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.