Be the conventional farming system and their opinion

Be honest, do you know all the benefits and hazards of consuming any of the foods in your daily life? Whenever students are educated on the agricultural system, students first picture farms. Then one day they see documentary film on animal cruelty in the conventional farming system and their opinion is changed forever. Sometimes people become so focused on what some farming methods do to the environment that they don´t ask some other very important questions: How does this affect the health of my family and I? Chemical hazards are infecting our food and sometimes people are right to wonder how dangerous these things really are. I have taken culinary classes at las lomas since sophomore year. While I have enjoyed many parts of these classes the most interesting thing that our teacher showed us was a video on the works of an animal factory. Despite the disturbing knowledge we gained that day I still wanted to learn more about how the existence of this cruelty can affect us as human beings. I understood that these animals were treated as the people’s future food and nothing more, but consuming some of our daily products have a chance of doing harm. Then a few weeks later the class had a whole segment on pathogens that can be found in vegetables! There are dangers of eating anything in the world, it is the reason why cooking is sometimes considered a science, because neutralizing these hazards takes a great deal of consumer awareness. Eventually I expanded my questions to wondering how any product of the agricultural system could harm my health whether it comes from a local farm or something more industrial. Every week you or someone in your family goes to purchase the food needed for whatever period of time. Hopefully you read labels on the back of everything you put in your cart, but incase you don’t you should know what else you are buying along with it. I can think of a few examples of some dangerous bacteria that can be found in any food in the market. One of which is the well-known bacteria called E-coli; a major cause of discomfort that can be found if uncooked beef or poultry and even produce. This is a problem seeing that there is no way to tell if the carrots we purchase was made using the same water as used to work with livestock. Although most E Coli strains are usually harmless, there is always the chance that you can join the group of people experiencing bleeding or in serious cases: death. To know that so many people are unaware of issues that not only affect the US, but the entire world worries me. Do you keep track of pathogens such as E-coli or the way in which our produce is brought to markets and then brought to our table. Your parents may not even  know that the eggs in the public fridge could be a contributor to the one million cases of salmonella in the United States alone. From what I’ve seen, most people know very little about hazards such as this one and admittedly neither did I once upon a time. Dangers from certain areas of the farming system can come in appear in small and large portions, but I think that educating people on the facts, good or bad, can be easily if the audience is willing to listen.I know so much more now that I’ve done research into the unseen effects that both industrial farms and more private or organic farms can have on the health of our health. Millions of people enjoy their food without any complications but other millions are infected every year from foods from raw beef to spinach. People have a right to know more about all risks and benefits of the agricultural system, and they should also know how different farms can compare in these proven effects. Private or organic farming have been a way of life for centuries and there can be many things to say about how it is conducted in today’s society. Romona Llea claims that world’s surface has a high level of agricultural production. Approximately 70% of its surface is dedicated to production of agricultural goods both from livestock or produce (Intensive Livestock Farming). In fact, private farms actually dominate most frozen goods, and ice cream was considered a soda fountain good until the 1930s (National Agricultural Service Statistics). The information is consistently updating and this kind of information should be shared.With such a large portion of the world being dedicated to feeding everyone on the globe there is much responsibility in keeping consumers well informed, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Many people wonder why organic or sustainable farming is to be preferred rather than  going to the town grocery store such as Whole foods or Trader Joe’s. When you buy from a local producer, that’s when you tend to get to know what that person is like and if you can trust them enough to buy produce from them. An organic farmer is typically someone you can ask questions and eventually learn to trust. Any deal with an industrial farm can be completely one-sided seeing as how they supposedly know what you want from them, but you have no idea how they got it. In fact, the exposure to the chemicals used on the produce from industrial farms can also negatively affect the workers. Joshua Ledesma also explained that one reason his family converted to organic farming was