Environmental Effects of Fast-Food Essay.
The primary goal What Is Organic Agriculture? of organic agriculture is to optimize the health A and productivity of interdependent According to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic agriculture is “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on communities of management practices that restore, maintain, or enhance ecological harmony.
The soil life, plants, rimary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of animals, and people.
interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and people. ” (NOSB, 2003) Though the term “organic” is defined by law (see “Legal” section on pages 3 and 4), the terms “natural” and “eco-friendly” are not. Labels that contain those terms may imply some organic methods were used in the production of the foodstuff but do not guarantee complete adherence to organic practices as defined by a law. Some products marketed as “natural” may have been produced with synthetic or manufactured products (those not onsidered to be “organic”), such as “natural beef.
Farming without tion statistics in the United States the use of petroleum-based chemicals (USDA-ERS, 2002). This census, conductare young people (fertilizers and pesticides) was the sole ed in 2002, identified U. S. farmers who and college-educated option for farmers until after World War reported 2. 5 million acres of land II. The war brought with it technologies dedicated to organic production. This consumers. that were useful to agricultural producfigure probably under-represents current tion.
For example, ammonium nitrate production because many organic farmused for munitions during World War II ers produce their products organically, volved into ammonium nitrate fer tilizer; but sell less than $15,000 per year and are exempt organophosphate nerve gas production led to the from inspection (see “Organic Certification”), or do development of powerful insecticides. These technot label their product as organic and, in general, nical advances since World War II have resulted in are direct marketing to a local customer. In 1999, significant economic benefits as well as environIowa farmers reported 150,000 acres of organic mental and social detriments. Organic agriculture cropland to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and seeks to use those advances that consistently yield
Land Stewardship (IDALS) survey. This increase in benefits, such as new varieties of crops, precision organic acreage in Iowa represents a doubling from agriculture technologies, and more efficient the previous year and a sixfold increase since 1996. machinery, while discarding those methods that The U. S. organic industry continues to grow at have led to negative impacts on society and the a rate of 20 percent annually. Industry estimates environment, such as pesticide pollution and insect placed it at $10 billion in 2001. The organic industry pest resistance. Organic farming is considered a s a consumer-driven market. According to industry systems approach, where interactions between surveys, the largest purchasers of organic products components (crops, animals, insects, soil) are as are young people and college-educated consumers. important as the whole farm itself.
Today we are faced with the unique opportunity to Instead of using synthetic fertilizers, organic take advantage of a growing market demand and farmers use crop rotations, cover crops, and comuse the technologies developed over the past 50 post to maintain or enhance soil fertility. Also, years. More and more farmers are interested in nstead of using synthetic pesticides, organic the profitability and environmental benefits that farmers employ biological, cultural, and physical organic systems yield. methods to limit pest expansion and increase populations of beneficial insects. Geneticallymodified organisms (GMOs), such as herbicideresistant seeds and plants, as well as product ingredients, such as GM-lecithin, are disallowed in organic agriculture because they constitute synthetic inputs and pose unknown risks (see GMO discussion opposite).