Editor’s Note: This post was provided by one of our paid sponsors, Earth Cinema Circle, the only DVD club dedicated to increasing social & environmental awareness through entertaining films. Written by Ariellie Ford.
Behind America’s 99-cent hamburgers and 72-ounce sodas is a key ingredient that silently fuels our fast-food nation — Corn. In KING CORN, we meet two college buddies, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, who move from the east coast to the heartland to really learn where their food comes from. They relocate to northern Iowa, home of their great-grandfathers, with a mission. They will plant an acre of corn, follow their harvest into the world, and attempt to understand what all of us are really made of — Corn. This entertaining and informative film is now available from Earth Cinema Circle. The following is from an interview with Curt Ellis, co-producer of the film.
AF: How did you get started on this journey?
Curt: Ian Cheney & I were graduating from college and realized we knew next to nothing about the food we were eating every day. It felt like our education was incomplete. On a whole other level, the obesity and diabetes epidemic caught our attention. We saw a report that said people of our generation were likely to have a shorter life expectancy than our parents. We decided to look into this and fill the gap in our education because we wanted to understand where our food was coming from. In the process of trying to learn more about our diet, we had our hair analyzed and discovered that the actual carbon in our bodies is more than half corn. Ian found out he was 58% corn and I was 53% corn. We were pretty shocked.
AF: What inspired you to plant your own acre of corn and “experience” the farming process and why Iowa?
Curt: We felt like if we didn’t know that we were half corn then others probably didn’t know it as well. We decided to “tell” this story and we thought the best way to learn about the role of corn was to grow it ourselves and follow it to market. We moved to Iowa and grew one acre of corn in the way a typical farmer would grow 1,000 acres of corn. We used genetically modified feed, anhydrous ammonia fertilizer and a $400,000 combine. We grew 10,000 pounds of corn. That’s enough to sweeten 57,000 cans of soda or make 4,000 corn-fed hamburgers.
AF: What was the mission of your film and what can people do to make a real difference?
Curt: Our film developed a mission along the way. The mission is to help more people understand where their food is coming from and to understand the policies that drive the way we eat. With some simple changes in farm and food policy, we can make some big strides in helping all Americans get access to healthy, affordable and fresh food.