because their workers kept getting “horribly sick” due to these underlying  conditions. Industrial farms are one of the more energy less efficient ways to feed an entire planet. Large industrial farms mainly produce corn and soy, and people argued that these products are making them fat and sick. The industry’s response was claiming that its “not the farmer’s fault” and that the government can change that (Tamar Haspel). Also the Intensive livestock production uses an enormous amount of energy that can be used for better things for heating, ventilation, and feeding and that is a fact. These farms can tend to produce more carbon dioxide than it does to manufacture chemical fertilizer (Romona Llea). There is good reason to worry for the amount industrial farms compared to more private and organic farms. The fierce competition is still ongoing with more small scale farms desperately trying to keep up with large scale production of the industrial system. Industrial farms are commonly hired to mass produce one kind of crop and have them sold to the same buyer(s) over and over again in an endless loop(Brian Halweil). An expert in the field said to me “Always more and more. Their concern is not how it’s produced, just how much”(Joshua Ledesma). Industrial farms only ever concern themselves with the following: what to produce, how to produce it quickly, and how much money they can make. Organic farms are also more likely to have whatever produce you need. Although you may be able to find what you are looking for in your common grocery store, why should people buy their produce from one store that gets its goods from places we’ve never heard of? Farms that convert from industrial methods often have to make changes to their business, and by doing so they have to cut their level of business in half (Tamar Haspel). One farm that ended up going organic had to keep it’s business flowing by having to split the business into two parts; one that grow the produce and another that cures and sells the seed. Since they don’t use as many chemicals, and they have to produce multiple goods instead of making many of one (Joshua Ledesma). By making an effort to support local farms we can help businesses such as this one to better keep up with the competition provided by the farms using tons of chemicals to make ends meet. There are many diseases, parasites, and pathogens that can spread through the improperly handled food products of today’s society. E-coli is one of the most renowned pathogens more commonly spread by the food industry known for its infection rate and the discomfort it causes. This intestinal pathogen is, since plants do not have stomachs, usually spread by animals (Abigail Geer). These animals are often given chemicals or improper food such as corn which can help develop the E-coli stand. The infection rate is also very alarming, an expert named Abigail Geer said, “Millions of people get infected by E. Coli every year, and one specific strain known to cause UTIs invades the bloodstream resulting in an estimated 36,000 deaths annually in the U.S. alone.” Unfortunately, though it may be focused in meat or poultry, E-coli can spread from meat to things such as vegetables. Due to the amount of manure produced by industrial factories, the water used in farming has become contaminated. Therefore, contaminating the crops such as one of the most common;spinach (Abigail Geer). Although the practices of organic farming may usually be healthier in comparison to factory farming there are issues that can still be addressed. Expert Marc Morane said, “The higher incidences of fecal contamination in organic foods were linked to heavy reliance on composted animal manure for fertilizer. Though conventionally grown produce may use some manure, it chiefly relies on chemical fertilizers” (OCA, Marc Morane). Though Industrial farming should be held accountable for a lot of wrongdoing the truth is that organic farms are not perfect. There have even been some studies from the University of Minnesota that show that organically grown produce which have had 9.7% positive samples for E-coli versus the 1.6% for conventional farms. On the other hand, E-coli is not the only dangerous pathogen, the bacteria called Salmonella can also take a place among the most notorious dangers to society as well. The Center for Disease Control(CDC) has estimated that over one million cases have arisen in the United States that can be connected to “feed containing animal products” (Abigail Geer). This contamination can be caused by many things from small to large in the food industry, including an issue in farms separate from the farming industry. One of the first reports on some serotypes of Salmonella enterica in the US poultry feed samples was published in 1948. These Salmonella enterica is form of salmonella that causes gastroenteritis, causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines (Farlex Free Dictionary) in humans (Merriam Webster). In fact, it was founded in 1995 “56% of 101 animal protein-based feed samples collected from 78 rendering plants and 36% of 50 vegetable protein-based feed samples collected from 46 feed mills were positive for S. enterica”(Amy Sapkota). I know that some have most likely seen or heard a lot about animal treatment in the industrial food