The Future of Food Deborah Koons

The Future of Food Deborah Koons
Nutritional daredevil Morgan Spurlock and the widow of Jerry Garcia team up for The Future Of Food, a 90-minute pitch on how tampered produce is changing the face of agriculture and what it means to the impatient American family. Depicted largely through narrated animation, the film focuses on beleaguered farmers and the conflicts they face in sticking to tradition, from patent lawsuits to adventurous new technology. It’s easy to sympathize — portrayed as stubborn and regrettably vestigial, there’s a sense of loss over "how it should be.” But issues as complex as food security can’t be so easily summarized and the doc’s lone dimension will have some viewers suspecting hyperbole. In fact, a lot of the oversimplifying is perfectly captured in the film’s final juxtaposition: spraying a strawberry field cut with a kid eating strawberries. Mothers will clutch their children, as intended, but they’ll be doing so in the First World where consumer choice trumps simple sustenance. Inevitably that’s what the whole thing is about: America and the threat to Americans. There’s hand-wringing about the world’s poor but no strategy except advocating further phobia towards genetically modified foods, a concept that evokes understandable fear but little consideration of the lives it could save. In this sense, the filmmakers have allowed their romance for rural life to mutate into a fetish for poverty, making people in dusty hats seem quaint when they’re likely just malnourished. Despite being two discs, the DVD extras are mainly websites and recipes, although a few longer interviews help add some needed context. The Future Of Food contains some important points but only half of them have merit, something to keep in mind before going anywhere with those good intentions.