Every Sunday is Simon's grocery-shopping day. Unfortunately, he is in a bit of a dilemma while standing in the produce section of his local supermarket. In one hand, Simon is holding a conventionally grown Granny Smith apple. In his other hand, he has one that has been organically grown. Both apples look firm, shiny and green. Both provide vitamins and fiber, and both are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. The conventionally grown apple cost less and is a proven family favourite. But the organic apple has a label that says "USAD Organic" or "certified organic". Does that mean it is better? Safer? More nutritious? Simon is suspicious about the decision he has to make. Like many other consumers, Simon does not know what exactly is in his food, what risks exist to himself or to society in general. He trusts that healthy and sufficient food will appear, like magic, in the grocery store. He trusts the corporations, the "food system", that creates this apparent miracle. As well as when the experts that say it's the best way; most of the health-conscious consumers believe them. I believe that the more information and knowledge accessible to consumers the best alternatives they can choose for their own safety and health concerns. The following quote underlines my thought; "As more people learn the differences between organic and conventionally grown foods, they are choosing organic foods as an alternatives" (Better nutrition, 2003). All along in this paper, organic farming effect is continuously challenging conventional farming. I will introduce a brief history and description of organic foods, and a recent view of the economic growth of organic foods trend in Canada with some statistics, by following next with environmental ethic consumption that disturbed most health-conscious consumers' mind and lastly, the impacts of organic and genetic-modified foods in several important countries.
After the Second World War, however, there was a movement towards mechanization of farming. In instance, "thousand of farm horses were being killed to be replaced by tractors" (Bruins, 2001). Higher productivity, larger and increasingly automated farms spread across the landscape, and these "factory farms" put the "synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and mass-rearing techniques developed in the 1920s into widespread use". Amidst this agricultural industrial revolution, several "wise pioneers" of the organic movement emerged, "bear the dangers of ecological insensitivity" and calling for a return to the responsible farming methods of the past (Suzuki, 2002). Therefore, it is time to put all environmental caring into the picture of nature. In the following article, Organic Health, mentions that from excluding the last few decades, organic agriculture has been an extremely popular form of agriculture practiced in several countries such as Canada, United States, and Japan. As a result, I believe the more information about this new alternative spreads around the world; the best consumption choice of lifestyle is taking into consideration in the mind of consumers.
Under its simplest definition, organic agriculture is a "holistic system of production with a principal goal to develop productive enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment". Organic foods are produced "without the use of chemical fertilizers or synthetic pesticides, also they are processed without the use of irradiation, and are not derived through genetic engineering." (Agri-Food Canada, 2003). Brief, this type of farming has no synthetic chemicals involved in foods and animal feedings. Organic farming is somehow having benefits in the productivity issue. Under organic systems, some crops are priced even better than others. Potatoes, for example, produced 38 per cent lower yield. The researchers sum up, "We conclude that organically manured, legume-based crop...
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Bruins (2001). Organic Synthesis. Retrieved June 11, 2005 from http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ ben/coc/2003/00000007/00000013/art00004
David Suzuki (June 7, 2002)
Joan Scheel (November 8, 2004). New Product Trends: Driving Organic Growth. Retrieved June 13, 2005 from http://www.preparedfoods.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/features/BNP__Features__Item/0,1231,131038,00.html
Journal of Applied Ecology (2001)
Journal Science (2003)
Magazine Homemaker (2004). Challenging Assumptions. Retrieved June 12, 2005 from http://www.lifemedia.ca/wendy/blogsimplicity.html
Organic Health (2005)
Organic Trade Association OTA (2005). Discover Organic Industry. Retrieved June 11, 2005 from http://www.organicexpo.com/
Peter Henriot (April 3rd 2005)
Reuters (2001). Is Organic food healthier? Retrieved June 11, 2005 from http://www.organicts.com/organic_info/articles/health.shtml
Rhett Akins (February 7, 2005)
Shiva Vandana, "Globalization and Poverty", in Resurgence, Sept/Oct. 2000.
Survey of International Trade Center (2004). Organic Food trends. Retrieved from June 12, 2005 from http://www.agmrc.org/agmrc/markets/Food/food+organic.htm
USDA report (2001)
Whole Foods Markets Inc survey (October 17, 2002). Organic foods and food labels matter. Retrieved June 11, 2005 from http://www.wholefoods.com/company/pr_organicsurvey.pdf.
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