“King Corn” to air on PBS Tuesday April 15th

I’ve been wanting to see the documentary King Corn for months now and I’ll finally have the chance when it airs on PBS next week. King Corn is a offbeat, feature-length documentary which follows two recent college graduates on their quest to unlock the troubling mysteries of the U.S. corn industry.

“What’s the big deal about corn?” you might ask.

Corn and its byproducts are found in just about every processed food item in the grocery store. You probably eat corn at every meal without even being aware of it.

Of greatest concern in regards to justice is that corn is the most subsidized industry in the U.S., to the tune of $10 billion in the year 2000. Through the wonders of government subsidies and free trade (not to be confused with fair trade), U.S. corn farmers are able to sell their corn to poor countries like Mexico at a lower rate than the Mexican farmers can produce it themselves. According to Oxfam and the New York Times, as a result of the U.S.’s corn dumping millions of Mexican farmers can no longer make a living and are now unemployed or, if they’re lucky, have illegally immigrated to the U.S. Ah the irony.

Have you already seen King Corn? What did you think? If you haven’t be sure to check it out when it airs next week. In Portland it’s airing at 10pm on April 15th. Check your local listings to find out when it will show in your area.

Side note: I also recommend Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma for an in-depth look at corn and the entire U.S. food industry. You’ll never eat the same again. I’ll save any further comments on that wonder of a book for a future blog posting.



  1. Lorie Dolo said,

    April 10, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Have you read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver? She and her family move to Tennesee and live for a whole year eating what is locally produced within a 100 mile radius of their homes. It has recipes and reflections from the family on their adventure. While not specific to corn, it talks about the impact that eating from local sources can have on reducing our fuel consumption. I think I’ve heard that the average food we eat has traveled 1,500 miles before reaching our table. As fuel prices continue to rise it will continue to have an impact on food prices and perhaps food choices. Here’s a website dedicated to that topic http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/

  2. KarenP said,

    April 12, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    We borrowed Luke’s copy and saw it a few days ago. Absolutely fascinating. Great companion to Omnivore’s Dilemma. Have you read Pollan’s follow-up, “In Defense of Food” yet? I’m about half way through and find it absolutely mind-blowing. Last night we watched “Killowatt Ours,” a documentary on clean/green energy that we also borrowed from Luke. We’ll be returning them tomorrow. Maybe you can borrow them next, if he doesn’t have a line waiting!

  3. Beth said,

    April 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    To respond to both of you, I have read “In Defense of Food” but haven’t yet read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” although it’s on my mental list of books to read. Michael Pollan really changed the way I think about food and the impact my food choices have on people, the planet, and my body. I’ll be blogging soon I’m sure about Pollan’s books and what I’m doing in response. Tomorrow it will be buying my groceries at the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market!

  4. kathieG said,

    April 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks, Beth, for this way to share ideas and yearnings on these important topics. Luke loaned me a CD of Michael Pollan’s talk aired on Alternative Radio (I think) called ‘The Cornification of Food’. Really quite unbelievable how much of our world (and not merely what we eat) comes from corn!

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