Importance of Organic Foods Essay
The definition of organic agriculture is farming with the use of synthetic chemicals. After World War II, larger and increasingly automated farms, known as “factory farms,” put the synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides developed in the 1920s into widespread use. They found that more crops could be produced mass produced. What they did not realize were the dangers of using these chemicals and the effects they would have on the environment and human health. The USDA must approve all products claiming to be organic and there are many strict guidelines farmers must follow.
Farmers must abstain from the use of prohibited materials (pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and sewage sludge) for three years prior to being certified organic and then continue these practices throughout their organic license. They must employ positive soil burning, conservation, manure management and crop rotation. They must provide outdoor access and pastures for livestock and refrain from the use of antibiotics and hormones in their animals, while sustaining livestock on 100% organic feed.
Farmers may not use genetically modified organisms or irradiation. Organic products are grown in healthier soil and contain higher levels of nutrients and non-organics. Many organic may even taste better. Food irradiation is worse than the radiation from a television or microwave. The ionizing radiation processes used on food break up molecules and deplete food of essential vitamins and enzymes. Many pesticides are linked to diseases. An example is glufosinate, which is commonly used on sugar beets and canola, has been shown to cause birth defects.
Chemical companies influence the government to raise the acceptable levels of chemicals in foods so that they can make more money on their product without concern for the environment and the safety of people. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging the use of biosolids (human waste) to be used as fertilizers in order to solve the problem of there being too much waste than they know what to do with. They problem is that industrial waste and toxic chemicals get mixed in. Many toxins such as PCBs, DDT, asbestos, dioxins, and toxic heavy metals are being used in the cultivation of food.
Yuck. Another problem we face is the use of hormones and antibiotics in our livestock. Bovine growth hormones end up in our dairy products, and those BGHs and linked to prostate and breast cancer. The ingestion of antibiotics can damage the balance of beneficial bacteria in our bodies and create drug-resistance, so that if we really get sick, antibiotics may not work anymore. Many people may try to eat healthier by cutting down on fast-foods and processed foods by eating more fruits and vegetables, but this can even defeat itself.
For example, non-organic spinach contains for pesticide residue than any other fruit or vegetable. The twelve most contaminated crops are: strawberries, green and red bell peppers, spinach, cherries (US), peaches, cantaloupe (Mexico), celery, apples, apricots, green beans, grapes (Chile), and cucumbers. More than 90% of all pesticides used don’t even reach the desired plant they were used on! There are many reasons to buy organic foods. You will protect future generations- decrease the cancer causing pesticides in foods.
You will prevent soil erosion- soil is the foundation of our food chain, and chemicals fertilizers deplete healthy soil. You will protect water quality- water makes of three-fourths of the planet, and the EPA has estimated that pesticides contaminate the ground water in over thirty-eight states. You will save energy- modern farming uses more petroleum than any other industry, but organic farming is based mainly on labor intensive practices and uses green manure to build up soil.
You’ll keep chemicals off of your plate- the EPA considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30% of insecticides carcinogenic. You will protect farm worker health- over one million people are poisoned annually by pesticides, and farmers exposed to herbicides have a six times greater risk of contracting cancer. You’ll help small farmers- most organic farms are small and independently owned, and the US has lost more and 650, 000 family farms in the past decade. You’ll promote biodiversity- insects become genetically resistant to insecticides, and soil is left lacking natural minerals and nutrients if chemicals are used.
And the number one reason to buy organic- your food will taste better and contain more essential vitamins and nutrients! Pittsburgh Organic and some helpful websites:
East End Food Co-op 7516 Meade Street PGH, PA 15208 412-242-3598 E House Company 1511 East Carson Street PGH, PA 412-488-7455 www. eastendfood. coop www. nascigs. com -request a free carton of smokes! www. cleanvibes. com www. organicconsumers. org www. odemagazine. net www. organickitchen. com www. sare. org www. themeatrix. com.
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