Live from the Union Square subway:  A big food message that tips its hat to changing consumer perception.  When I saw this poster, the first thing I thought of was the film King Corn.  The filmmakers explain that grass-fed cows used to take 2-3 years to get fat and ready for our beef consumption.  Once we started feeding them corn, however, they got to the same weight in just 15 months.  By changing the diet of our cows, we’re forcing them into false maturation.  With this, and so many of our industrial food ways, we wrestle nature into the ground.

More and more, activist groups like Slow Food USA, are putting reason back on the table.  It takes time and thoughtfulness to make real food.  This Simply Orange ad isn’t all good, nor all bad.  But it’s interesting to think about its context.  Why would this be their message now?  The food revolution is making its way through the mass media channels.  What do you think?

Live from the Union Square Subway

Please, let’s not pretend that you have something to do on Monday night.  I’ll see you there.

Where’s there?  At the debut of Big River, the latest film by Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney. It’s the follow-up to their 2007 documentary, King Corn, where they travel to the county of their great-grandfathers in Iowa and grow an acre of corn.  They drive from Massachusetts, but the real distance they cross is the gap in our knowledge of what it means to be a farmer today.

When the guys first walk on to the field, one of them asks, “So, how big is an acre?”.  It’s the first of many questions they answer by working the land and interviewing Iowa farmers.  In the end, they produce nearly 180 bushels of corn on their acre; their great-grandfathers would have been thrilled with 40 bushels.  These yield numbers suggest progress, but no one seems happy.  “We’re growing crap,” explains one farmer who doesn’t serve the crop to his own family.

In Big River, Ian and Curt paddle down the Mississippi River to investigate the effects of toxic farming pesticides on the waterway, particularly the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.  I’m eager to learn what they uncover from their first question to the last.

Come one and come all!  Here are the event details:

Monday, March 15, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (Screening at 7:00 PM)

Brecht Forum 451 West Street (btwn. Bank and Bethune Sts.) Manhattan

Tickets FSNYC Members – $25 Non-members – $35 Tickets may be purchased here.

Refreshments generously donated by: The New York Wine & Grape Foundation, the Good Beer Seal, the Cleaver Company, Hot Bread Kitchen, Lucy’s Whey, and Martin’s Pretzels.  Event proceeds benefit the Food Systems Network of New York.

Photo courtesy of