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Whitfield

Shelby Whitfield
Instructor: Malcolm Campbell
UWRT 1103
April 10, 2016

Your Health Matters: Organic Food Production vs. Conventional Food Production

The organic food industry is thriving in our present-day world and has created
double-digit growth to become a $39.1 billion industry in the year of 2015. Many ask,
what is the difference between conventional food products and organic food products?

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This question is tested frequently and scientists everywhere are creating studies that will
answer this long heated debate and give the public what theyve been demanding. There
are many factors that revolve around the topic organic; there are processes and people
that make organic food production happen. Throughout this essay, both sides of this longheated debate will be displayed along with information on topics such as GMOs, organic

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farming, and nutritious facts.


Organic farming refers to agricultural production systems that farm without the
use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified seed (Organic Farming
Research Foundation). Not only does the production of organic products help our bodies,
but our environment as well. Within organic farming, production practices are used to
enhance our ecosystem such as biological pest control, no-till or minimum tillage, habitat
maintenance for beneficial insects and vertebrates, and water management practices.
These ecologically protective practices improve the quality of water, the biodiversity, as

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well as the health of the soil. Pests begin to build up an immunity to the pesticides
causing us to come up with something stronger to kill the pests, which results in harsher
environmental problems. Organic farming reduces the problems of the greenhouse effect
and global warming because of the process, which doesnt involve chemicals. Organic
farming can be known as the agricultural system that works in harmony with nature due
to its environmental benefits and healthy ways.
The process of organic farming is mostly straightforward; it begins with
cultivating the right soil at the right time, making sure everything is in place for the
process to begin. Next comes the careful use of water resources and good animal
husbandry. Animal husbandry is the science of breeding and caring for farm animals by
humans, which involves the production of meat, milk and eggs. After the husbandry of
animals, natural pesticides come into play. However, the pesticides in organic farming
must come from natural resources instead of being synthetically manufactured - meaning
no use of chemicals. Also, these natural pesticides must be applied using equipment that

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decreased over time and has created a mess
within conventional farming.

has not been used to apply synthetic materials on crops for the past three years, and the
land being planted cannot have been treated with synthetic materials for that period
either (Hom). After the crops have been treated with natural pesticides, recycled
organic wastes, such as crop residues, waste, farm industrial waste, and multiple sewage

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wastes are used. These recycled organic wastes are valuable sources of plant nutrients
and are organic fertilizers for the crops. Due to human pollution in tropical and
subtropical soil, there is an overall shortage of organic carbon and plant nutrients. Green
manure is created by uprooted crop parts that serve as a mulch; this is commonly
associated with organic farming and plays a very important role in sustainable annual

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cropping systems. Green manures usually execute multiple functions that help with soil
improvement and protection, allowing the soil to regain fertility after its harvest. Another
factor that contributes to soil fertility is crop rotation, which is an approach to which crop
to place where in the farm annually. This process begins so that there is an increase in the
genetic diversity of the farm. After the genetic diversity has begun, the use of resistant
crops are used to sustain the crops life span. The fertilizers are either created locally by
green manuring and crop rotation or on-farm via worm farming and composting. Worm
farming is when worms eat the organic waste from the farm and turn it ito liquid

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fertilizers (Australian Government). Biodynamic farmers use a low cost microbial


solution that is sprayed on their crops that in turn significantly lowers the expensiveness
of insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides. Biodynamic farming is an ecological and
ethical approach (Biodynamic Association). This contribution creates lower input costs
for the farmers and helps them save money.
As the organic farming production seems enticing and safe, recent studies and
article writers have disagreed. There has been a hot debate over whether or not these
products make a difference in ones health and if its worth it to buy such an expensive

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item just because its labeled organic.


