Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Organic Food †Good for you, Good for the environment Essay

Organic food has quickly gained popularity over the years. What started as a trendy method that celebrities adopted has expanded mainstream and can be found in any thriving metropolis as well as many smaller towns and cities. Organic food refers to any type of produce or meat product that has not be treated with additional chemical preservatives when it is grown and therefore is considered to be of benefit to those that choose organic produce. Yet there are those that have not jumped on the organic bandwagon as they have reservations towards this option. We will examine both sides of the argument so as to analyze and finally decode the language that is organic food and come to the clear conclusion that organic food should be an investment we make for proper nutrition and health. Understanding Organic Food One of the most basic human needs is food. We need to feed our bodies with food in order to do any of the daily tasks that we may embark on. This need used to be supplied with food that was wholesome and pure. Our ancestors ate the fruit of their labor which was food that was grown in their farms or in local surrounding areas. We have come a long way from this with the expansion and growth of not only the population but also the technology that speeds up the 2 packaging and assembly of some of the larger chains which supply millions of households with food. Our food no longer is home grown; little do we know where in fact it comes from and for that matter what is being added to our food to give it color, taste and preserve its freshness. Organic farmers are looking to close the gap between the supplier and the ultimate consumer. By buying organic produce we go back to a simpler time where we knew where our food came from and what agricultural methods the farmer used to cultivate the food we put in our mouth. Critique Skeptics and critics of the organic food movement question if buying organic produce is worth it. They believe that organic food is costly compared to commercial and industrial produced food. It can cost a consumer anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars to purchase organic products vs. commercial products. This is due to the methods that organic farmers use when they grow their produce such as crop rotation which is a method that organic farmers use to maximize the soil and land they have by alternating the type of crop they grow. This method leads to less amount of one type of product being produced and also less variety or produce being only available in particular time periods or seasons. It also means that farmer will use less of the soil and less land. This can be a big disadvantage as in the United States alone 140 hectares of farmlands have been lost in the last 30 years to make room for non-agricultural purposes such as building urban cities and highways (Cunningham & Cunningham 2010 pg. 201) therefore it may seem to some that all the land given for the purpose of agriculture should be used and even exploited for maximum profit options. Another disadvantage that organic products have is their shelf life. Because no preservatives are used to keep the product fresh, organic products must be consumed within a very short time frame, which can be a big inconvenience to the consumer on a strict budget 3 looking to really expand the freshness of their products without the need to buy a large amount of groceries every few days. If we look at the economic disadvantage that buying organic food has we can see why some people are still skeptical of trying or buying organic products. With the economy still trying to recover from a period of recession and the job market being scarce, people have become savvy shoppers and want to stretch their dollars. While buying commercial products may seem like the best option when saving money, there are other ways to save and still enjoy the benefits that come from buying organic produce. When it comes to matters of health and giving your body the best nutrients, it is important to learn the facts and really analyze the options before making such an important decision. Benefits There is no denying the benefits that buying organic produce has over the conventional method and while the arguments for those opposing organic produce are valid they do not give the consumer the various methods and options they have when choosing organic products and thus it is up to the consumer to study and analyze the progress that organic farmers and retailers have taken in an effort to make organic produce more cost effective as well as various methods that can be taken to naturally preserve the freshness of the produce. Like all things when demand is high cost normally goes down, however because organic produce requires special labor, the cost of buying organic produce is also higher than the conventional method. A recent head-to-head comparison done by a group of Colby College students in 2011 was conducted surveying various commonly purchased products, comparing the prices of both non-organic and organic products and it was concluded that organic products can have a mark-up of up to 117% compared to non-organic products. According to these studies 4 organic carrots cost $1. 51/lb. while non-organic carrots cost $. 77/lb. , a difference of +96% for the consumer buying organic carrots over non-organic. (White Pillsbury, Melissa 2013). While the actual price may vary by location, it is true that organic products do cost more than their non-organic counterpart. One way to offset the cost of buying organic produce is to shop directly from the farmer. By doing this, the consumer not only can ensure that they are buying organic products, they also save money as the farmer will sell directly to the consumer and not have to spend extra money on packaging or transportation costs when selling to wholesaler. Farmers markets are growing in size and vary from city to city. If the consumer lives in an area where the resources for organic produce are scarce or they lack the time to visit a farmers market, they also have the option to subscribe to a monthly at home delivery service usually offered directly from a local farm such as Farm Fresh To You (www. farmfreshtoyou. com ) or Full Circle (www. fullcircle. com ) . These are at home delivery programs that work directly with a local farm which offer the convenience of having the products delivered to your front door, they also take the guess work off what products to buy. Each box of produce delivered weekly or bi-weekly depending on the type of membership you have signed up for, has a variety of hand-picked produce that is both fresh and in season. Another argument that is commonly brought up when discussing organic foods is that organic products lack preservatives that keep it fresh. Once again, a very valid point however, if the consumer were to investigate a little further, they would learn that farmers are great resources to look in to for special tips on how to naturally preserve food without the need for chemical preservatives. Some tips might be as simple as the storage of the produce. One such example is to keep commonly used fruits such as apples and grapes refrigerated at 32-36 degrees Fahrenheit (FarmFreshToYou. com) and away from vegetables to avoid ripening too early. Other methods 5 that have been successful in prolonging the freshness of organic produce are canning, drying, or freezing. These are also at home methods that the consumer can learn that will lock in the flavor and freshness of the produce at the time of purchase thus saving the consumer money. There are many food movements that have come and gone, some being too extreme to be adapted and adhered to permanently; the organic movement has proven not to be just another fad. Buying certified organic foods is the way to go because it helps the environment thanks to the type of natural soil the farmers use when cultivating such crops and also keeps agriculture growing. Organic farmers may seem like the winners in this deal due to the high cost of organic goods but in reality buying organic foods will be extremely beneficial for our health and wellbeing. References Associated Press. Not Quite Pesticide Free. Environment. 2002; 44:5-6 Costenbader, Carol W. The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest. North Adams, MA: Storey, 2002. Print. Cunningham, W. P. , & Cunningham, M. A. (2010). Environmental Science: A Global Concern. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill â€Å"National Rural Ecology Centre. † National Rural Ecology Centre RSS. N. p. , 2009. Web. 8 Mar. 2014. â€Å"Storage & Use Tips. † Storage & Use Tips. Farm Fresh To You, n. d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. White Pillsbury, Melissa. â€Å"Price Differences: Organic Versus Non-Organic; Store Versus Farmers’ Market. † Price Differences: Organic Versus Non-Organic; Store Versus Farmers’ Market. Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, 2013. Web. 12.

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