Picky Eater

April 15, 2008, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“For the first time in American history, our generation was at risk of having a shorter lifespan than our parents. And it was because of what we ate.”
—Curt Ellis, KING CORN filmmaker

Behind America’s dollar hamburgers and 72-ounce sodas is a key ingredient that quietly fuels our fast-food nation: corn. In KING CORN, recent college graduates Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis leave the east coast for rural Iowa, where they decide to grow an acre of the nation’s most powerful crop.

Corn is everywhere—in everything from apples to antifreeze, body lotion to batteries, margarine to magazines.

The story of corn’s ubiquity is a long one: a complex tale that begins more than 6,000 years ago in the dry valleys of Mesoamerica and continues on today in grocery store aisles—and the halls of Congress.

Grown on every continent except Antarctica, planted on 93 million acres of United States land, and finding its way into nearly everything on the dinner table, the humble corn plant may just be the most influential crop that society has ever seen.

“If you’re standing in a field in Iowa, there’s an immense amount of food being grown, none of it edible. The commodity corn, nobody can eat. It must be processed before we can eat it. It’s a raw material—it’s a feedstock for all these other processes. And the irony is that an Iowa farmer can no longer feed himself.”
—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma

April 15, 10 pm on PBS



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