Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Exploration Four: Fresh

I really enjoy how the film Fresh was put together. I gives you stories from real people who are on the  farms really trying to make things better for people, that is one of the most important parts for me. One of the most important ideas to me comes from Andrew Kimberly when he said "Medium sized organic farms are better than any size industrial farms." I feel like that really put in to perspective what the industry is doing to the world, and as a nation if we would put our money back into smaller organic and local farms we would see a change. Some good evidence that stuck with me was Joel Salatin when he said "Go down the list of diseases and thats nature saying STOP IT!" This is piece of evidence is supported not only in the film with clips talking about mad cow disease and actually showing how that cow acting but in life we've seen salmonella, trichinosis, etc. all of these are supporting that statement. I think theres a clear need for change and at the end of the film Professor John Ikerd says that as well to the effect of it did not get like this all of a sudden but we can get back to how it used to be it will just take one person at a time. If I were going to review this film I would cover it all, but something that is really important to me is the treatment of animals so I would like to focus in on that. This film is full of strengths because it sticks to topic and really drives home the need for organic and local food and also with the choice of people it ranges from farmers to professors and everywhere in between. A weakness that sticks out though is we don't hear very much about the other side, there is Mr. and Mrs. Fox, which I thought was good to put a face to people that do use industrial farming, but there was not a lot from them or any other sources. 
I wanted to explore something that I'm sure a lot of people from all age groups were wondering and thats why did Chipotle stop serving carnitas (pork)? Chipotle is known for trying to use the best ingredients in everything that it serves to the public so what happens when they find out that one of their suppliers were violating what are Chipotle's core animal welfare standards? What I found made me completely happy. They stopped all purchases with this supplier saying when given a choice to serve conventional pork or not at all, they chose not at all. What made me upset, nothing that they can control all by themselves, was the fact that they have to now get our pork from out of the country. I am happy that we have a strong enough relationship with the UK to do that, but I know we are more than capable as a country to be doing it. I confirmed through research that 95% of our pork is raised conventionally and I find that disgusting. I feel like we as a nation should follow in Chipotle foot steps until 100% of our animals in the US is not conventionally raised.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Exploration Four: Fresh from Rachel Hopper

     I have a large amount of respect for small farmers.  It is hard to be successful that way.  Growing up in the country and having farmers for neighbors really allowed me to see first hand what that line of work is like.  From what I have seen, it is not easy.   Especially with the industrializing of agriculture.  This documentary served as a wonderful way to educate people about this issue.  Most of the things that stood out to me in this documentary were the quotes.
     There were strengths and weaknesses of this film.  This was an optimistic documentary that focused more on the ability and methods to fix the problem, not whose fault the problem is or even the problem itself.  One of the weaknesses was that there were times during the interview sections where I was having trouble keeping track of who was saying what.  It was a little confusing at times.  
     In the beginning of the film, the first thing that stood out to me was the quote, "Americans only fear one thing and that is inconvenience."  I find that entirely true.  My mom for the past couple years has wanted to eat better but just hasn't been able to change her habits.  I realized that the reason we don't eat better is due to inconvenience.  Why actually make dinner when you could throw something in the oven for ten minutes? Better yet, go through the drive thru and pick up food before you go home and don't even have to prepare it.  That is the day in age that we live in. And that is why most people that want to eat better don't. 
    There was one theme throughout the documentary which was: respecting the design of nature.  One big example of this is monocultures.  A monoculture is the same species growing together in isolation.  This is how livestock farming is industrialized.  This goes against nature and its design.  Livestock farms become livestock factories and then a very serious sanitation problem develops and the livestock contract diseases. This can create mutated diseases from all of the antibiotics and vaccinations that the livestock receive in their lifetime that can also be dangerous for humans. One of the sustainable farmers said that the diseases were nature's way of saying enough.  I think that is absolutely right.  If you think about it, what is our body's way of saying enough? Pain.  Nature always has a way to tell us if something is wrong.
    One last thing that stood out to me was the idea that there is no such thing as cheap food.  Fresh food is not cheap.  Fresh food does cost more, but it is worth more.  The point was also made that if you are not paying for food at the grocery store, you pay for it somewhere else. The environment pays for it or your health could suffer the consequences.  And if all you want to pay for is cheap food, well you get what you pay for.  
    They said that studies pointed toward medium-sized organic farms are ideal.  This all makes perfect sense.  If farmers went organic, they would be making less work for themselves in the long run.  Using manure from their healthy livestock will help their crops, instead of using chemical fertilizers.  Not using the fertilizers would eliminate operating costs.  In return, the crops would be healthy and free of fertilizers and pesticides.  These crops are either the product or used to feed the livestock.  Having the livestock eat this way and not raising them in a monoculture will save money by not having to spend on vaccines and antibiotics. Not to mention, this does not contribute to pollution at all. Doing things this way will help immensely in the long run.  Medium-sized organic farms are ideal.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Exploration Two by Elizabeth

