Organic Farming: Better for You and the Environment
|Even though we've entered the information age,
agriculture still defines our society. Agriculture
employs nearly half the world's population, and for
thousands of years, all crops were grown organically.
Organic farming was the only option; petroleum-based
fertilizers and pesticides did not exist.
Technology developed during World War II spurred
sweeping changes in agriculture. Ammonium nitrate (used
for munitions during the war) evolved into ammonium
nitrate fertilizer. Nerve gas production led to the
development of potent pesticides. And thus modern
agriculture was born.
Modern agriculture relies on synthetic fertilizers and
pesticides, genetic engineering, and large-scale mechanization to
produce maximum crop yields. To make production more efficient,
modern agriculture also practices monoculture, which refers to the
widespread planting of a single crop. Monoculture contributes to
soil erosion and saps the soil of its fertility.
The main problem with modern agriculture, however, is that the
synthetic chemicals never disappear. When you eat an apple grown
using synthetic pesticides, traces of the pesticides remain in the
apple, and the chemicals end up in your fat cells. Similarly, cotton
grown using synthetic chemicals retains traces of the chemicals
after it is woven into a fabric. The United States alone dumps 8.5
million tons of pesticides on cotton fields annually, and those
chemicals are then absorbed into the plant, air, soil, water, and
eventually, our bodies.
Not only are many people allergic to the synthetic chemicals used in
modern agriculture, but many of the chemicals are also carcinogens
(cancer-causing agents). A 2001 study demonstrated that children fed
organic diets had significantly lower exposure to carcinogenic
pesticides—and in 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency showed
that children acquire 50% of their lifetime cancer risks during
their first two years of life. Synthetic pesticides have also been
shown to suppress the immune system, disrupt hormones, and damage
the nervous system. Pesticide exposure may also affect male
reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.
Besides harming humans, modern agricultural practices also rapidly
deplete natural resources and seriously pollute the soil, water, and
Organic farming, on the other hand, promotes the health of both
consumers and the environment. Started after the war as a reaction
against modern toxic farming methods, organic farming excludes
the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and
genetic engineering. Organic farmers respect their land: they feed
and build the soil with natural fertilizers; they protect crops
against insects using natural insect predators, barriers, or traps;
and they control weed growth with crop rotation, hand weeding, cover
crops, and mulches.
In the past decade, the organic agriculture market has grown
exponentially because more consumers are learning that organic
farming is better for them and their environment. Despite its
growth, the business of organic farming is still in jeopardy
because it cannot compete with large, industrial farming operations.
The future of organic farming depends on you, the consumer. If you want
to help rid your body and your environment of toxic chemicals, then
look for the certified organic label and
See Organic Cotton Blankets
See Organic Cotton Bed Linens
See Royal-Pedic Organic Cotton Mattresses