Question: Are Organic foods healthier than processed foods?

Hypothesis: Organic foods are healthier for humans than processed foods.

Evidence ­ : Eighty percent of meat sold in America is from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which are where animals are bred, fed, slaughtered, and then shipped out to the markets. Sixty percent of the corn grown in America is used to feed the livestock bred in these CAFOs, which means the majority of the meat that is on the market is from animals that were fed corn. Research has shown that amongst populations that consume grass fed animals (organic), the risk of heart complications is significantly lower (Pollan). Cows were once fed rendered cow parts [Web Note: Blood, manure & slaughterhouse waste still are fed to U.S. farm animals on non-organic farms] to satisfy the cows need for protein and up until it was banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 was spreading bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease. Though the FDA banned feeding ruminant protein to ruminants, there was an exception for blood products and fat. Cows in these CAFOs are still fed the beef tallow (fat) from other cows (Pollan).  Plants do not always absorb chemicals that are either used to help the plant grow or keep away bugs. Synthetic nitrogen that is not absorbed by plants in the factories is either evaporated into the air where it acidifies the rain and contributes to global warming, or it seeps down to the water table polluting streams and riverbeds (Pollan).  Ninety percent of money Americans spend on food is used to buy processed foods (Schlosser).  A recent evaluation of 100 present-day pesticides indicates that at least some of them are tumoregenic, i.e., will produce benign tumors in animals (Processed foods and the consumer pg 170). Contamination in the U.S. food supply has led to an increase in often deadly food-borne illnesses. Possible cause for the growing risk include deadlier strains of bacteria such as E. Coli, broader distribution of contaminated foods, and improper handling and preperation. These illnesses kill over nine thousand people each year and sicken millions more. Although the government has worked to reduce food safety risks, fragmented responsibilities among various federal agencies have stymied these efforts (food safety pg 17). All food ­ it can’t be escaped ­ contains minute amounts of mercury .An FDA survey of ten basic foods found fish to oppose the only potential hazards (Processed foods and the consumer pg 139). Basically, There’s a ton of hazardous metals out there in the soil that gets into all foods

Question: Which is better organic or industrial growing techniques?

Answer: Organic growing techniques usually are healthier and cheaper than pesticides and other industrial growing techniques.

Evidence:    As a whole organic growing techniques prove to be the safest choice when trying to decide what type of growing technique is best.  Organic methods remove the risk of harmful chemicals and pesticides being used on crops. Also by growing organic people can avoid consuming harmful pathogens that have become such a common threat among foods today.  Overall organic is a safer choice on the environment because nutrients are put back into the soil that would normally in an industrial state be removed forever.  Some organic growing techniques include things as first starting with the increasing the life of the soil.  To do this one must encourage microorganisms in the soil so they can convert minerals and organic material into nutrients available for plant growth.  The way to improve the soil is first through adding well-rotted manure and compost that will retain fertility.  Another technique is through the rotation of crops in order to insure the retention of soil fertility.  One can also obtain this fertility by adding mulches of organic material, or by adding rock dusts,  and lastly through mulching and keeping soil moist.  Other organic rowing techniques include making your own compost.  This works best when there are varied materials, which are well divided, moistened and mixed with plenty of air.  Compost or well rotted manure is best applied to growing crops in early spring to avoid leaching out of soil during winter months.  A balance of dry and fresh green material is necessary for successful compost.  Adding water is an essential part of composting.  Another tip in order to speed things up is by adding urine or poultry manure and covering up the compost with a tarp in order to trap heat.   The next step is to avoid using chemicals.  Biological controls can be used such as aphids, caterpillars, mealy bugs, red spider-mites, scale insects, sciarid flies, slugs, thrips, vine weevils, and white flies.  Some practical preventative measures include nets, carpet squares, bands made of cloth, earwig traps, sticky boards, fly papers, and wasp traps.  Finally, one when creating an organic garden will want to choose the right plants.  In particular plants that are disease resistant.  This reduces the need for other pest preventative measures.  Companion planting is another technique that can be used in organic gardening.  These are plants that grow well with each other in the same environment and can be used together for different needs.  Ultimately, organic gardening provides a wide array of advantages both environmentally and physically.  Through the use of these methods people are continuing the natural cycle of recycling earths nutrients rather than exploiting them in a detrimental way.  These techniques are extremely profitable in many shapes and forms as well as proving to be economically smart while helping the environment at the same time.  By growing organic people are able to be save money while also eating healthy.

Question:  Are organic pesticides the safest choice?

Answer: Yes organic pesticides are safer than industrial pesticides

Pesticides, substances that control or eliminate pests, are used around the world.  They are used in every form of agriculture.  From industrial agriculture to small scale gardening, pests and pesticides can be found. Although the use of chemical pesticides to prevent pests is a very common occurrence, it is not necessarily the best or safest way to prevent or eliminate problems from ones’ crops.

Industrial pesticides, including some household pesticides, can have harmful effects on humans.  Not to mention the negative effects to the predators of the pests for which the pesticides are initially intended.  Because these pesticides are chemical substances and compounds, they are poisonous to humans.  They are also poisonous to animals.  But how are humans and larger mammals and birds ingesting these chemicals?

It is something like a chain reaction, or a cycle.  When these pesticides are put onto crops, they can seep over into near by wild life.  This contaminates the natural species.  Also, any predator that eats any ‘pest’ infected with a pesticide will then ingest that pesticide.  This has caused many problems for mammals and birds.

For example, the pesticide DDT has had a major effect on bald eagle populations.  Because this pesticide was so prevalent, it contaminated the eagles’ food sources.  By eating contaminated prey, the eagles then became contaminated.  They began laying eggs with very thin shells.  They were unable to hatch young-these thin shells would break before the young had time to develop.

In search of finding a safer method of controlling and eliminating pests, organic pesticides became more widely used.  Organic pesticides, however, are still toxic.  They still have detrimental effects on birds and mammals, and are also harmful to humans.  Organic pesticides may seem like a safe alternative to use in a garden at home (perhaps vs. an industrial strength pesticide), but there are still safer methods in preventing ones’ pest problems.

Doug Oster and Jessica Wallister, authors of Grow Organic, give these tips on how to have a safe and healthy garden with pesticides as a last resort. First, they advise designing your garden accordingly.  For example, plants that require full sun should be in full sun.  If you have a deer problem, build a high fence.  Second, “examine your actions.”  For example, be wary of watering your garden too late in the day, as the water may not dry leaving good ground for pests.  Ask yourself to examine your gardening routines.  Are you causing your pest problems?  Third, what is your problem and how can you fix it?  If you have cutworms eating your crop, you may want to place plastic milk jugs around the roots of your plants.  This would not solve a groundhog problem, however.  Fourth, which methods will be effective?  Can you get rid of the pest by hand, or do you need cages and fences?  Fifth, you may consider using beneficial bugs and plants.  Bugs like lady bugs and praying mantises are very good to have in gardens as they will eat the bugs that eat your crop.  And plants like fennel attract predatory bugs that eat other pests.  Finally, if you find no cure in the above mentioned methods, a low-toxicity organic pesticide may be an option.