      My name is Elizabeth Scott and I am a junior. I have lived here in Marion my entire life and I went to Harding for high school. I played basketball for two years and volleyball for all four years and also was involved in numerous clubs Harding offered. My freshman year of college I went to Muskingum University in New Concord, OH. As much as people complain about Marion being boring, New Concord is in the middle of no where so there was never anything to do and I did not like it there. I decided the summer after my freshman year that I was going to transfer to OSUM. Currently, I am taking half of my classes here in Marion and the other half on main campus. I'm majoring in pharmaceutical science. I'm also considering adding a minor in exercise science or something else fitness related. One fun fact about me is that I want to be a pharmacist and also own my own gym one day. I absolutely love to work out and help others get motivated to work out. I have sort of trained some of my friends and got them into working out as well and I love the feeling of helping people feel better about themselves. My current goal is to get certified to be a personal trainer over next summer so I can get a job somewhere as a trainer. Eventually I would like to open my own gym somewhere in Columbus where people can get a membership and come work out any time they want.
      When I read the narrative by Frederick Douglass, one thing that really stuck out to me was his attitude. Instead of writing with a negative tone about the particular experience, he wrote with a sense of determination and pride. His owner would not let him learn to read and write, but he did not let that stop him. He learned to read and write and it gave him a sense of power. As a slave, he probably could not express his opinions very much and writing allowed him to do so. Reading and writing are essential because they allow someone to learn and become educated. it also gives someone the ability to express themselves. The different things people go through or impact the way they write. For Douglass, his experience as a slave and the fact that he overcame the oppression against him resulted in him expressing himself in words with a sense of  pride.

Exploration 4 : FRESH by Alan Brophy

The most important ideas offered were the necessity of poly-cultures and that it is possible to feed the world without industrializing farming. That it may not be a fast process, but it is possible to switch from the current majority of farming to the minority of farming techniques that had been the only way to farm for centuries before now. I would focus on the farms that are poly-culture and the health of them and the food produced by them. The movie did focus this topic, yet I think, beyond the movie, this is the most important way of spreading the benefits. The movie had a plethora of strengths, and very few weaknesses. I would like to have seen more farmers, such as the chicken farmers, that did not completely support what they are doing, but could not say it out right. These farmers had pained faces when they would talk about what they were doing and the contract they had. I most relate to not being able to always afford organic foods, even though I would like to only buy them.

I wanted to know more on the ability for organic food to feed the world, and I was not disappointed. I found that the internet has a split view on the subject, but those who do not believe that organic can feed the world are normally just bloggers. Many  of the scientists behind the organic movement have facts that organic can feed the world.

Share your Essay One Brainstorming. From Mike Lohre

Students, in the Comments section below, please write and explain the BEST of your three Essay One ideas at this point so we can see where we are at.

Let's put them all here so we can see others topics and get an idea of the range of subjects we might be covering.

Sharing ideas often helps us find direction and interests we might not have thought about.

Exploration 4: Fresh (Kourtney Pugh)

