Throughout this week of class we have learned that the organic movement is not as good as we thought.  Many farms that grow organic produce only reserve a section of their farm for organic products.  But how can they keep the crops separate in terms of soil quality and types of pesticides used?  At the same time organic foods are not free of pesticides, there are defined organic pesticides that farmers commonly use.  Furthermore a majority of farmers that grow ‘organic’ foods do it because it is profitable because people believe they are getting produce that has no pesticides and was grown on a small farm.  Overall consumers associate organic with quality; they understand it as not being messed with.  Sadly this is not true.  The farmers are not trying to make the world better or Americans healthier.  In this way organic farming has combined with industrial farming.  This all has caused me to reevaluate the value of purchasing organic foods in grocery stores.  When there are organic sections or just food labeled organic, what does that mean? Is it worth spending the extra money for organic products?  I have learned from conversations on this subject that it is worth buying organic apples, strawberries, peppers and potatoes.  Nevertheless I do not understand why these products are worth buying organic and others such as tomatoes are not.  I’m also led to believe that there are varying beliefs pertaining to what products are worth buying organic.  My personal debate leads me favor the local movement.  Even though, local food can have pesticides or be genetically modified at least I would be able to know.

Since I felt uninformed about organics I looked it up.  This post I found presented the standards for organic products including: animals who have not been fed antibiotics, or growth hormones, animals have been fed organic food for no less than a year, they can go outside, food isn’t genetically modified, fertilizer does not have sewage or synthetic materials, and produces does not have pesticides on it made from synthetic chemicals.  This is a good list yet there are flaws.  I have no problem with the first standard however the fact that animals must eat organic food for a year is a little ridiculous.  If they aren’t eating organic food for more than a year what are they eating? They cannot eat anything with antibiotics, growth hormones, or something with animal byproducts.  Also what is organic food? Is it the same for humans and animals? As for the third point, animals can have a small door in their pen of hundreds of animals, but that does not mean they physically can or will go outside.   Finally the last point implies that there are specific fertilizers that you can use instead of those that are synthetic.  In general organic food does not have to grow naturally without pesticides.

The article also describes the terminology of labels.  For example organic means that at last 95% of the ingredients are organically produced.  How many consumers are aware of this?  In addition organic does not mean environmentally friendly.  That food had to be transported and packaged before arriving in the store.

Finally the article lists the foods that you should by organically and those that you do not really need to.  The only reason for the separations given is that some pesticides cannot be washed of produce.  I would think that there are more reasons than this.  An interesting point about seafood is that wild or farmed fish can be labeled organic, but that does not mean it is free of contaminants.  Isn’t that great?

This article is very informative, but it also shows the flaws in our regulation system of defining organic.  Overall I have more of an understanding of what foods are organic.  At the same time I do not feel as though this article provides a complete picture.