The “Fresh” documentary is an encouraging expose about food production. The movie is quite entertaining and inspiring, I encourage you to watch it. Some primary points that the movie makes very well:
1) industrial food production is less sustainable–literally less feasible to sustain–than medium-sized free-range, organic farming operations.
In the film, free-range organic polyphasic farmer, Joel Salatin, explains how various animals grazing on a piece of land at different times yields high quality ecosystems of microorganisms in subsequently nutrient-dense soil. This biodiversity reduces disease and increases nutrient density of the animals raised on it. The farmer makes more money per acre, partially by spending nothing on fertilizer, antibiotic, pesticide, and little on feed.
From the side of science, Andrew Kimbrell relates that research proves that these “medium-sized organic farms” are more sustainable and more capable of feeding the world than “any-sized industrial farm”, primarily due to the farms ability to thrive without any external input of herbicides, chemical fertilizers, etc.
2) organic food is healthier
Journalist and researcher Michael Pollan quotes in the film a 40% decrease in nutrients found in fresh produce today than in 1950. This, with the knowledge that organic foods contain more nutrients, less harmful chemicals, hormones and antibiotics make means that the decrease is likely due to industrial food production methods.
3) Animals and farmers are happier given a non-industrial system
The conditions of industrial food preparation are both physically and psychologically stressful for animals and workers. This point is simply made by the pictures themselves–this third truth isn’t one necessarily for placebo controlled trials–if you watch the movie, you’ll know that the above statement is true.
In summation, organic, free-range farming betters the health and happiness of animals, farmers, and consumers. This health is not merely physical, but psychological and moral. I greatly recommend you watch the movie and encourage you to pay an extra buck on produce and save yourself money in the long run.