     The most important idea to me in Fresh was that we've messed up the natural flow of nature. An example that kept reoccurring in the film was that cows were actually being fed other dead cows. This especially caught my attention once we started to see how everything is better in general when you treat/use cows for what there originally intended for. A quote that I heard in the film that sums up that idea is "Treat the herbivores like an herbivore first, and then the rest will fall in place". If I were to review the film I would focus on the farmers and how they overcame the constant expense of big name companies trying to force them out. I thought the film had many strengths but, the one thing that stood out to me the most was how they showed the viewer how simple it is to practice safe, organic farming. Also, how much healthier the animals are overall. A perfect example of this is when Russ Kremer stated that he's "saved over $1,400 in vet bills" since he stopped giving his animals antibiotics. One weakness that I did notice in the film is when they showed why bigger companies haven't gone to organic farming. The reason I say this is a weakness is because they didn't have a counter for the argument that organic farming simply cannot feed the world. Instead they continued to show us how easy and simple it was but nothing about the efficiency and speed. What I most relate to in the film is having to wake up early and harvest crops. Also, the amount of work and time it takes to care for the fruits and vegetables. Farming is definitely a straining, full time job with little to no pay. 
     The idea I researched was what regulations do farmers have to follow and what i found was extremely surprising. One of the very first things that i found alarming was that the FDA does not control if a product says organic. Also, I learned that the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Act) provides indemnity payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. When I found this out I started to question if even the farmers that are reusing the dead cows as food get compensated for the loss. I tried to research my second question too but the terminology from the sites with the supposed answers started to become confusing. Overall what I found and researched just led to more and more questions/concerned that didn't have a clear, consistent answer. 

Exploration 4: Fresh By Brandon Smith

What really struck me as strange was how oblivious or null minded Mr. and Mrs. Fox were. I mean I'm probably wrong when in saying this because they probably know exactly what they are doing. My guess is that they work for a company of some sort that is a big chicken producer and they are acting like everything is okay between the chickens. Perhaps the real reason that chickens can be treated this way is because of the laws about having chickens state nothing about how much space each chicken needs. It just says that they should be able to roam around an enclosed area. Nevertheless, Mr. and Mrs. Fox both act as if they know nothing of what is going on that is wrong, and they do know that what they are doing isn't the best for the chickens. I think there could be some rules set that can help the chickens a little bit but who knows what that will do to food production for us. The U.S. has no laws that help farm animals while they are on farms(factory farms). This makes it so that the factory farmers can basically do whatever they want with the way they raise their animals. If I was to do a review on this film, I would talk about how the director included a lot about pesticides and kept hitting on it throughout the whole movie. With the pesticides, he talked about how the industrial food that the world is living on right now is not sustainable. Something that i thought was missing from this movie was the other side of the argument.  There was barely any if any at all about what the opposing side of this issue thought. Honestly there isn't much of anything that I relate to in this film.  I have never lived on a farm, I have never looked into the production of meats or anything, and I haven't really ever taken into consideration the effects of organic or industrial. 

Something that I dug into a little deeper was the laws that are set in place by the government in order to protect industrial farm animals. The percentage of farm animals that have protection under federal laws is 5%. This shows that there is not much at all that is out there to protect them. The state laws are the only thing that can protect them if the federal laws are this lenient. So as you can tell, farm animals don't have too much protection under at all under the federal laws and some farm animals don't have anything protecting them. One that doesn't have any protection is the chicken. That's a pretty wild stat if you think about it.

Exploration 4 From Travis Baum

In the movie "Fresh" there were many things that stuck out to me, but the one thing that stuck with me most is that most foods in almost every store is processed foods. This stud with me because it is known that processed foods contain a lot of ingredients that are really not healthy for you. I believe that americans are not educated enough on processed food and genetically modified organisms. "Processed foods make up 70 % of americans diets" (Melanie Warner) I believe that this statistic is so large because like they said in the movie "Local organic food costs more and they are worth more too". Stores in america are buying processed foods because they are not as expensive and due to that americans see a lot more processed foods than organic foods in stores. If people would learn how to grow their own food i believe this whole problem would go away And americans would be living a happier, healthier, and better lifestyle.

Exploration 4: Fresh Response by Brady Hagman

While watching the movie fresh, the stuff that really hits me is the industrial techniques for producing food. This country is obsessed with being cheap, fast, and convenient. We have gotten away from the fresh and healthy standards that everyone enjoys. The industry of agriculture has changed to fit the qualities of society such as the fastest way, cheapest option and most convenient. People aren't getting the healthy nutrients that they need. Kids are growing up eating processed food every day. The film was very good at showing the disgusting and immoral strategies to produce food. The movie Fresh did not try to hide anything and it really hits hard when you see animals being treated so poorly. The movie also did a great job showing the real farmers making a difference to change the industry of farming for the better. Ana Sophia Jones also did a good job showing some of Will Allen's new and improved farming methods. I think that also ties into the weakness of the movie. Will Allen should've been a greater part of the movie. Everyone can learn so much from him but we only got a glimpse of what he is doing.

