It was around 2011 when I finally watched “Food Inc”. My brother Jason and I both saw it at the same time and became increasingly interested in farming. He poured himself into Acres USA magazines and gardening. I was just coming off my time in the ARMY and transitioning between army life, working as a guide in the woods, and began homesteading.
The video fired me up beyond belief.
I remember we were at Dad’s one day for a family visit. Jason played the video for everyone to watch, mostly in the background. I don’t think anyone else cared. The animal welfare issues, expansion of vertically integrated industrial farming, and increasing mechanization and domination of our food system didn’t seem to trigger any bells with anyone like it did us.
Fast forward maybe 6 years later. Jason and I have both gone through various stages of homesteading, while I definitely went deeper and broader. Every time we got together we talked about chickens and grass and Monsanto and GMOs and the loss of small farms and on and on. No one really cared.
Then at some point that summer during a yard sale the topic came up of the new movie “The Founder”, the story of the McDonald’s restaurant. I hadn’t seen it yet, but dad was super wound up and disgusted.
“I’ll never eat at McDonalds ever again! That slimy piece of shit stole that whole business from those brothers! What a crooked deal they got.” He went on like this for a while.
The Founder, if you haven’t been aware, is the story of how Ray Kroc steals McDonald’s from the Mcdonald brothers. He helped early on to build the McDonald’s business, and then effectively stole the business out from underneath the brothers. To the point where the brothers are even forced to take their own name off of their original burger stand, while a new McDonalds owned by Ray Kroc opened just across the street.
I never considered my dad as a small business proponent. He wasn’t exactly championing small farms. Perhaps it was because Mcdonalds is such an ingrained part of so many of our childhood memories that it felt like a betrayal when the truth behind the curtain came out.
Either way, the memories stuck. What stuck most was that we all arrived at the same sentiments. We all had the same similar distaste for the industrialized corporatization of our food supply. No matter how much evangelizing my brother and I did about soil and grass and animal welfare it just didn’t resonate with dad. Direct and outright corruption and deceit however seemed to hit the mark.
It’s these memories that often remind me that principles always matter more than positions. We all came to the same general conclusion that the expansion and corporatization of our food system was putting all the proverbial eggs in one basket. We took different paths up the mountain, but in the end we all arrived at the peak and saw the same view. A view of corporate government collusion and the wholesale slaughter of our regionalized local food systems and systematic elimination of the small farms, restaurants, and local businesses.
The quest for power at the hands of an industrial and government marriage has been woven into our lives as modern prosperity, so long as you pray to the alter of industrialization. Luckily we can still fight back against such tyranny through our buying and shopping choices every single day. Voting with your dollars is one of the realest forms of freedoms we still have. Directly support the things in life you want to see around you. Be the change, don’t expect others to change for you.