Last week I invited Curt Ellis, a local film producer, to our office to
discuss his new film “King Corn.” The film is the story of Curt and his
friend, Ian Cheney, who decide to leave their Boston-area apartment and move
to rural Iowa to plant, grow and harvest a one-acre plot of corn. Curt and
Ian then follow their corn through the food system to see where it ends up.
King Corn is much more than a story about two city kids growing corn; it is a
powerful and accessible story about how our food system, and the policies behind it, have changed what farms produce and how, and what we end up
Watching the film with my two school-aged kids, one image from the film
stands out in my mind: mountains and mountains of surplus corn, fifty feet
tall. Where does all that corn go? Into the snack food that my kids and
their friends eat everyday. Those mountains of corn get processed into the
one of the most common ingredients of the American diet: a cheap sweetener called
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Many experts link HFCS to the recent
epidemic of childhood obesity.
After watching the film, my kids and I came up with a fun idea: we would
see if we could go a whole week without eating products that contain HFCS.
The very next morning, as I made and packed my kids’ lunches, I realized how
difficult this would be. The more expensive whole grain “all natural” wheat
bread I used to make their sandwiches listed HFCS as the third ingredient!
The experiment would have to be delayed — the sandwiches were made. On my
next trip to the grocery store I will take the time to buy bread, and other
foods, that don’t contain HFCS. My kids and I are determined to succeed
with this challenge!
King Corn goes beyond the corn fields, taking the viewer to the board rooms and in to the Halls of Congress to understand the intricate ways corn has reshaped our entire physical and social landscape. To see a trailer of the film and learn more, visit:http://www.kingcorn.net