The Benefits of Organic Food—Draft #1
Organic food, once only found in health food stores, is now a consistent element at local supermarkets. So what is the difference between a conventionally grown apple and an organic one? The answer is in the way the crop is grown and what it is and is not exposed to. In order to be labeled “organic” the farmer who grew it used renewable resources and conservation of soil and water methods. Also, organic farmers do not use conventional pesticides or weed killers, which may contain synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. According to Fisher, "Sewage sludge from municipalities' waste may contain heavy metals and toxins . . .” (1). Rather, organic farmers use sophisticated crop rotations, spread mulch and manure, and even hand pull weeds to keep them away. Instead of applying pesticides, they use beneficial insects and birds or traps to keep pests from harming the crop. The organic apple at the grocery store was never exposed to pesticides, chemicals, additives or preservatives. Pesticides may cause harmful effects to the nervous system and mild skin and eye irritations. Chemicals used in additives and preservatives may disrupt the natural rebuilding of cells and your resistance to disease diminishes after continued exposure to these chemicals according to Lagerquist. According to the USDA, instead of these harmful ingredients, the organic apple has higher levels of minerals, vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C is helpful in protecting your immune system, decreasing cardiovascular disease and promotes healthy skin. Antioxidants protect cells against free radicals that create destructive processes in the cells.
Besides being beneficial to your health, organic food has a positive impact on the environment. Farming organic food allows for less groundwater to become contaminated that in the process of farming conventional crops. This is because organic crops are never exposed to harmful chemicals that can seep into the ground and infect our groundwater. This absence of chemicals in the ground water also means that the quality of the soil is greater. When the soil is not exposed to chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides, it is able to be of better quality. With better soil quality, comes stronger crops for years to come. Another benefit to the environment is that organic crops increase biodiversity. Biodiversity is created because the absence of chemical inputs creates a habitat suitable for wildlife. Also, because there is no insecticides used farmers of organic farms are forced to use natural pest control methods. This means that to control one type of pest, the famer has to bring in other pests to kill it, creating a diverse farm. Organic farms also do not use synthetic fertilizers, so one way to keep the soil up is to bring in different types of worms, arthropods, and microbes. These animals stabilize and detoxify soil.
Organic farming also helps the environment by using conservation methods. Organic farms are planted where the crops could grow naturally, instead of clearing away land for the purpose of planting there. They also conserve soil by not only planting the crop, but also planting other vegetation where there are places crops are not growing to make sure the topsoil does not get blown away by the elements. Crop rotating is also used. This is when the farmer plants more than one crop in the same place. For example, one year the farmer might plant corn in field, but the next year he plants beans. This process of crop rotation increases the soils productivity and reduces need for farm land. Organic farmers do not use harmful fertilizers. Instead, they take advantage of reusable waste options. These options include human waste and waste from the farm animals. These natural fertilizers do not contain harmful ingredients and it also allows farms to ‘go green’ in a sense that the waste is not going elsewhere. Another environmentally-friendly practice that organic...
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