The New Home Economics

King Corn

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I watched King Corn last night.  This 2005 documentary is about two urban east-coast boys who decided to move to Iowa and raise 1 acre of corn, and learn about the ways that corn has infiltrated pretty much every food that Americans eat.

They even had their hair tested in a laboratory and the lab tests confirmed that the guys were, indeed, pretty much made of corn.

This was entertaining and not at all preachy and included an appearance by Michael Pollan; his Omnivore’s Dilemma is required reading for the New Home Economics.

It’s just amazing to see how much Earl Butz‘s farm policy in the 1970s, which I’m sure he enacted with really good intentions, has changed family farms, our health, and our environment, and all for the worse.  Does that mean the old farm policy of the 50s and 60s would work now?  I don’t know.  But something has got to give, and the farmers in the documentary were in agreement that the ridiculous amounts of corn they produce are, well, ridiculous.

I wish I knew what the solution was.  Simply educating consumers to make informed choices is a start, but I just don’t think it’s enough, not when our government is pouring giant subsidies on a crop that no one can eat.

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