Conventional farming refers to industrial agricultural systems that use synthetic
fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other continual outputs such as genetically modified
organisms (Organic Farming Research Foundation). Most conventional farming methods
develop of a wide range of off-farm inputs that creates a successful, efficient farm with
flourishing crops. If the soil does not have a certain amount of minerals, then farmers will
purchase minerals that are bagged in the form of synthetic fertilizers from a farm supply

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store. If there is not enough water accessible to the farm, farmers install irrigation pumps
and natural gas is used to run the pumps and irrigate the fields with groundwater, creating
soiled water for the crops. Insects may infest crops and become a threat to them, so if this
were to happen, the farmers would buy pesticides and spray these on the crops to prevent
further insect infestation on the crops. These methods in turn can pose a risk to health by
contaminating the soil, the water, and the air with levels of synthetic chemicals that
cannot be obtained by the earth, meaning they diminish the ecosystem and the
biodiversity. The earth isnt able to sustain the synthetic chemicals given off by these
fertilizers. Another method that is used in conventional farming is mono cropping; mono
cropping, also known as minimum crop rotation, is the practice of growing one single
crop year after year on the same land. This method causes a loss of nutrients and minerals
within the crops. When this happens, minerals are added back into the soil in the form of
hydrocarbon-based fertilizers and mined minerals such as phosphate, so that the crops
will grow back on the depleted soil. Conventional farming is highly dependent on earthbased, non-renewable resources, which causes a gradual reduction in our natural
resources. One can observe the environmental benefits are not strong in this method of
farming. Monocultures, growing a single crop in a farm, and resulting poor health will
cause infestations of insects, diseases, and weeds, therefore lowering the biodiversity,
which, in this case, requires synthetic pesticides and herbicides to be used, further
destroying the soil biology. The pros that come out of conventional farming are that the
costs of farming and food production are low, which is extremely attractive to lowincome families and the public in general, as well as the fact that there are more job
opportunities available, which is important nowadays. All of these factors are really what

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the public sees when they look at conventional farming; there are very few people that
really consider the health risks. In our present day economy, the only thing that matters is

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money and job opportunities, which makes conventional produce and food production
more appealing.
GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, strike a big discussion. So, whats all
the talk about? GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially
manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering according to the NON GMO
Project. This moderately new science creates plant, animal, and viral genes that arent
naturally made or that occur in traditional crossbreeding methods. The long-term impacts
of GMOs are unknown and once they are released into the environment, the organisms

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cannot be withdrawn. Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for
herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15
times since GMOs were introduced stated the Non GMO Project Unfortunately, GMO
crops are the reason the environment has seen the introduction of super weeds and
super bugs which require only a harsher, more toxic chemical to kill them off. GMOs

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are banned in most developed regions like Japan, Australia, and every country in the
European Union. On the other hand, the U.S. government has approved GMOs based on
recent studies that the same corporations that created them and profit off of them have
released. Americans are starting to see the harsh risks of GMOs and are beginning to take
steps forward in banning these harmful organisms. GMOs are becoming extremely
common and are seen in as much as 80% of conventionally processed foods. GMOs will
forever contaminate our planet due to their cross pollination and traveling of seeds.

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Mentioned earlier, GMOs may never be withdrawn, once theyre out in the environment,
there is no way of cleaning them up.
The price of organic food has skyrocketed compared to what it was years ago; this
is due to the amount of attention organic food production has received in recent years.
The public wonders whether the price is worth it or not but the real question is where
they want their health to stand in coming years. The reason that prices are so high is
because of the greater labor input, better living conditions for the livestock, and the idea
that the supply of organic foods are limited compared to the demand. Greater labor input
means that the farms have to hire more workers to produce the organic crops. The fact
that the standards for animal welfare have become so high means that there are higher
costs for organic farms. Conventional farmers use all of these chemicals and synthetic
pesticides because they end up reducing the cost of production by getting the job done
faster and more efficiently. A very recommended money saving tip is to get most of your
organic food from local farmers markets.
Organic foods are much more nutritious for the body considering the high amount
of essential minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamin C. Phytonutrients are plant compounds
other than vitamins and minerals, such as enzymes, antioxidants, and bioflavonoids. For
example, smaller organically grown oranges contained thirty percent more vitamin C than
the larger conventionally grown oranges. Cattle, sheep, and pigs that are raised to eat
organically had fewer health problems, better growth and fertility and lower fat content
compared to animals fed conventional feed. Conventionally raised cattle feed ingredients
include horse protein, tallow, blood products, pork remainders, poultry brain, spinal cord,
and manure. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water

