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There have been many different food trends over the years. We have been told about eating low fat diets, zero carb diets, and now organic. If you are like many others, there is a good chance that you have heard that organic foods are healthier to eat. They contain more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and taste than engineered produce do. Organic foods are also free from insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, fertilizers and a whole host of other toxic artificial additives, flavorings, colorings and preservatives.
Organic foods are better tasting, more nutritional, better on the environment, and ethically more appealing. What does it mean for food to be organic? When food is grown naturally, it is considered organic; that is, without the use of synthetic pesticides, irradiation, artificial fertilizers, or biotechnology. The growing and tending process is what really defines a food as organic. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the soil is thoroughly tested and must be free of chemical exposure for at least three years.
The food farmers produce must be free of any chemical or genetically engineered ingredients and must not have been raised or produced with any drugs or hormones. Organic certification procedures require that the food producer and/or distributor keep detailed written records (of where, when, and how the food was produced) and keep the organic food segregated from non-organic food if working with both foods (United). The term “organic food” is not a new concept. It has been around for as long as agriculture has been on the earth.
Food was organic until someone decided to change the way that food was produced.
Within the last century a large supply of synthetic chemicals were introduced into the food supply. Farmers, in fear of insects, started using pesticides to kill the insects. They also used synthetic fertilizers (especially nitrogen) to make plants grow fast. Nitrogen-driven growth produces weak, watery, and overly leafy plants which are more vulnerable to insects causing farmers to use more pesticides. Pesticide spraying has contributed to serious health problems for workers on these farms. In the article “The Truth About Organic Foods,” Jessica.
DeCostole writes “Some studies have linked pesticides in our food to everything from headaches to cancer to birth defects — but many experts maintain that the levels in conventional food are safe for most healthy adults. ” Most of the pesticides and fertilizers run off, polluting streams, rivers, oceans, fisheries, and drinking water. Organic farming does not use as harsh of chemicals as conventional farming. This makes it better on the soil and the water supply. People who oppose organic farming argue that organic farming requires twice as much land to grow the same amount of food as conventional farming does.
Organic farming may require more land, but it is not double as what conventional farming uses. While organic farming usually requires more land, it is not double. Since the soil is not being depleted, organic farmers can use their land for longer periods of time. Organic farming can also produce higher yields and profits when it is done correctly. According to Jane Goodall in Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, the top 25 percent of sustainable farmers who farm without the use of chemicals have higher yields than industrial farmers in the United States (161).
There’s no question that organic foods are frequently more expensive than comparable conventional foods. Some of this can be attributed to the reduced production costs that can be achieved through commercial fertilizer and chemicals. Some of the price difference can also be attributed to the economies of scale enjoyed by the large multinational food companies, but these food systems are not on a level playing field. U. S. farm policy infuses billions of dollars into the conventional food system and keeps commodity prices artificially low.
In the article “Seriously, Now – Why Aren’t Organics Getting Affordable,” Christy Harrison states “Conventional crops are heavily subsidized by the federal government in the United States, making them artificially inexpensive. Couple those subsidies — which have been in place since the New Deal — with the cost of cleaning up pollution and treating health problems created by conventional farming, and we’re paying a lot in taxes in order to pay a pittance at the grocery store. ” Furthermore, conventional crops have been aided by decades of public and private research and development.
Organic food systems receive only a tiny fraction of the agricultural research funds. The problem is not so much that organic foods are expensive; it’s that government policy has made conventional foods too cheap and that hurts farmers, rural communities and the environment. Effectively reducing the price discrepancy requires changes in public policy and strengthened food regulations. As consumers, the best thing we can do to reduce the costs of local and organic is to purchase local and organic. As more consumers choose organic, and a larger network of organic farmers develop innovative practices, prices will inevitably narrow between conventional and organic products.
