But no one addressed the environmental harm caused by today’s industrial food complex. Nowhere in the photo-montage did American audiences see the toxic pollution caused by today’s farming practices.
Recently, food as a social and political phenomenon has exploded within our mediascape. From foodie-porn films to documentaries exposing the underbelly of food production, we are inundated with the cultural and environmental impacts of food and how we can and should change our consumption patterns. Go Vegan. Eat Organic. Buy Local. As Michael Pollen says, “vote with every bite you take.”
In other words, change your pattern of consumption.
As much as food activists will tell you it is cheaper to buy local, go vegan and eat organic, limiting the issue of food to a frame of consumption limits our potential to change the world. Expert framer George Lakoff (2010) claims that saving the environment must become idealistic of necessity. In other words, it’s not just about shopping at the farmer’s markets on Sundays and having Meatless Mondays, it’s about the natural world being destroyed and our “moral imperative to preserve and reconstitute as much of it as possible as soon as possible.” It is, according to Lakoff, about the destruction of our earth.
But what if we reframed it to be about the destruction of the people who inhabit the earth?
Lakoff compares the environmental movement to civil-rights and feminism– all movements about people. And based on the overwhelming response to Dodge’s Superbowl ad, the farmer made a lot of people thinking about change. Nowhere in the montage did we see the harmful realities of the industrial food complex, rather we saw the farmers who we imagine to grow our food, and the farmers made American notice. The original version by Farms.com, shown here, and the response to the Superbowl ad by Cuéntame offered much more realistic versions of who those farmers actually are, as compared to Dodge’s whitewashed version, but either way, whoever the faces may be, it’s the faces that cause change. It’s the faces of the people, of the farmers, who just might be the key to protecting our earth by changing our food system.