By Lea L. Ever since I was little, grocery shopping has been one of my favorite activities. Once a week, for just a few hours my dad and I would search the shelves at Boston’s finest supermarkets to find the best deals on pasta and chips, the ripest fruits and vegetables, the easiest junk food to hide from my mom, and of course the best flavors of ice cream. Grocery shopping didn’t just mean spending quality time with my dad, it also meant that I had the power to decide what my family ate that week. Naturally, I only picked out the most nutritious food Stop n’ Shop had to offer including Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, Gushers, Trix Yogurt, Pillsbury Cookie Dough, Sunbelt Granola Bars, Captain Crunch, and a personal favorite Hostess Ring-Dings.
Now as I sat on the floor of the Presentation Room watching Food Inc. I realized where my delicious and somewhat nutritious food was really coming from. Images of filthy chicken coops, cruel slaughterhouses, and giant fields of genetically modified seeds flashed before my eyes. It suddenly struck me that almost every decision I had made at the grocery store with my dad in the past sixteen years has supported giant food manufacturing companies who make decisions every day that I don’t support. I can’t believe that I have gone so many years without knowing how the food I fuel my body with is made. I felt both frustrated and disgusted by the food industry. What goes on behind the closed doors of large manufacturing plants and farms is so clearly wrong, yet nothing is changing. I felt the anger that Kevin’s mother feels every day. To us it seems like such an obvious choice; we have to right the wrongs of our food industry. Humans created this industry, it is not set in stone, and we have the ability to change how and what we eat.
I remembered how lucky I felt to get to pick out my family’s snacks, dinners, and desserts each week. I had the power to decide what was put on our dinner table. What if I made the decision for my family to start eating polyface or organic food? What if I started going to farmer’s markets instead of Stop n’ Shop? Could I really be the one to change how my family thought about food? I could be that one. If I could convince my dad to buy me pizza lunchables every week, I could defiantly convince him to try a new style of eating. The choices we make when we head to the check out counter not only affect us, the consumer; they also affect the companies that we are supporting by buying their food. Do we really want to support the companies that are practicing animal cruelty and spreading food-borne illness? If I could raise my family’s awareness about food then maybe each of my three family members could spread their newfound awareness to their friends. The real issue with the food industry is that not enough people know what they’re eating. If we want to see a change in where our food comes from we have to truly understand where our food comes from. We have to take initiative and make the switch from Stop n’ Shop to farmer’s markets. We have to sacrifice for what we believe in. Our food matters, and it’s up to us to take a stand and fight for the right to eat well.