There has been a lot of public discourse and attitude towards organic foods. In crops, organic farming does not use sewage sludge, conventional pesticides, or artificial fertilizers, and the food is processed without food additives or ionizing radiation. In animals’ products, the animals are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones. There are a lot of health and environmental benefits of consuming organic foods as well as organic farming. The paper will analyze editorial articles on organic foods.
Organic foods lower the risk of medical complications that are associated with foods produced using non-conventional methods. Howard (n.p) claims that pesticides that are present in non-organic food have dangerous health consequences such as reduced fertility in women and increased chances of pregnancy loss. Moreover, the pesticides present in fruits and vegetables, though in low quantities, may cause acute and chronic medical issues to susceptible populations such as children or people with weakened immune systems. A study conducted on 325 women undergoing fertility treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital showed that women who were consuming non-organic foods had a lower chance of becoming pregnant and a 26% reduced chance of giving birth to a live baby (Howard, n.p).
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According to Naravatnam (n.p), a study that was led by Dr. Oates from RMIT University shows that eating organic foods can lower the pesticide levels in the body by 90%. The study involved comparing the levels of diammonium phosphates (DAPs) in the urine of participants after consuming organic foods for a week and consuming non-organic foods for another week. DAP constitute 70-80% of organophosphate pesticides. The fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides used in conventional farming contain chemicals that remain in, or on the food that is consumed. According to Lawrence, Segal, & Segal, (n.p), the chemical buildup from pesticide residues could cause health issues such as weakened immune system, congenital disabilities, and headaches. Additionally, some chemicals increase the risk of some cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, brain tumors, lymphoma, and leukemia. Moreover, early exposure in children can cause delays in development, harm the immune system, autism, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction. In addition, the extensive use of pesticides has led to the increase in superweeds and superbugs, which can only be controlled by the use of extremely toxic poisons, which are more dangerous to the environment and human health. It is, therefore, recommended by nutrition experts and other organization to both farmers and consumers to adopt organic farming and the consumption of organic foods to avoid the dangers associated with the use of pesticides.
Since the 1920s, most of the consumers, scientists, farmers, and other stakeholders have been in support of organic agriculture since they believe that it’s a safe way of producing enough nutritious food that can feed the world while avoiding environmental destruction and countering climate change, and at the same time improving the well-being of the farmers. Seufert and Ramankutty, (n.p) analyzed the environmental impact as well as the benefits of organic agriculture to both the consumer and producer, while compared to the conventional method of farming. When it comes to environmental impacts, organic farming is environmentally friendly since it provides higher biodiversity by hosting more birds and insects. Additionally, there are fewer greenhouse gases and chemicals emitted to the environment. To the consumer, organic foods prevent exposure to pesticides. In addition, they have higher levels of nutrients and secondary metabolites. Seufert and Ramankutty claim that the producers of organic foods profit from reduced cost by up to 35%. Since organic farming is more labor-intensive, it also provides higher employment opportunities. Moreover, the farmers avoid exposure to toxic agrichemicals.
According to Oaklander (n.p) organic foods through pricy, have many benefits that outweigh the price disadvantage. Unlike non-organic foods which are grown using synthetic fertilizers that boost their growth, organic foods are fertilized using organic matter that takes time to decompose and build the soil steadily though slowly. The organic materials used hold onto water and retain it for a longer duration while compared to non-organic fertilizers. During periods of drought, plants in farms that use organic farming have access to more water thereby producing higher yields than conventional farming. Another benefit is that organic farming uses less energy than non-organic farming. Moreover, it increases biodiversity, aids in pollination, and increases the soil quality. In addition, organic foods have higher nutrient levels such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Studlo (n.p) analyzes the health benefits of having an organic diet. Organic foods contain higher levels of vitamins and phytonutrients such as phenols, magnesium, vitamin C, and iron that boost a person’s phytol power. Magnesium, for instance, increases and improves anxiety and moods in children with deficiency. Antitoxins in the organic foods help in preventing chronic inflammation. Moreover, children consuming pesticide-free foods and foods free from artificial additives and flavors are less likely to have food sensitivity and negative food reactions.
