English Comp 101
Quality over Quantity
A very controversial topic is the question if organically grown food is better than conventional foods. A common, preconceived notion is that organic food is better than conventional food. In most cases it is, but organically grown food has both its pros and cons. According to the USDA, organic foods are defined as “being produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetic modification, or ionizing radiation.” Conventional foods are foods that are produced with any one or more of the above methods. Even though conventional farming provides more food and is typically cheaper, it is more hazardous to people’s health and the environment. So in most people’s opinion, organic food obviously sounds healthier to consume and probably better for the environment since there are no strange chemicals or radiation being used on the food. Organic farming produces healthier foods that are better for people and the environment than conventional foods by using non pollutant fertilizers/pesticides, providing good animal welfare, and promoting local communities. Conventional farming uses pesticides and fertilizers. They do this to increase yield and compensate for poor attention to soil quality and other pest control techniques. In doing so, farmers can produce more crops that are larger and grow quicker, which is a solution to the increasing problem of world hunger. But, fertilizers and pesticides do not always stay on the farms. They pollute the air and are also carried by rainwater to nearby ponds, lakes, or rivers polluting the water. The fish and animals that depend on these bodies of water are highly affected by this and pollution can cause long term damage to the environment. The potent pesticides decrease the oxygen level in the water and cause fatality to the fish and animals that depend on it. Eutrophication, the suffocation of aquatic plants and animals, is an increasing problem. It’s caused by rapid growth of algae, called "algae blooms”, thanks to persistent runoff of herbicides and pesticides. They are wiping out rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water (Weeks). By eating organic, you are no longer contributing to these problems, and are helping maintain a healthy environment.
Conventional farming has what you would call a “sterile” environment. They are lacking in variety of varied wildlife and vegetation because of the pesticides and fertilizers that kill them. This means that the soil isn’t as nutrient filled, which also means that the crops grown in the soil do not contain as many nutrients as organically grown crops would. It is also safer to have a variety of plants and animals because it “provides insurance against a disease to which one variety may be particularly vulnerable, helping to guard against a single virus wiping out a breed of animal or widely planted crop” (Glazer). Organic farms are usually smaller and have a wider variety of crops. Weeks argues, “Since organic farming does not use pesticides and fertilizers, the nutrient-giving organisms are present to create better soil with natural nutrients and organisms that help crops develop”. This shows that organic farming promotes a much wider variety of wildlife, from the tiniest organisms you cannot even see to larger organisms like rodents and birds. Organic farming is better for the environment because organic farmers do not use sprays that conventional farmer’s use that pollute the air by carbon dioxide emissions. By not using fertilizers and pesticides, organic farming produces less dangerous waste than conventional farming.
Numerous organic standards promote animals to be able to roam freely on pastures for at least some of the time. The national standard for organic livestock is to have “access” to the outdoors. Many organic farmers keep their livestock outside to freely roam pasture for the majority of the year. Some farmers have an access