Farming has existed for nearly as long as we have. In the past, most people in the country farmed as a means of living; this was the main lifestyle before the industry and automobile age. A non-organic way of farming that has been adopted is to use methods that fight pest infestation and to produce higher quantities of crops.
The first methods are pesticides and herbicides, which are used to combat insects and weeds. However, these highly toxic chemical residues have been found in the crops themselves. The FDA has since banned these chemicals from being used. However, since some crops are imported, they come into the country, and many DO contain these chemicals.
The second method used is contaminated sewage sludge. This was found to be a great idea as it made use of human waste as fertilizer for non-organic crops. At first it seemed to be a great idea, as it was cheap and easy to obtain, however, recently tests have shown that large amounts of this may contribute to chronic illnesses.
A third method used is hormones, antibiotics and remains of other animals. All of these contribute to quickly fattening up animals for the market. Hormones, while expensive and often illegal, are injected into animals to quickly bring them up to market size. Antibiotics are in fact used to keep the animals alive until they are butchered. However, a great problem with this is when we eat this meat; our bodies are ingesting antibiotics in high volumes and are becoming immune to their bacteria fighting abilities. So when we go to the doctor for an antibiotic shot, it does nothing for us. As to carcass meal (remains of other animals) which are often fed to animals in the meat and dairy industry, many doctors now believe that this has helped to lead to the disaster which we now are beginning to realize. Carcass meal helps contribute to mad cow disease by keeping the diseased animals in the food chain. This is especially dangerous for humans when we ingest it.
The last method is irradiation. Spices are exposed to radiation to kill bacteria or microorganisms that may be present. This also does more harm than good since it can lead to various diseases.
Recently, studies have shown that chemicals and other substances are toxic and cause various illnesses and death. Seeing the oncoming threat, the government has been making changes in the agricultural industry. They are encouraging farmers to shift from this chemical way of farming to something that is less threatening and safer for all.
Organic farming is all about developing crops and livestock using the most environmental, humane, economic systems available. In order for this to work effectively, two things are needed. The first is fertile land which can be used to plant a diversity of crops. Other is people who are willing to work on the land and learn this method of farming. In Europe, many of the countries are leaving the toxic chemical approach for a healthier organic method. These countries call it ecological agriculture which relies heavily on taking care of the environment.
Organic farming relies on the following principles:
1. Ensuring that the soil can be used for many succeeding generations without using the fertilizers that were used in non-organic farming.
2. Properly caring for the crops by using soil organisms and not by using pesticides.
3. Recycling livestock manure and organic materials, including crop residue.
4. Control weed growth and insect infestation with crop rotation. Also, not using anything that science has used in conventional non-organic farming. non-organic farming.
5. Not tampering with genes of animals, no genetic engineering. Allow animal life to remain as it should.
6. Lastly, determining the effects of this method on the environment.
In deciding which is better, everyone can see that the organic method is safer and better than the non-organic toxic chemical one. Organic farming no longer uses genetic engineering, sewage sludge and irradiation.
However, it is not an easy task to stop non-organic produce from entering the market. This is because some products, which the consumer demands, have to be imported. Regardless of what regulations and bans the government places on products grown in the USA, other countries that export here are not regulated as we are.
Unless other countries agree on the same regulations, there is no guarantee that the food we consume from them is safe and free from toxic chemicals and sludge. The best thing we can do is buy organic food, and substitute for the food that is not organic.
This requires participation on our part to be more aware of what we buy and to raise our voices, if need be. We can let our opinions be known even in the most simple ways. A good example is when we shop, if there is no substitute for the product we need, let the store owners know, they will surely change their products.
The number of organic farmers has more than doubled in the past 16 years. This will continue to grow as long people continue to see the bigger picture.