The movie starts with heart-warming scenes of an aerial view of beautiful crop lands, a man baling straw with old equipment, a man on horseback herding cattle on a mountain range, and a nifty red barn, its white-rail fences, surrounding green pastures, and fluffy white clouds floating by in the sky. Then as a mysterious voice drones on, the camera backs away and the scenes turn out to be posters in a supermarket.
Now I recognize the voice, it’s Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and he says: The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000. But the image used to sell the food is still the imagery of Aquarian America. Then comes the movie’s first, of many, low blows to the American farmer/rancher when Eric says, You go to the supermarket and you see pictures of farmers, the picket fence, and the silo, and the farm house, and the green grass. It’s the spinning of the pastorale fantasy. In other words, Eric is saying that farmers and ranchers are no longer participants in food production.
Then Eric comments about the modern grocery store. He starts with its 47,000 products, year around produce and then ominously talks about foreign produced, green picked, ripened with Ethylene gas, tasteless tomatoes. Then he says it’s not a tomato, it’s kind of a notional tomato, it’s the idea of a tomato. He offers no explanations for his comments, just leaves them hanging which effectively implies the consumer is being deceived.