Movie Review: Farmageddon (The unseen war on American family farms)

DIRECTED BY: Kristin Canty
FEATURING: Jackie Stowers, Linda Faillace, Barbara and Steve Smith, Eric Wagoner, Joel Salatin, Mark McAfee
Kristin Marie Productions
RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2011 (limited)

Back in 2008, the curtain was pulled back on the food industry in a documentary titled Food Inc., which gave us a horrific look at the large food corporations and their horrific practices, as well as the damage they’re doing to small American farms. And like any well–done documentary like it, the movie infuriated the masses, sparking an outlash toward these corporations in hopes of setting things right.

Although a lot of work still needs to be done in that area, unfortunately it also doesn’t end there. There’s many layers of the food industry we don’t see, and therefore don’t know of. Out of sight, out of mind. Which is why it’s so important for people to tell their stories and inform the public of what’s really going on; the more people that know about these things, the more voices you have fighting against it. And that’s what it’s all about: finding the voices to fight the wrongs, like real–life superheroes.


Enter Farmageddon—a new documentary about the food industry that might just anger you even more than Food Inc. did. Instead of focusing on the often disgusting practices of many of the large food corporations, Farmageddonfocuses on the FDA, the USDA, and our very own government, and the absolutely shocking and despicable acts they’re committing toward small farms each and every day.

The movie comes from director Kristin Canty, who was inspired to make it after a rough time in her own life. When her son was four years of age, doctors said he was “allergic to the world”—so badly, in fact, that he was constantly suffering and sniffling and medicated, and the family had to take many precautions to protect him, including no pets, plastic–wrapped furniture, and air purifiers. Because many of the drugs he was prescribed had negative side effects, Canty decided to try a natural remedy she had found while researching: raw milk. We’re led to believe that raw milk is dangerously bad for us if consumed, but Canty gave it a cautious try, and eventually came to realize that all of her son’s allergies had disappeared. The boy is now fifteen years of age, plays sports, and has no issues at all.

Farmageddon isn’t solely dedicated to raw milk, but it is the central focus. It’s truly unbelievable to see the measures that these government agencies go through to raid small farms and those who offer raw milk to those who prefer it…at the advice of many experts who praise the health benefits of real, fresh, raw milk. Often times raids will come early in the morning and unexpectedly. Many times the officers who show up actually have their guns drawn (in one of the cases a family—children included—were held at gunpoint for six hours while their organic farmed goods were raided). And in almost every case the raw milk, products made with raw milk (yogurt, cheese, etc…), and other organic farm items are either destroyed or confiscated from these families.

These raids are shocking to see in the footage used from security cameras and hidden cameras. These people are small–town hardworking American citizens who maintain their own farms, harvest their own goods, and sometimes offer said goods to locals who prefer organic food items, and our own government is treating them like dangerous criminals. The last time I felt this sick to my stomach watching a documentary was The Cove, and anyone who saw that one knows exactly why.

Throughout the documentary many organic farmers tell their stories and share their own experiences with government raids. These stories may be even tougher to listen to than seeing the raids. Regular everyday folks like you and me, brought to tears reminiscing about these horribly scarring experiences. A woman and her husband who spent a lot of money buying sheep for their farm, only to have them all killed for a “disease” the government had proof these sheep didn’t have before they went ahead and executed them anyway. A Mennonite man, confused why this is happening to him, raided three different times for a loss of over $65,000 worth of fresh organic foods. A woman who runs a private co-op for a hundred or so members to buy locally grown organic food thinks a serial killer has entered her home when she sees a man all dressed in black hiding behind the wall at the bottom of her stairs, pointing a gun up at her, telling her to come down slowly.

These are the things that happen every day to good honest people. And it really needs to stop. One of the farmers (who’s also featured in Food Inc.) shares that the ONLY other farmed item that’s more strictly regulated than raw milk, is marijuana. That statistic right there is a bright–light banner for how absurd the actions being taken toward small farms by our government is, and the fact that, for the most part, it’s all being done to ensure that people have no choice but to buy low–quality processed foods from the larger corporations in the big grocery stores? That’s a slap to our country’s collective face.

While the movie is an advocate for raw milk and fresh organic foods bought from local farms, the point is not to get us out there buying these things. The point of the movie is freedom. To inform us all of what’s happening, so that those who care will do something about it and fight back back for our right to choose what we want to eat. Like one mother says in the movie, you can go out to a fast food joint and eat there all day every day if you want to, you can smoke and drink through a pregnancy if you want, but you’re not able to buy these natural and organic items from local farms. Very scary to think about.

Ron Paul makes an appearance in Farmageddon as well, and he makes it pretty clear why nothing has been done: because congress doesn’t care enough about doing something. The only way they “care,” as we all know, is if and when enough people speak up about it and let them know they want something done. And that’s what people need to do to protect things like small farms. Before we know it, we’ll be taking all of our meals in Big Gulp cups a la WALL·E, and no one wants that to happen.

Now, I’m not the healthiest person on the planet. I know it sounds like I am going by the thousand or so words that came before this, but I’m really not. I believe I had raw milk one time on a farm when I was a kid, but most of my food comes from a grocery store like most other people. It’s really just seeing what people were put through in Farmageddon that really got me worked up over this problem. No innocent human being should be treated like these people have been treated, and for what; offering fresh and natural food the way our ancestors had it years and years ago? It’s appalling, really. So much so that it’s turned my “review” into a venting session.

But that’s okay, because this isn’t a documentary you should care about entertaining you. The movie is about the problems discussed here, and how they affect you and me. For that reason alone, you and everyone else should see Farmageddon at least once, and decide for yourself whether or not you want to speak up about it.

If you see the movie and want to help, you can head to the film’s website for a rundown of ways you can make a difference in this very close–to–home war being waged between government/major corporations and organic food and dairy farmers.


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