Conventional Food Essay

Submitted By hpatzwah
Words: 961
Pages: 4

Hannah Patzwahl
14 October 2014
ENVS 001/ Connor
Assignment #7 Conventional farming is a type or method of farming in which the use of fertilizers, synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics is accepted. Conventionally grown food is often associated with GMOs, genetically modified organisms. Crops that are brought up conventionally are usually monoculture, meaning they are planted in the same area every year. Animals are also raised in conventional farms. These livestock may never be exposed to pastures or even touched by the sun. Conditions listed above make the goal of convention farming possible; produce large amounts of food at the lowest cost. There are numerous negative environmental impacts that conventional food holds. The use of pesticides is a major impact on the natural environment. Pesticides include herbicides, which are weed killers, fungicides, which kill fungi, and insecticides, which take care of the pesky insects that could damage or hinder crop production (Definition of Conventional, n.d.). Pesticides are sprayed onto crops, and a very small amount actually reaches the pests. The majority of pesticides flow into the surrounding environment. Pesticides also kill off beneficial insects such as ladybugs and bees, which are often trying complete pollination. Pesticide resistance is also becoming a large problem among scientists and farmers trying to manage crops. Pests and insects are evolving resistance to pesticides through natural selection, creating super bugs. Though this action cannot surprise commercial farmers because Rachel Carson described it in her book Silent Spring, in 1962. Another environmental impact is nutrient pollution in soil. Most commonly, nutrients hurt aquatic ecosystems. They do this by increasing algae growth, leading to algae blooms, which deplete oxygen levels in bodies of water, leading to enormous fish kills (EPA Nutrient Pollution, 2014). Nutrient pollution can also be harmful to humans. Too much nitrogen in an area can make groundwater very contaminated. This is very dangerous for people who have weak immune systems, the elderly and young children. Synthetic fertilizers can add necessary nutrients to soil, but too much can prevent the restoration of organic matter within the cropland. Having too much fertilizer can also bring about the leaching of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium from the soil. The last negative impact covered is the amount of greenhouse gas is produced from the demand of convention food (ROSENTHAL, 2008). Because this food is not usually grown locally it travels many miles to its final destination, unlike local food production that only serves to places within a 50-100 mile radius. Fertilizers and packaging also add to air pollution, making conventionally grown food have a large carbon footprint. In contrast, there are some ethical and environmental pros to living off of conventional food. Firstly, crops that are brought up conventionally usually deliver more produce due to the amount of pesticides applied to them while growing. More produce means cheaper prices in grocery stores and markets (Organic Agriculture, n.d.). Especially when compared to organic, which doesn’t output much produce due to pests and weather. This fact is especially important when discussing social classes; though wealthy people have a choice, the poor do not. Less fortunate people may be able to supply their families with somewhat of a healthy option at a reasonable price. Conventional food is also much more accessible than local or organic food. Not only is accessibility relative, but variety as well. Conventionally grown food is transported all across the country and globe. Because of transportation, consumers are able to get unique produce from foreign places. This is a downfall of eating locally because people end up eating solely what thrives in an area and