Sunday, July 8, 2012
Imagine this: Helen, a mother with three children, is shopping at the grocery store to buy food for her family. Strolling through the produce section, her eyes scan the many crates, pondering over which brand of apple would suit her household best; they come to rest on a pink label that reads, “organic”. Scowling at the price tag, she wonders, why should I pay extra money for something that is organic? I mean, what’s the difference? In truth, there are actually great quantities of reasons why organic foods are preferable to non-organically grown foods: they are healthier, better for the environment, and are grown without pesticides.
One little known fact about organic foods is that they contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than non-organically grown foods. Why? The reason is actually quite simple. Plants produce antioxidants when placed in stressful conditions, such as becoming prey to a predator. Because inorganic foods are grown with pesticides, they don’t have to deal with the nuisances and therefore do not produce the antioxidants needed to help them through such situations. Because organic foods are exposed to all of nature’s obstacles, they are put in greater distress and, in turn, produce more antioxidants, which are known to help fight cancer. When tested, organic foods also are shown to contain higher levels of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium than non-organically grown foods.
Another reason to go organic is because organic farming is better for the environment than non-organic farming. Many non-organically grown foods are shipped all across the world, sometimes sitting in crates for multiple days in one trip. Sending the goods to all these different places uses an immense amount of fuel. Not only does the shipping of the produce require an enormous amount of energy, but the shipment of the fertilizer as well as its production requires so much fossil fuel that we are practically eating it. Also, because of the time needed to ship fruits and vegetables to their destination, most of the goods are harvested before they are ripe in order to ensure that they are not rotten when they arrive. Because they don’t have the opportunity to ripen on the vine, non-organically grown foods will often possess less flavor than organic foods, causing 53% of the U.S to dislike them.
Perhaps the most crucial reason that many people choose to buy organic foods despite expensive price is that non-organically grown foods, instead of using natural means to keep animals and pests away, spray pesticides on the produce, essentially covering them in a thin layer of poison. Animals, such as birds, that are unfortunate enough to make the mistake of nibbling on a non-organically grown fruit or vegetable suffer severe consequences, and if they don’t die soon after their error, their offspring will be born unable to survive in the harsh wilderness. In addition to the direct poisoning of animals that eat the unsafe foods, indirect poisoning occurs when pesticides are washed by rainwater into rivers, which affect fish and other wildlife. Not only are small animals affected, but many humans who eat the foods are also in harm’s way. As many as seven of the most toxic chemical compounds known to man are approved to be used as pesticides by the CAC (Codex Alimentarius Commission) and which the residues of are commonly found, as well as many other pesticide residues, in baby foods, spinach, dried fruit, bread, apples, celery, and chips. Although adults can experience symptoms as well, children are the most prone to the dangers of nonorganic farming. Birth defects, cancer, hormone disruption, neurological effects, and asthma are all common effects of these poisonous residues.
In conclusion, organic foods are healthier, safer, and better for the environment than non-organically grown alternatives. Although many people are fooled into buying the cheaper and often larger choices, those who have outsmarted the price tag find that they lead happier, healthier lives because of their decision. Don’t fall prey to the dangers that inorganic foods present; buy organic produce as often as possible, particularly when shopping for children.
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"Health Effects of Pesticides." Kids for Saving the Earth. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 July 2012. <http://www.kidsforsavingearth.org/mnchec/articles/pesticides.htm>.
"Effects of Pesticides." Global healing Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 July 2012. <http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/effects-of-pesticides/effects-of-pesticides>.
"Ten reasons why you should go organic." Organic Consumers Association. N.p., 3 Sept. 2006. Web. 8 July 2012. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_1944.cfm.
The Dirty Dozen: When to go organic. Private Collection. Web. 8 July 2012. <http://yuru.com/blog/2010-07-the-dirty-dozen-when-to-go-organic>.