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conservation and reduce pollution. This includes natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants
and using crop rotation to manage the weeds. Organic foods might look the same as
conventional food but the nutrients in organics outweigh the nutrients in conventionally
grown food. The pesticides in conventional food block the plants ability to produce the
nutrients; this doesnt happen with organic food because they dont follow the same
process and do without the use of pesticides.
Organic food also reduces risk factors of many diseases. Organic foods are free
from hormones, pesticides/herbicides, artificial coloring, antibiotic, neurotoxins, etc. A
lot of these attributes are found in conventionally grown foods. Certain cancers are found
in 60% of herbicides, Parkinsons disease is found in 70% of pesticides, and brain
damage can become a result of neurotoxins. Antioxidants are molecules that help fight
off illnesses and diseases. The antioxidant level is higher in organic fruits and vegetables
due to the freshness. Local, organic foods get distributed much faster, reducing the shelf
life and time from it being removed from its vine, which kills the antioxidants the longer
the shelf life. The residue thats found on many crops and left in the water exposes the
population to many of the leading illnesses. Seeing all of the risk factors in
conventionally grown food would make the public want to switch to organic foods, but,
unfortunately, these risk factors arent broadcasted like they should be. Whether its
reducing our behavioral or environmental risk, organic foods protect us from many
illnesses and diseases that are populating today.
There are so many factors and aspects that correlate when the discussion of
organic food production and conventional food production arise. People only see the
highlight reel of what goes on rather than the behind-the-scenes perspective. The public

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needs to be exposed to these harsh facts and see what really goes on within each food
production process to fully develop an informed and educated opinion about each of them
and their preferences concerning them. Studies and facts have proven that the organic
food production process is a much more healthy lifestyle and should be carried out by
more people. I, myself, used to think that conventionally processed food and organic food
were the same but after being educated on both food production processes, I have
completely changed my opinion. I now believe that the price is worth it when youre
investing in your health rather than just the food you eat. I hope that all of the studies that
prove the organic lifestyle to be more nutritious are more broadcasted to the public so
they can really see what theyre eating when they put a conventionally processed food
product in their body.

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Deleted: . There is plenty of information and
studies that show the results of each process;
once read, one might change the way they live
based on what they read.
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Works Cited

"6 Pros and Cons of Conventional Farming - HRFnd." HRFnd. Health Research Funding,
03 Aug. 2015. Web. 9 Apr. 2016.

"Advantages and Disadvantages Organic Farming: Its Pros and Cons." Fantastic Farms.
Web. 8 Apr. 2016.

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Organic Farming: Its Pros and Cons.
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"GMO Facts." The NonGMO Project RSS. The NonGMO Project RSS. Web. 6 Apr.
2016.

"Greening Princeton". Princeton.edu. Princeton University. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Hom, Louis. "Pestcides in Organic Farming." Pestcides in Organic Farming. Web. 9


Apr. 2016.

"Market Analysis." Organic Trade Association. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

"Nutrition and Healthy Eating." Organic Foods: Are They Safer? More Nutritious? Mayo
Clinic, 9 June 2014. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.

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"Organic FAQs." Organic Farming Research Foundation. Organic Farming Research
Foundation, 2012. Web. 7 Apr. 2016.

Shim, Youn K., Steven P. Mlynarek, and Edwin van Wijngaarden. "Parental Exposure To
Pesticides And Childhood Brain Cancer: U.S. Atlantic Coast Childhood Brain
Cancer Study". Environ Health Perspect 117.6 (2009): 1002-1006. Web. 21 Apr.

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2016.

Smith, Jeffrey. "10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs." Institute For Responsible Technology.
Institute For Responsible Technology, 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 8 Apr. 2016.

"Start A Worm Farm". Your Energy Savings. 2016. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

"Welcome to Agriinfo.in." My Agriculture Information Bank. My Agriculture


Information Bank. Web. 8 Apr. 2016.

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"What Are the Environmental Benefits of Organic Farming over Conventional Farming
Methods?" World's Healthiest Foods. World's Healthiest Foods. Web. 7 Apr.
2016.
"What Is Biodynamics? | Biodynamic Association". Biodynamics.com. 2016. Web. 17
Apr. 2016.

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Conventional Farming - HRFnd." HRFnd.
Health Research Funding, 03 Aug. 2015.
Web. 9 Apr. 2016.