John Salatin said " Treat the herbivores right and everything else will fall into place". Most companies are feeding cows dead cows and other feed made up of GMOs. John makes a great argument in saying cows are better off eating grass like they are suppose to. Feeding animals GMOs only makes things worse. A cool fact about animals being on farms, helps fertilize the land with their manure. Animals manure in factories turn into pollution because there is no use for it. That is just another reason why the natural approach is better.

I did a project on GMOs in high school so i am interested to see how they come into play on the big business scale. has some great information on the basics of GMOs. Studies show that the majority of North Americans do not want to eat genetically modified organisms. A study in 2009 shows that 93% of soy, 93% of cotton and 86% of corn grown in the USA were genetically modified.

Exploration 4: Fresh by Andy Pickard

          One of the main ideas that seemed most important to me was that farms can not be sufficient when using a mono-culture. If I were going to review this film, I would focus on the large amounts of information given and how relevant it is to their cause. For example, every time a farmer tried to make their farm specialized for one product they ran into problems, regardless of if it was animals or plants. Nature does not work with just one thing in the same place. Joel Salatin was talking about how humans need to respect the design of nature, I completely agree because the ecosystem anywhere is a fragile system and too much change can have consequences. Russ Kremer found out the hard way that by using large amounts of medication and antibiotics just makes diseases mutate and grow stronger.
          One theme that I looked into was about GMO's. I found that most people actually don't seem to know much about GMO's, their opinion on them is based on the media and people telling them organic is always better. Studies have shown that certain GMO's are actually safe to eat and have no effect on your health. For example, Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal toxin. It is used as a way to keep bugs away and reduce the use of pesticides on crops. It sounds dangerous but a study has shown that it has no effect on your health.( ).

Exploration four by Mason

I want to start this first by saying that I don't necessarily agree with all that this film has to say. Don't take this as saying that the entire film is false, but I also believe there are a lot of misconceptions in this film. But after saying this, I also believe that there some facts in this film that are true. I do believe that home grown is healthier than raised on a large farm. The main factor I drew from this film is that farming has evolved and whether its for the better or worse is still in the air. I am raised from a farming heritage where both my mother and father grew up on farms so I know what farming techniques were like 40 years ago and now I work on multiple different farms getting to know the full experience of each type of farming.
A question which i took from the film is where it says that a moderate sized organic farm can feed more than any size industrial farm. I don't understand how this can be true considering that industrial
sized farms are designed specifically for the highest yields. According to Berkley, Organic farms produce 19.2% less than conventional farming. while 19.2 does not seem like a lot once it comes to a large scale which conventional farming is done on, when it comes to 1000 bushels of a crop, lets say soy beans for this example. organic farming would produce 192 less bushels than conventional, at $8.50 a bushel thats $1632. That is how much money that the farmer could have in his pocket but is wasted.

Exploration Four: Fresh by John Rickman

In the movie "Fresh" we viewed in class, there were many themes and problems being portrayed throughout the film. The biggest ideas presented, in my opinion, were the problems arising because of the dramatic move towards industrialized farming. The soil deprivation, because livestock were being raised in unnatural conditions, away from the grain and vegetables being grown, and since all their manure wasn't being put to use, a pollution problem was being created. If I was going to review this film, I would focus on the reasons and purpose for this sudden move into industrialized farming. The way they told this story in this movie was this movie's strength. The film's production focused in on the problems being portrayed, in such a way, that it roped and interested viewers the whole time. The varying points of view presented in this movie gave viewers multiple perspectives to the problem and provided an immense amount of information. Professor John Ilurd said, "nature creates disease to get us to step up and fix the error in our ways," which I most relate to because I believe nature has a way to try and fix itself when it's threatened by outside forces.
Because of this film, I wondered what other problems industrialized farms caused that weren't showed in the film. I found out with outside research that industrialized farmers also have a blatant disregard for their animal's well being. Most of their confinements for their animals are poorly light and air-conditioned, and most of their cages are small and don't leave much room for movement.

Exploration Four: Fresh Response by Jared Gandelot

One of the most important ideas from the film that got my attention is the push to start growing, buying and eating local and organic food. It is healthier and makes more economic since than current farming techniques. As John Ikerd said "It's simply a matter of it being time to shift to a different paradigm, a different vision for the future." If we don't change now the consequences could be catastrophic.
The film was very persuasive over all, explaining how the current food system is not sustainable and how a better one should look like. I feel that it could have better explained how to transition rather than just showing us a better food system, the transition is the most crucial part.
If I were to review this film I would focus on how to make organic and local food more economically viable for both the farmer and the buyer. One of the main problem that local farmers face is where/how to sell there produce, this in turn makes the food more expensive because of the uncertainty involved. Farmers markets seem like a good idea but they force farmers to compete against each other and usually include a fee to sell there. The best option that I found is called Community Supported Agriculture. This involved the consumer buying a share of a farm's projected harvest, paying for it up front and then picking up their share at harvest. This system divides the risk between the consumer and the farmer.

