Too many people are ignorant of where their food is coming from and how it is produced.  Because of this ignorance consumers are eating whatever is easily accessible.  What are the effects of...

Too many people are ignorant of where their food is coming from and how it is produced.  Because of this ignorance consumers are eating whatever is easily accessible.  What are the effects of organic farming versus mainline use of chemical sprays?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In answering this question, we should look at two types of effects of these different ways of farming.  We should look at the effects on consumers and we should look at the effects on the environment.  Both of these are reasons why some people think that it is better to eat organic.

One reason why some people want to buy organic food (and why they think others should buy it) is because they think that organic food is healthier.  They believe that organic food is healthier because it has not been sprayed with chemicals.  This means that there will be less chemical residue on the food and consumers will ingest less in the way of chemicals that might potentially be harmful.  Some people also think that organic food is better than conventional food because organic food cannot contain any genetically modified organisms (GMO).  Some people think GMO are unnatural and might cause harm to those who eat them.

A second reason why some people support organic farming is that it is supposed to be better for the environment.  Organic farmers cannot use pesticides on their plants.  This can be better for the environment because pesticides can do things like killing beneficial insects or polluting waterways.  Organic farmers do not use artificial fertilizers.  This is good because runoff from fertilizers can lead to things like eutrophication of lakes and oceans.  Finally, organic farmers tend to use techniques that use less water and which tend to preserve the quality of the soil that is being farmed.

On the other hand, organic food can be hard on consumers’ pocketbooks.  Organic farms are generally less productive because they cannot use chemicals.  This means that organic produce costs more than conventionally-grown produce.  If consumers buy organic food, they will be paying more for food that may not truly be healthier for them.

clyoon | Student

Organic farming is much safer and healthier than the mainline, regular farming. In regular farming, chemical sprays are used all the time. Pesticides and herbicides are used to kill off other unwanted organisms like bugs. But these poisonous chemicals get into our food as well, getting into our system when we consume. In addition, in this age of science and technological advancements, the number of genetically modified foods is already great and still rising. 

Foods are genetically modified by the insertion of a foreign gene into the organism's DNA. Genetic modification is done to get better traits of the food such as longer shelf life, bigger size, more flavor, quicker growth, being able to be grown in harsher conditions such as colder and hotter weather, and being able to be grown all year round. Essentially, genetic modification is done for our convenience but health wise it is not so great.

There have been many studies done that prove genetically engineered foods cause harm to the body. There've been cases where they were linked to the growth of tumors and many organ malfunctions. But you can look up the studies for yourself another time.

Organic farming does not involve genetic modification. In organic farming, farmers start from scratch and try to grow the food as naturally as possible. No chemical sprays used. Thus, the food grown organically is cleaner and healthier.

Interestingly, organic food is more expensive, but I believe using more money is worth it because your body and health are of utmost importance.

Wiggin42 | Student

When comparing organic farming to conventional farming we have to consider the fact that there are two types of organic farming: local and Industrial Organic. 

Industrial Organic farming of chickens and beef is often not that different from conventional farming. Chickens are often packed to the same extent they are in conventional farming. Their feed is still corn. The difference lies in the fact Industrial Organic must provide a green pasture space for the chickens to walk in should they choose to do so and must not use antibiotics. However, companies often exploit these rules by only opening the door two weeks before slaughter time which means the chickens are not really "free range". Therefore, the moral consequences are the same as conventional farming. The lack of antibiotics means the societal  costs are lessened. (The excessive use of antibiotics in conventional farming leads to drug-resistant super bacteria.) However, the environmental consequences are about the same since the chicken waste ends up as runoff into rivers and other marine ecosystems. 

Local organic is what people think of when the word organic is mentioned: chickens free to move about, chickens eating insects, grain, and grass, and the waste composted to replenish the soil. This sort of closed system farming has great boons for the environment and society. Since the waste is reused, there is no runoff to speak of. Chickens fed a diet full of variety lay richer more nutritious eggs. This results in greater health for consumers. Morally, the chickens live a full and happy life as opposed to living in cramped disease ridden quarters. 

rachellopez | Student

People argue that organic farming is healthier and better for the environment than regular farming is. With conventional farming, they will spray chemicals and pesticides on the food in order to keep away bugs that eat the crops and also to preserve the food. They also genetically modify food so that they will be bigger, last longer, and produce more seeds/crops. All these chemicals and GMO's are bad for our bodies and can alter our them.

With organic farming they leave out as many pesticides as they can and do not genetically modify the food. Now some people think organic food is completely pesticide and chemical free, but no one can know for sure (some sprays must be needed to keep them safe and some chemicals are necessary). However, the organic farming method leaves out the majority of bad toxins for our body and is considered healthier.

Even though normal food that is not organic is cheaper than organic food, I think it is worth the bit of extra money (as long as you can afford it). It is better for our bodies in the long run and helps us keep us in good shape. Keep in mind though, food isn't the only thing with harmful chemicals.

ayl0124 | Student

Much of the food we eat are genetically modified. It can be a direct manipulation of the genes to produce desirable traits (sweeter, bigger, more resistant to bugs, etc.) using recombinant DNA technology (rDNA) such as insertion. Basically, these genetically modified foods do not occur naturally.

Here are some facts about common household foods:

  • Dairy products - about 22% of cows are injected with a recombinant bovine growth hormone 
  • Tomatoes - altered for longer shelf life 
  • Soybeans - resistant to herbicides
  • Rice - added high amounts of vitamin A