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The True Nature Of Organic Foods

2028 words - 9 pages

Since the late 1990’s there has been a significant rise in the popularity of organic foods. The industry has risen from 3.7 billion dollars in 1997 to over 25.6 billion dollars in 2010. (Smith-Spangler, 2012, pp. 348-366)This increase is due to a market switch as more Americans look for healthier foods for their families. This shift in the market has built around a fear of harmful ingredients and chemicals in foods. The organic foods are built around this health factor as the industry heavily markets the benefits of their foods. What really is better about organic foods though? There are claims that the food has more vitamins and minerals as well as containing less contaminates and pesticides. This paper will take a look at the history of agriculture in the United States as well as the growth of the organic movement. Recent Consumer demand has been shifting the market for organics and the recent trends will be reviewed. The vitamin, mineral and nutritional content will be examined as well as organic farming regulations and the tainting of food through pesticides, contaminants and food borne illness. Dr. Walter J. Crinninon provides an opposing viewpoint on the state of organic foods and farming that is very supportive of the current state of organic foods and his article will be summarized and rebutted. Organic foods have no benefits today that are great enough to justify the additional cost.

Organic farming is not a new technique, since the dawn of time we have actually been farming organically. Farmers would have to tend to their crops daily to prevent them crops from being destroyed. Farmers had to worry about rain cycles, constant pests, disease among the crops, and had to use hard manual labor to sow their fields. Agriculture hasn’t changed for thousands of years until the recent industrialization in the 1900’s No longer did farmers need the traditional way of labor as they could replace hoes and plows with tractors and chemicals. On average in 1900 41 percent of the workforce in America was employed in agriculture. We were a society of farmers. Today, only 1.9 percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture as that’s all we need to support our population. (Dimitri, 2005, pp. 1-13) With reduced labor more people have been able to pursue education and alternative careers. The number of farms has fallen by 63 percent, but the average farm size has grown by 67 percent. After World War II there were even more increases in technology. Chemical pesticides and insecticides became very popular and affordable for the masses. Chemicals such as DDT were commonly used to keep away pests. Nitrogen fertilizers also became affordable and were used to increase crop yield.
Author Joseph Heckman notes that the “period from about 1940 to 1978 may be called the era of polarization of agriculture into organic and nonorganic camps” (Heckman, 2007, pp. 143-150) People began to have concerns about the food they were eating and the harmful effects...

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