According to the USDA there are about 2,500 CSA's in the US as of 2010.

Exploration 4 by Elizabeth

     The biggest idea that I took out of Fresh is that things need to change. The industrialization of farming has so many negative aspects to it, and it's completely taking over. Local farms struggle staying operating because they are competing with the industrialized farms. These factory farms pollute the environment, are inhumane in how they treat their animals, and are not healthy. When someone eats organic food grown by local farmers, they get more nutrients and vitamins from it. While they pay more, it rewards them by making them healthy. You may save money when you buy industrialization-produced foods, but your body pays for it by becoming less healthy. We need to try to change where our food comes from so those smaller family owned local farms can succeed and produce more food that is actually good for the body.
     One thing that I was interested in learning more about was the health risks that factor farms pose for humans. In the film, they mentioned how eating food produced industrially can cause health issues for people, but they did not go very in depth. I wanted to know the specific effects eating that food can have. On, they list some of the health effects factory farms have on humans. They can cause obesity and heart disease due to increased level of saturated fat,  increase risk of breast cancer, prostate, and colon cancer in beef consumers, create drug-resistant bacteria that can infect humans, contaminate food with bacteria like salmonella, and facilitate the passing of some diseases like Swine Flu. Overall, they are extremely unsanitary and can greatly harm human health.

Exploration Four: Fresh Response from Tanner

     I would essentially like to start to give a simple acknowledgement that everyone should see this film at some point in the future. What goes on in this film is extremely admirable and loaded with a ton of information. The biggest concept I drew out of the film 'Fresh' is that there are people within the system that generally care about what's happening to farming and rather than saying we should go back to the old way, they offer alternatives to include older techniques while producing foods at better rates, and change the game while respecting what farming originally was. The credibility of the film was derived based on what the farmers who were actually in the system were telling us, mostly because its something we need to know. We have to know that farming is a pure competition market and John Ikerd, and Agricultural Environmentalist teacher at the University of Missouri on quote noted, "Those that produce the most food, survive."
     The question I would like to arise is simply.... We see that organic food costs on average significantly more than what non-organic food on average costs, given that, is the price of organic foods worth the demand of it when it comes to paying that much more for it? Organic food is certainly better for you, but according to a poll conducted by a group of Colby college students by comparing prices at grocery stores that on average organic foods costs 68 percent more than non-organic foods. An interesting thing to think about in the discussion is not just the head on price, but a reasonable understanding as to why organic foods costs more, and determining whether the upgrade in capital is enough spark in demand to go towards organic foods. We have to understand that organic costs more because of the labor and land that it takes in order to grow these foods. Organic farms take much longer and the refrainment of chemicals and growth hormones is what makes these foods much better. Eating healthy and eating organic foods is a much higher expense and it is up to the individuals in the market that eating organic is a rational decision or an irrational decision.

Image result for spraying pesticides
In the process of spraying growth chemicals on a non-organic farm.

Exploration 4: Fresh Response by Catelyn Millet

The most important idea that stood out to me is how much farmers are focusing on the health of their animals and people. They want people to eat what is best for them. One quote that really stuck out to me was when Karen Parker said, "I think I used to eat a lot of garbage before Growing Power." I liked this quote because it made me think about how many people may be eating fast food and how many fast food chains are popping up all over the United States. According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, 50 million Americans eat fast food daily and there are 160,000 fast food places in the United States. One thing I really liked about the film is how they used multiple people to explain how they have helped their animals/land and/or people over the years. One weakness is that I think they could have possibly made the film longer to include more people or teach us what we could do here at home. I relate most to this film because my mom used to tell me stories about her growing up raising goats and chickens.

One idea that I researched was the use of antibiotics in livestock. According to an article in the New York Times, the amount of antibiotics that were sold to farmers grew 16% between 2009 and 2012. The article also said how farmers realized that antibiotics would help the animals grow faster and they would be given to animals even if they weren't sick. The use of antibiotics were used more in the United States than other countries.

