June 4, 2014
Research Project: Organic Food
The word ‘organic’ has a range of different meanings and ideas that always vary in accordance to specific people. According to the USDA NOP “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” This is actually a very well summed up idea of what the word ‘organic’ means in our trendsetting society. Organic foods are foods that are traditionally considered to be ‘backyard gardening’ foods. What about foods that are not organic, what are they called? The everyday foods in which we find in supermarkets and grocery stores are considered ‘conventional foods’. Conventional foods are simply put, foods that are focused on producing more in a shorter amount of time. Conventional food producers use a range of variables in order to grow their foods quickly and efficiently; the use of caged animals, reusing of soil/ land, growth hormones, and more. The bigger question is: should one accommodate one’s diet to the lather of the superiority of organic foods? There doesn't seem to be much of a difference healthwise overall. According to a large-scale study done by Stanford University "There isn't much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you're an adult and making a decision based solely on your health," stated researcher Dena Bravata.
In order to better understand organic, the conventions of being organic will be discussed. On the issue of farming, organic farming, as stated earlier, is basically referred to as ‘backyard gardening’. Organic farming focuses on the aspect of soil management and allowing for a more natural soil, crop rotation and diversity allowing for a more natural growth among crops, allowing livestock to in a broader sense ‘roam’ and follow a natural course of actions, and is against the use of growth hormones or ‘chemicals’. The crops are free from man made pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. These items prevent the crop from following its natural course of action in which it may or may not become withered/eaten. Animal treatment is also a big factor in understanding organic farming. Livestock that is considered organic follows its specific and natural path. Animals are free to move around and graze the grass within their vicinity. Certain livestock are also “..used in the organic farming practices by providing certain labor and recycling manure and nutrients.” (Blatt 69)
What about conventional foods in which we see everywhere in our grocery stores?
That type of food is grown conventionally, meaning, as said earlier that it has been grown to accommodate the masses. It grows its food using whatever ways it deems necessary in order to make the most, but doesn’t dip its feet too much into the ethical side. Another name for this is called “intensive farming” (Duram 99). Their practices include such things such as; confined animal feeding areas, genetically modified crops (almost all bananas are clones as natural bananas have seeds within them), heavy use of irrigation, intercropping and vertical farming, and integration. The food we find in shopping markets and that the FDA has passed has been known as ‘Generally Recognized as Safe. “The status, established by Congress in 1958, was granted to additives that had previously existed in the food supply based on unmonitored, inadequate, hit-or-miss surveys and non-existent followups.” (Deville 60). The history of organic begins with the starting grounds of agriculture. The term itself ‘organic’ was coined within the book Look to the Land in 1939 in which the stated…