Here is a paper I wrote that explains the difference between organic and conventional food produce.
Organic v Conventional
It was a dismal day. Rain pounded the streets, windows, and people relentlessly. The distant rolling of thunder echoed without and shook the air. I parked my car into the nearest parking lot. I dragged on my coat and snatched up my purse. After checking that I had my car keys in hand, I clambered out of the car and quickly ran to the entrance of the store.
Walking into the store, I was welcomed with a blast of warm air. I grabbed up a basket and proceeded to the produce section. I was confronted with a row of apples. On one side there were organic apples and the other held conventional apples. I glanced at the prices. The organic apples were considerably more expensive compared to the conventional apples. I thought to myself. Why is organic stuff more expensive than conventional stuff? What is organic anyway? Is it really worth the extra money?
I walked over and picked up one of each. They didn’t look much different or even feel different. I decided to buy both. As I walked out of the store into the blistery weather, I thought to myself. What makes these two apples so different?
Both the terms, organic and conventional, refer to the way the produce is grown and processed. Both of these terms also dictate the way you, the consumer, and the environment are affected. Though many don’t realize, the wellbeing of one’s health and the environment greatly resides on which is chosen. Many people often prefer conventional products that have been treated with pesticides due to the cost and convenience; however, there are many findings that suggest conventional products are harmful to the body.
Conventional and organic produce are grown very differently. Conventional products are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, so to be rid of “troublesome” weeds and insects. They are also grown in chemical fertilizers. On the other hand, organic farmers use other means to achieve the same effect. They mulch, hand weed, or rotate crops to prevent weeds. Many use the weeds to help nourish their crops. To help regulate insects, organic farmers set traps or rely on other creatures such as birds and other insects. To fertilize their soil, organic farmers use manure or compost. Organic products are also non-GMO. (All information above from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/organic_green.html and Jeffrey Smith’s Seed’s of Deception)
I have encountered many people have said to me that they have never had any problems with eating conventional foods. They say that they don’t experience any illness or ailments. They also say that they wash their produce before eating them. This is what I tell them. The consumption of pesticides does not affect you immediately. These chemicals are foreign to the body and therefore, the body cannot dispose of it properly. The chemicals build up in your body, hiding in your fat, muscles, and organs. (Jeffrey Smith’s Seed’s of Deception)This builds up taxes the liver, which has to clean up the dreadful mess. This buildup of toxins forces your body to react by showing you symptoms. However, these symptoms are often misinterpreted or not even connected to the toxicity in your body. Some of the symptoms are asthma, birth defects (a commonly used pesticide, Dursban, has been known to cause this), neurological damage (lowered IQ, learn disadvantages, and permanent brain damage), various cancers, and hormone disruption (fertility problems and early puberty). (http://www.kidsforsavingearth.org/mnchec/articles/pesticides.htm)
Washing your produce to get rid of chemicals only gives you a false sense of security. A CNN report states that after a stalk of conventional celery was FDA approved power washed, it still contained 67 different pesticides. When these plants are sprayed, the skin of the produce absorbs it. Plus, when it rains, the rain water is contaminated with the chemicals. The contaminated water is then absorbed by the plant which uses it to grow and produce. So no matter what, the plant will have high concentrations of chemicals still in it.
Due to the fact that organic farmers do not use these obviously harmful chemicals; these products do not contain them. However, because of the horrendous pollution pesticides and herbicides cause, there are concerns of cross contamination. (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/organic_green.html) However, if the product is USA approved organic, than it is completely organic.
Sadly, due to the use of chemical fertilizers and other chemical treatments to crops, our air, water, and soil are contaminated in some way or another. This makes it even harder for organic farmers to produce their crops. Organic farming has shown to maintain healthy soil, use less water, and provide prosperous ecosystems. (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/organic_green.html) Also they have to buy manure and other organic fertilizers that are considerable more expensive than chemical fertilizers and pesticides. (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/organic_green.html) They must also prevent any other contamination by watching their water supply, seed supply, and other various factors. Because organic farmers have to invest more into their crops than conventional farmers, the cost of organic produce is higher.
As I stated above, organic products are non-GMO. GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) are organisms that are injected with foreign DNA, viruses, and bacteria to create a new organism. (Jeffrey Smith’s Seed’s of Deception)There are two kinds of GMO plants. One type is the poison drinker. When the rows of these plants are sprayed with pesticides, everything but the GMO plant dies. The other is called the poison producer. When an insect consumes this plant, it bursts and dies. Animal, when given the choice, refuse to eat GMO foods. When rats are feed GMO potatoes, they became sick, some even died. Their offspring became infertile, small and sickly. Despite this evidence, GMO crops are all over the market. These GMO crops are corn (like corn syrup, corn oil), soy, cotton, canola, some squashes, and tobacco. This means that GMO’s are in candy bars, chips, snacks, your clothes, cosmetics, produce, cereal, and many other products. Also the government does not require the companies to label whether their product contains GMO or not. (All information above from Jeffrey Smith’s Seed’s of Deception)
Like I said before, people chose the food they eat because of the convenience and cost. However, I want you to think. How much is you life, your health, worth? How much is your parent’s health worth? Your children’s? How much is the earth worth? We take so many things for granted and food is one of them. We buy it and eat it, not even thinking about the consequences. Promote a healthy organic, animal friendly diet. Support organic products. Support a healthy life. Support a healthy earth.
Smith, Jeffrey. Seed’s of Deception. 2003.
Organic v Conventional.