Exploration four by Darrin Warwick

     I think what stood out to me the most was how industrial farming causes more problems than it solves yet they continue to do it.  The film showed farmers who do organic farming and they raise animals with no antibiotics or hormones.  This is working for them and Russ Kremer said that medium sized organic farms are better than industrial farms.  He also made a great point about they are not farming animals they are farming grass and if you take care of the grass the grass will take care of the animals.  I think if I was reviewing this film I would focus on the positives of organic farming and what industrial farming does to you and nature.  The strengths of this film in my opinion is it sheds light on how farming in America can be better and that we need to change it fast or we could lose a lot of production.  It also talks about the waste pools created in industrial farming and how they cant use it for fertilizer because it is to concentrated and filled with antibiotics and hormones.  This isn't good for the environment or the people around it inhaling the toxic fumes.  As for the weaknesses in this film I think it could of shown more of the negative effects of industrial farming and maybe some more solutions to converting to organic farming.  In the film they also made a point to say that industrial farming is cheaper but decreased the health benefits by forty percent that is a mind blowing number we never know what we are eating we just eat it and think its ok.
      I looked up the negative effects of industrial farming on humans and the results were not that surprising.  It talks about how waste pools leak out into rivers streams and farms causing widespread problems for animals and humans.  It also talked about how the farmers in industrial farming don't benefit much from it because they don't get paid a lot for the livestock they raise.  The effects of industrial farming can be seen all over the United States because people eat dairy and meat everyday and can be exposed to e-coli and other diseases from unchecked antibiotics.  It stated that even though we know about the negative effects the number of industrial farms continues to grow.  One of the gases put off at an industrial farm is called hydrogen sulfide and it is extremely dangerous even in low levels.  Its effects are irreversible and can cause sore throat to seizures comas and even death.  There are many more health problems such as shortness of breath, headaches, wheezing and diarrhea.  This isn't something I would want to live around or be a part of and like I stated they continue to grow.

Exploration Four: Fresh Response from Ruksana Kabealo

The most important idea from Fresh was that industrialized farming, including the creation of monocultures, is unsustainable and harmful to both humanity and nature. The evidence was presented mainly through examples and statistics. The film showed the dangers of industrialized farming through footage from industrialized farms, including extensive footage of diseased, sickly animals in cramped, unhealthy quarters. The most important evidence offered in the film was the showcasing of several highly successful natural farming operations. By showing the viewers these farms and their successes, the film simultaneously convinces the viewers that healthy, natural farms can actually function efficiently in practice and that industrialized farming is unnecessary.

If I were going to review the film, I would focus on:
  •       The cinematography. The way the cinematography changes during the interviews, for example, helps the film communicate it’s message more effectively. 
  •       The director. Exposition on the director and why she made the film would provide some context that would help deepen our understanding of the film. 
  •        The primary sources. The use of primary sources, mostly food experts and people who are personally involved in farming/marketing food, is the main reason the film is so convincing. 

One of the biggest strengths of the film was its optimism. Contrary to many of other food documentaries (Food Inc., for example) Fresh educates the viewer on the problem (our food has become industrialized to the point of disaster) and gives the viewer hope not only that the problem can be fixed, but that it can be fixed by them. Too often documentaries focus solely on the problems rather than the problem and the solution. Several readily accessible courses of action are provided to the viewer throughout the movie, from the notion that we’re “voting with our dollar” to the link to at the end. Fresh not only leaves the viewer motivated and hopeful rather than discouraged and scared, but it also actively provides the viewer with avenues to channel that motivation into.

The biggest weakness of the film was the limited referencing for the people being interviewed. The film uses a lot of sources, who are each given too short of an introduction. In some cases, their name and credentials are flashed across the screen for a brief moment and never mentioned again. In addition, the film constantly switches between interviews with each of the sources. Throughout the film I found it difficult to keep track of who was who, and why they were authorized to speak on what they were speaking about.

One of the ideas that struck me most from Fresh was David Ball’s statement that produce is 40% less nutritious today than it was in the 1950s. This statement grabbed my interest, and I decided to investigate further.  

I started my research by looking up “produce is less nutritious today than it was in the 1950s” to see if I could find the original source Ball got this information from. This led me to a synopsis of studies from the University of Texas from 2004. In the studies, the levels of several nutrients (including protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid) in 43 kinds of produce from 1950 were compared to the corresponding nutrient levels in their counterparts in stores from 1999 [1].