Other than reduced pesticides, Lawrence, Segal, & Segal, cite several other benefits of consuming organic foods. Firstly, organic food is often fresh. Since the foods do not contain preservatives, the organic farms are often close to where the food is sold. Secondly, organic foods are safer for the environment. The methods of farming increase the soil fertility, reduce soil erosion, conserve water, and reduce pollution. Moreover, lack of pesticides makes it friendlier to the birds and other people living near the farms. Thirdly, the farmers do not use growth hormones, antibiotics, or animal byproducts. Consistent use of antibiotics creates antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria while animal byproducts in livestock increase the risk of mad cow disease. Fourthly, milk and meat from organically raised animals are richer in certain nutrients while compared to products from conventionally raised animals. Lastly, organic foods are free from genetically modified organisms. The genetically engineered foods have altered DNA so that they can produce an insecticide or be resistant to pesticides.
Macmillan and Naftulin (n.p) further analyze some of the scientifically proven benefits of consuming organic food. Firstly, lack of pesticides and heavy metals help in preventing other health disorders such as the prevailing ADHD in kids in the US as well as the reduced sperm quality in men. Though the organically raised foods are not less likely to contain pesticides residue, they are less likely to contain heavy metals such as cadmium because of the difference in the fertilization techniques. Cadmium is toxic, and it accumulates in the liver and the kidneys. Secondly, the additional fats found in organic foods such as milk are less saturated and healthier than the fats found in non-organic foods. The difference arises due to the way the animals are raised. Organically raised livestock spend more time outdoors with a grass-fed diet thereby reducing the accumulation of calories or saturated fats as opposed to animals raised using conventional methods. Thirdly, the lack of antibiotics or synthetic hormones in organically raised animals reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance and cancer.
In conclusion, organic food is healthy, has ecological benefits, and is socially just. The foods have several nutritional benefits that are not found in non-organic foods such as additional nutrients and vitamins. Moreover, there are no chemical residues from pesticides that are used in conventional farming thereby avoiding the various health risks associated with these chemicals. By consuming and supporting the use of organic farming, I contribute to the saving of the planet in various ways. For instance, organic food production avoids synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. Therefore, it does not damage the soil or contaminate underground water like the non-organic farming. In addition, organic farming conserves biodiversity and the ecology. The lack of pesticides and chemicals in the farm encourages more birds, insects and other animals in the farm thereby conserving the ecosystem.
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Another way in which I conserve the planet and minimize the use of fertilizers would be through hydroponics. The farming system requires less land to grow the same amount of crops thereby leaving more land for other ecological uses such as wildlife reserves and forests. It also requires less water than the amount that would be needed for growing crop in the soil. Hydroponics requires about 60% less fertilizer since nothing is lost through settling and crystallizing in the soil. In addition, there is less pesticide use because the crop is being grown indoors and there is no soil that would otherwise hold bacteria.
- Howard, Jacqueline. “Study Ties Pesticides In Food To Reduced Fertility In Women.” CNN, 2017. https://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/30/health/pesticides-in-food-fertility-study/index.html/, Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Oaklander, Mandy. “Why Organic Food Might Be Worth the High Price.” Time, 2016. http://time.com/4206738/organic-food-worth-the-price-study/, Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Navaratnam, Dinny. “Eating Organic Food Significantly Lowers Pesticide Exposure: Study.” The Conversation, 2014. https://theconversation.com/eating-organic-food-significantly-lowers-pesticide-exposure-study-26055/, Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Studlo, Ryot. “Why An Organic Diet Is A Healthy Investment, According To Nutritionists.” HuffPost, 2017. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-an-organic-diet-is-a-healthy-investment-according-to-nutritionists_us_595d5cc5e4b0615b9e8eeff5 /, Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Lawrence, Segal, & Segal, “Organic Foods: What You Need to Know.” Help Guide, 2018. Https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm /, Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Macmillan, Amanda, and Naftulin, Julia. “4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic”. Time, 2017. Http://time.com/4871915/health-benefits-organic-food/ /, Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Seufert, Verena, and Ramankutty, Navin. ” Organic farming matters — just not in the way you think.” The Conversation, 2017. https://theconversation.com/organic-farming-matters-just-not-in-the-way-you-think-74124 /, Accessed 26 June 2018.