The growing organic market will also induce more public and private investment. Some argue that organic food doesn’t necessarily taste better than conventional food. Taste is subjective though. It is one of the five senses able to detect the flavor of substances. The flavor of food in the mouth is partially contributed to taste. Smell is also a factor. “The aroma of food contributes up to 80% of what we perceive as taste” (Benefits). The difference between conventional food and organic food is that conventional food contains preservatives to make it last longer.
Organic food does not. It is often produced on farms near where it is sold, so it tends to be fresher when eaten. Consumers need to be careful though when buying organic. Multi-national corporations have started to buy some of the organic lines on the market, creating organic factory farms. These farms “produce monocrops and ship the product cross-country” (Goodall 164). Shipping the food from these monocrops across the country is a bad thing for the environment. Those against organic foods argue that it is not any more nutritious than conventionally grown food.
In an interview with Dan Childs of ABC News, Robyn Flipse states “There is no good evidence that organically grown plants or animals are nutritionally superior to conventionally grown. ” Many studies have been attempted to determine if organic food is more nutritious to conventional food, but the problem is variability in how these studies have been conducted. It is difficult to compare findings when there is so much variability (Prosser). It is possible for organically grown fruits and vegetables to contain slightly higher levels of Vitamin C, trace minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients.
It all depends on how it is grown. Foods depend on soil and water for their nourishment, and cleaner soil and water means cleaner food. It is that simple. It is important for us to make a commitment to living a healthier life, and eating healthy is one way to do that. It isn’t just about eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good fats. We also need to consider food safety, nutrition, and sustainability.
How our foods are grown and raised affects the environment as well as our health. According to Samuel Fromartz in Organic, Inc., “Buying and consuming organic food has come to be viewed not only as a means of avoiding harm, but as a benefit in itself, a personal way of aligning nutrition, health, and social and environmental well-being” (16). Clearly, more research on the possible health benefits of organic foods is needed. That is not the only reason why people are buying them, but it is an important one, and we need more data. Still, it is fair to say that critics are clearly wrong when they try to argue that there is “no evidence whatsoever” that organics are better than conventional foods.
More evidence is needed, but there are some early signs that organic supporters may have been right all along. Works Cited “The Benefits of Organic Food: Why Organic Food is Better. ” Natural Health Guide. Natural Health Guide, 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. Childs, Dan. “Are Organic Foods Better for You? ” ABC News. ABC News, 29 Nov. 2006. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. DeCostole, Jessica. “The Truth About Organic Foods. ” Redbook. Redbook. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. Fromartz, Samuel. Organic, Inc. Orlando: Harcourt Books, 2006. Print. Goodall, Jane, Gary McAvoy, and Gail Hudson. Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating.
New York: Time Warner Book Group, 2005. Print. Harrison, Christy. “Seriously, Now – Why Aren‘t Organics Getting Affordable? ” Grist. Grist, 25 Aug. 2005. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. Prosser, Erin. “Nutritional Differences in Organic versus Conventional Foods: And the Winner Is…” Scientific American. Scientific American, 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. United States Dept. of Agriculture. National Organic Program. US Dept. of Agriculture, April 2008. PDF file. Self Evaluation I was not aware of using any of the rhetorical strategies while writing this piece. When I write, I research my topic and just write what comes to mind.
It is not something that I think about when writing. As I look back at what I have written, I see that I have used a combination of these strategies. I would say that I have used ethos by using proper grammar. I am always watching my spelling and punctuation while writing. It is something that I cannot ignore. I am not like some people that just write and go back and edit afterward. I do most of my editing as I write. I have shown pathos by trying to appeal to the reader’s emotions about our health and environment. I have shown logos by the credible sources I have used, like Jane Goodall.
In this piece, I mention a few of the arguments against organic food and counter them with why they are wrong. There are many who are against organic food, but their reasons for being against it do not hold up well. I was able to show sources that backed up why the reasons against organic food are wrong. I really cannot say that any of the techniques (reading responses, writerly practices, or peer reviews) helped me. The peer review for my rough draft was available for me to review for this paper. It was nice to have some feedback on my paper, though I do not feel it made a difference.
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