As it turns out, the scope of the problem is much larger than what was discussed in the film. The studies found that produce from 1999 contained anywhere from a 5% to 40% drop in nutrients compared to produce from 1950. In broccoli, for example, the calcium and vitamin A content declined by half [3]. The potassium in collard greens dropped from 400mg to 170mg, while their vitamin A content dropped from 6500 IUs (International Units) to 3800 IUs [3].

There is no single determined cause of the nutrient decline in produce, but there are several suspected causes. The synopsis from the University of Texas hypothesizes that food has been selectively bred for size and yield, which comes with a trade-off for nutrient content [1]. However, more research yielded several other theories. One article hypothesized that, over the years, produce has been selectively bred for taste instead of nutrient content. Since many beneficial nutrients have a bitter taste, and getting a more appealing flavor is often a matter of increasing the sugar and starch content, it’s suggested that by breeding for taste we’ve effectively bred most of the nutrients out of our food [4]. Another article suggested that the culprit is monoculture farming, which has depleted the soil nutrients and therefore reduced the overall nutrients being absorbed by the produce [5].


[1] Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82. PubMed PMID: 15637215. <>

 [2] Tamar Haspel. “Are Fruits and Veggies Less Nutritious Now?” n.p. n.d. Web. 24 September 2015. <>

[3] Organic Consumers Association. "Is Conventional Produce Declining in Nutritional Value?", n.p. n.d. Web. 24 September 2015. <>

[4] Jo Robinson. “Breeding the Nutrition out of Our Food” Nytimes. The New York Times. 25 May 2013. Web. 24 September 2015. <>

[5] M.J. Stephey. “Eating Your Veggies: Not As Good For You?” Time. 18 February 2009. Web. 24 September 2015. <,8599,1880145,00.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Exploration 4-Jack ryan

What stuck out to me the most was the affect of separating plants from the animals.  They said that in the wild the plants create a wonderful cycle if the plants feeding the animals and the animals feeding the plants.  When the animals are concentrated in a large area their manure that would normally be a blessing for the plants, turns into a a highly toxic substance that is high in disease and other harmful chemicals.  Another fact that I found interesting was that of all the food that is grown only 30% actually goes to humans.  The reaming 70% goes to producing the feed for livestock.  I found this rather amazing considering that they are all about trying to feed the entire world with the most effective way possible.
    One of the main themes in the film was the farmers questioning whether or not they should sprat their crops with pesticides.  So i was curious to find out what are some side effects on humans from pesticides.  According to the CCOHS pesticides can cause a range of problems spanning from headache and dizziness.  All the way to unconsciousness and death.

Exploration 4: Fresh by Morgan DeWitt

The most important idea I drew from Fresh is the toll that modern farming is taking on the environment. A quote that portrayed this that I caught from the film was, "Cheap food is an illusion. If you aren't paying at the register, you're paying for it in our environment we live in". The way most of America's farms operate is unnatural and in response kills our natural environment with pesticides, massive amounts of methane gas, contaminated irrigation water, diseases carried through livestock, and an immense amount of other things. Fresh pointed out, "Organic food costs more, but it's worth more". The USDA made a point that in produce in 1950 compared to produce today, 40% of key nutrients have been diminished. That's super sad, when Fresh proved that, "Organic is better, research shows that we can feed the world with organic food better than industrial food". It just raises the huge question and thesis of Fresh, why are we stuck in industrial farming, why can't we switch back to our old organic farming methods?

If I were to review the film, I would give Fresh props for bringing so many key people and facts to the table to prove the point that industrial farming is unsustainable and something needs to be done about it. I would critique the film for not having any sources from the other side of the argument talk about the plus sides of industrial farming. They only had sources that benefited their ideas, I wanted to see facts from both sides, but that's just a personal thing.

I was very curious about the organic food vs. not organic food prices. My source was consumer, who did a study of different grocers that sell both organic and not organic products. The results were interesting:

Table 1

Amazon Fresh

Fresh Direct

Harris Teeter


Apples (lb.)
% difference
Bananas (lb.)
89 cents
88 cents
65 cents
39 cents
99 cents
99 cents
89 cents
53 cents
% difference
Beef (85% lean ground, lb.)
% difference

If you want to read the full table and article, I found my evidence here: