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People throughout history have been consuming organic foods. Over the last two decades, organic food has exploded in popularity. So, what do we mean by organic foods? The term "organic" refers to the process of how certain foods are produced. Organic foods have been grown without the use of artificial chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms (Brown, 2016). Food products must be free of food additives to be considered as organic. Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides (McEvoy, 2019).
Agriculture has been a 10,000-year-long experiment in growing plants and raising animals by trial and error (Poppenheimer, 2014). On the one side, crop yields have increased thanks to the use of synthetic chemicals and mechanization. In 1979, the USDA began a study of organic farming in response to increasing demands for information on the topic of Organic Farming, as well as energy shortages and public concern about food and the environment. In July 1980, a 94-page typewritten study detailing the findings and recommendations was released. They found out discoveries such as the increasing costs and uncertain availability of energy and chemical fertilizer, the decline in soil productivity and soil erosion, and hazards to humans and animals and food safety in the excessive use of pesticides. The Organic Foods Production Act was passed by Congress in 1990 to create a national standard for organically grown agricultural products and to promote organic food interstate commerce.
Certified organic products are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts (for which prices have been declining). Marketing and the distribution chain for organic products are relatively inefficient and costs are higher because of relatively small volumes (FAO, 2021). Reasons why organic foods are expensive; supplies are limited, production costs are higher and greater labor is required, post-harvesting handling is expensive because of the mandatory segregation of organic and conventional produce. Cost of Production is one of the reasons why organic foods are expensive. According to FAO; Environmental Enhancement and Protection, Higher Standards for Animal Welfare, Avoidance of Health Risks to farmers, and Rural Development are the reasons behind the prices of organic food.
Not only does organic production help reduce public health risks, but mounting evidence also shows that food grown organically are rich in nutrients, such as Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, with less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues in organically grown fruits, vegetables, and grains when compared to conventionally grown products (Haumann). Organic foods reduce public health especially those that are vulnerable to illnesses. Offering organic foods to the markets gives the consumers option of choosing the products that do not use chemical products.
Usually, we import products coming from other nations because it is not available to our country or we just have limited supplies. This is being done to provide for the needs of the people. Locally grown food has a lot to offer, families are now making it a habit to buy from local farmers even if it’s just a portion of their weekly grocery. Locally grown food creates important economic opportunities, provides health benefits, and helps to reduce environmental impact. It also helps bring the community together and gives people the opportunity to make a difference (Arrowquip, 2017). One of the reasons why consumers buy locally grown foods is because they are complacent about where the food came from. For others, supporting community economics and building relationships with local food producers is incredibly important, as is protecting the environment (Arrowquip, 2017). By this kind of activity, they are supporting the local farmers and uplifting them to do more.
How do we classify locally grown foods? Nationwide, local foods are often sold directly to consumers through farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture (Hand, 2018). Most often, the locally grown foods that you can buy from farmers are the ones that are in season. According to Arrowquip (2017), the benefits of locally grown foods are; pesticide-free, preservative-free, improved nutrition, supports diet-related conditions, encourages eating a well-balanced diet, and it improves food safety. The disadvantage of locally grown food is that we cannot have it if it is not in season. Importing products from other countries has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of it is that we can eat foods that are not available to our country. But it also has its disadvantages. It has the risk of introducing foreign pests to our native lands and other foodborne diseases. 2015 WHO report on the estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases presented the first-ever estimates of disease burden caused by 31 foodborne agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, and chemicals) at the global and regional level (WHO, 2020).
It is now considered more efficient to focus inspection activities on ensuring compliance of systems for food safety management (implementation of the general principles for food hygiene and HACCP-based approaches) that can minimize the occurrence of food safety problems (FAO, 2021). Usually, before imported products are being brought to the local markets, it goes through strict inspection and monitoring by the enforcers. By this, pests and foodborne diseases can be prevented from entering the country.
Growing your own food has a lot to offer. This year in the middle of a pandemic, we started to grow plants in the backyard of my grandmother. The benefit of it is that we do not have to buy vegetables from the market because it is already available. And we have peace of mind because we know how safe our food is because we grow it ourselves. We are now self-sustaining in a way that we can produce our own food.
Hey guys! This is one of the essays that I wrote for my subject in Organic Chemistry. I just wanted to share it with you since I exerted efforts into writing this. Feel free to judge my essay writing skills. If you're wondering about the citations, it's because my professor asked us to do research and indicate the author's to give them credits.
Anyways, thank you for reading this. May God bless you! Keep safe and healthy!