I can’t remember where I heard of this movie, but it had been on my list since last year. King Corn documents two friends who move from Boston to Iowa to grow an acre of corn. In the process of determining where their crop will end up once it’s harvested, they learn all about the increasing use of corn in the US food system.
If you’ve read much on food these days (think Food, Inc. or Michael Pollen, who’s interviewed in the film), you probably have an idea of the role corn plays in US food. Still, this movie focuses just on corn, and it was really interesting to me, despite already having an idea of where all the corn goes in the US (basically, everywhere). Almost everything Americans eat contains corn: high fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based processed foods are the staples of the modern diet.
If you see this just after Dirt! The Movie, as I did, you’ll be horrified by everything they spray on their crop: ammonia fertilizer and herbicide (they’re using GMO corn that’s resistant, more on that in tomorrow’s post). And that’s how it’s done these days on US monoculture farms.
If you’re interested in other documentaries, director and Producer Aaron Woolf directed Greener Grass: Cuba, Baseball, and The United States, a WNET-ITVS co-production that won a Rockie Award and aired on PBS. In 2003, Aaron directed Dying to Leave: The Global Face of Human Trafficking and Smuggling, which won a Logie Award and aired on the PBS series Wide Angle.