Organimental Science

For our health, people eat fruits and vegetables, but for the health of our environment (and everything in it) locally and organically grown fruits and vegetables are key to its maintenance


When people visualize a farm, they often revert to the romanticism of it all, imagining large lots of green land and good old farmers working as nature had intended for humans.

Americans often forget that most of this country’s farms are run like industrial factories, with a corporate structure behind the facade of a natural looking exterior.

With the use of bio-engineered crops, pesticides and fertilizers, most farms are far from their natural origin. This streamlining of production in American farms has greatly reduce the cost of produce.  Meanwhile, local farms have found it hard to compete with these factory farms.

In the late 90’s, locally grown and organic foods began to make a comeback as scientists swore that they were healthier and less dangerous to eat when compared to “the corporation crops.” But as more studies began to present themselves, these claims became less and less robust.  Scientists no longer agree on whether or not organic and locally grown really mean healthier. So now the question is why should people continue to pay for the USDA APPROVED sticker?”

Many people are convinced that, because locally grown foods travel less, they must be healthier. It is true that as fruits and vegetables age they loose nutrients, so common sense says that locally grown will be fresher.  As a Harvard Medical School study points out all parts of food production have been heavily industrialized. This allows for big corporate farms to package, ship and produce with efficiency. These processes keep the nutrients sealed in.

Many people feel the same way about organic fruits and vegetables–that some how the higher variety of the produce magically means that it is a more nutritious option. Both the Cambridge Journal and found that there were a lot of studies on based on organic vs. mainstream produce, but the results were so scattered that it is unclear to scientists whether or not organic foods have a higher nutritional value. Simply, there are just too many variables in the production of food to truly determine if organically produced foods are actually more nutritious. Whether or not organic foods have higher levels of nutrition all depend on what study a person chooses to trust.

People also choose to eat organic and locally grown foods because they believe they are safer for them. Many people fear of pesticide residual building up in there systems, but in reality, only fetuses really need to worry. Unborn children that are exposed to higher levels pesticides could be effected by developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.

Today, humans rest comfortably at the top of the Trophic Pyramid and actually may need to fear the effects of chemical build up in between trophic levels. Take, for example, the Japanese Minamata disease. Nearly everyone in the small town of Minamata, near the coast of Japan, became sick with mercury poisoning in the 1950’s. This is just one example of how increased industrialization has made the possibility of heavy metal poisoning higher.

California could be the next to see an endemic from poisoning.

The chances of poisoning of are still very unlikely, but they are increasing.  Switching over to organic farming could reduce this rapid growth of contamination in our water ways and prey. So, the question then is the reduction of toxic build up worth the extra money to purchase organic produce?
The Agricultural Industry is also a large contributor of particulate matter pollution. PM10’s and smaller are known as non point source pollutants that highly affect photo chemical smog Photo chemical smog is the brownish haze that is often seen in large metropolitan areas.

It is caused by volatile organic compounds that react with sunlight to create stratospheric ozone, which is one of the biggest components of global warming and several lung diseases.Global warming is causing the earth’s biosphere to slowly heat up, causing higher sea levels, infestation of bugs and the destruction of ecosystems. These effects affect the agricultural industry greatly, seeing as much of its successes relies on a good steady climate. Many farmers have given up on the farming industry because the climate is too volatile. In order to make profits, farmers have been forced to streamline production in a corporate like fashion. Sometimes, one person can have a large farm all owned and run like a single corporation,

which uses efficient machinery that relies on gasoline


and uses more pesticides.


 Importing gasoline and using riskier methods to produce fossil fuels

is a reason for increases in food costs, which have a rippling effect on the economy.

Organic farming can help mediate this chain reaction (which all stems from the health of our environment). Organic farming usually means smaller farms that use less machinery and do not spray pesticides. At the same time, locally grown foods are not shipped as far so they also reduce pollution.

For our health, people eat fruits and vegetables, but this story does not end there.  In the 90’s people began to demand more organic and locally grown fruits because they thought they were healthier.   Despite the lack of solid scientific data, were the people of the 90’s correct to assume that organic and locally grown are worth the USDA Sticker price?

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