer and more. With almost 200 ingredients made from corn it's exceedingly difficult to avoid. Sadly this extends even further into our diet with cows, pigs, chickens, and now even farmed fish all being fed corn. What they eat becomes what you eat. Corn truly is pervasive in our diet.

This film, King Corn, was created by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis in 2007. Recent college graduates motivated by America's bulging waistline they decided to try to grow an acre of corn and follow it all the way through it's process. Along the way they discovered just how much of what we eat comes from corn. Unfortunately corn has become a staple products of the American diet. Equally unfortunate it is a crop that brings with it numerous health problems. It is one of the most genetically modified crops, it is laden with pesticides, and it is a highly acidic food.  Corn is also not a profitable crop; not, that is, unless our tax dollars are brought into the equation and used to subsidize greater and greater amounts of corn being grown across the country.

In 2005 corn subsidies totaled more than $5 billion, enough to keep the corn empire rolling on and on and on.  These subsidies are what keep the junk food cheap, what keeps the corn coming in our diet.  It's also what encourages more and more acreage to be turned over into corn crops every year.

The trailer is available on YouTube.

King Corn is an amusing yet eye-opening look at just how much corn impacts our food supply. If you look at the list of ingredients that corn is transformed into such as artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, crystalline fructose, potassium gluconate and more, you'll realize just how difficult it is to avoid. In order to understand the impact of corn on our country, our agriculture infrastructure and our waist-lines, King Corn is a movie that you don't want to miss.

I originally wrote this for a private client. They are no longer publishing their newsletter and I am now able to share this review with you.


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