Until The 20th Century, The Question Never Existed
Why Choose Organic?
Funny to think about it, but until the 20th Century, the question of “why choose organic” didn’t even exist; food was organic! Beginning in the early 1900s, dramatic and simultaneous advances in biochemistry and engineering rapidly and profoundly changed farming practices and began to reshape the face of modern agriculture.
With the introduction of the tractor and synthetic fertilizers before World War II, hundreds of mechanized farm implements were made possible overnight, including the introduction of synthesized nitrogen fertilizer. Post-World War II, many farmers began to install large-scale irrigation, which helped facilitate the implementation of new chemical technologies such as ammonium nitrate and DDT. Farms grew bigger, and synthetic implements more frequent. This generated the kind of mass yields we see today in common crops. The era of the commercial farm was born.
As early as the 1920s, advocates of organic farming began to speak out. Agronomists such as Lord Northbourne and F.H. King envisioned agricultural practices that promoted healthy soil through natural means. The term, “organic farming” was coined by Northbourne to describe a holistic, ecologically-balanced approach to farming.
In every decade since then, organic proponents and researchers around the world have argued, and in many cases proven, the benefits of returning to an all-natural approach to farming – entirely free of synthetic fertilizers and man-made pesticides.
To answer the “why choose organic” question, one only need look at how the developments of the last century have taken us to where we are today: a nation largely ingesting marginally-nutritious food grown who-knows-where with who-knows-what sprayed on it or injected into it.
Reasons to buy organic
Protect Future Generations
The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. The food choices you make now will impact your child's health in the future.
Prevent Soil Erosion
The Soil Conservation service estimated that more than 3 billion tons of topsoil are eroded from United States croplands each year. Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. But in some conventional farming the soil is used more as a medium for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically fertilized. As a result, American farms are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.
Protect Water Quality
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet. Despite its importance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated pesticides and some cancer causing agents contaminate the ground water in 38 states. This pollutes the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country's population.
Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming 12 percent of the county's total energy supply. More energy is now used to produce fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the Unites States. Organic farming is still mainly based on labor intensive practices such as weeding by hand and using green manures and crop covers rather than synthetic fertilizers to build up soil. Organic produce also tends to travel fewer miles from field to table.
Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate
The EPA considers that 60 percent of all herbicides. 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides are carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an extra 1.4 million cancer cases among Americans over their lifetimes. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also be harmful to humans.
Support Small Farmers
Most organic farms are small independently owned and operated family farms. It is estimated that the Unites States has lost more 650,000 family farms in the past decade. Help small farmers: buy organic food.
Support a True Economy
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than conventional foods; conventional food prices do not reflect hidden costs borne by tax payers, including nearly $74 billion on federal subsidies in 1988. Other hidden costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean-up and environmental damage.
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in increasing amounts. Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a ten-fold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled spartly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.
Source: Organic Trade Association
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