industry, but might not of heard so much on how it can harm us. The Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations raises animals in the poor conditions of high density. These methods of production are in fact most common in the US and throughout Europe (Ramona Llea). These conditions that the industry willingly put our livestock can have very negative effects on us.The animals aren’t the only organisms that could greatly impact us, toxic gases produced by some of these facilities can cause a great deal of respiratory problems and harm proximate communities (Greenhaven Press). One more thing that needs to be considered is the very air that we breathe. It’s one thing poison our food at times but doing so to the air is hazardous to people as innocent as children. In fact, asthma has been a growing problem and specialist Llea Christina claims: “Recent studies that looked at 339 schools in North Carolina showed that exposure to airborne pollution is associated with increased symptoms of asthma in adolescents attending schools located near intensive livestock farms that raise pigs (Mirabelli et al. 2006a, b). They also found that non-Caucasian students and students of low socioeconomic status were the most affected (Mirabelli et al. 2006b).”It has been proven that many industrial farms that are associated with the International Federation of Agricultural Producers produces numerous toxic gases and organic dusts that can cause upper respiratory irritation for its employees (Greenhaven Press). These gases are nothing more than poison, and the only cure is to put pressure on the people spreading it. The most obvious question is how we can help fix the problems that have been dealt to the world’s people. We have many reasonable concerns and luckily there are some organizations keeping up the good fight. “There are some hopeful signs that it’s already happening. Cover cropping and no-till farming, which help improve soil health and reduce runoff, are on the rise. Recent droughts have underscored the importance of building up organic matter, which retains water, in soil” (Tamar Haspel). The FDA has been regulating the level of antibiotics in animal feed since 2004, but unfortunately no U.S. data collection system regards the specific types and amounts of antibiotics that are used for this purpose (Amy Sapkota). The most that people can and should do is to put as much pressure on the US government and on the food industries to regulate all chemicals and foreign agents that are being inserted into the food system. These Problems are a danger to human health and quality of life not only in the US but around the entire globe. Admittingly, it can be difficult for us the people do make major changes, especially if the deck is stacked against us, but there is always something that can be done. It may not be possible to take on the entire food industry, but what we can do is take the small steps. Unless governments decide to make changes on a larger scale the people should try to rely on the more local farms because these aren’t the people trying to make a dollar. These are your neighbors who chose not be part of the things that negatively the country’s health. We the people can make a difference with weapons of fact, not opinion, and determination to make a safer diet for everyone. I’m not saying you should stop eating or go vegan or anything, I’m saying that we all need to choose our food cautiously. Here in the US everything is industrially produced and that usually means that sometimes it’s not about quality but quantity. They put the food out there but as consumers, we need to take the time to read those labels and to look into the sources of our food. Industrial farms want to make ends meet above everything else, so the solution is simple: to look into how far they are willing to go. They may be providing for us but we need to put whatever pressure on them that we can to provide for us in a way that truly is in our best interests. There was a time when the world lived on local farming alone. Unfortunately since the population has increased so dramatically it is very unlikely that we will ever go back to that time. Local farming is the reason our ancestors ate so well, and it could be the reason that we are so healthy. There are however local farms that do in fact use some industrial methods but still retain that farms morals in health. Our food defines how long we live and the same goes for the entire next generation and then the generation after that. Go to your local farmers market, or even grow your own produce.When Industrial farms pollute us, Private farms serve us and work to benefit our health. If it is a question of which two farming types is better for humanity than there are many ways to answer that. I do understand that given the US population, industrial farms may be necessary to supply for both the demand for food and to supply for the ever growing population. Although, just because they may be needed doesn’t mean that they should poison it. Local farms have always been a source of what so consider “pure food” that is whole and uncontaminated. Until some very major changes are made, we the people need to put the pressure on both them and the government so that we eat the way we are meant to: the right way.

Written by