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What is the Difference Between Organic Farming and Traditional Farming?

written by: Marina Hanes•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 4/27/2010

Organic farming versus traditional farming...you decide which one is healthier for your lifestyle. While traditional farming protects crops against insect infestations and other issues, the organic method ensures that the fruits and vegetables are free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

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    The Basics of Traditional Farming

    When it comes to farming fruits and vegetables, there is such a demand for produce that the farmers really have to keep up with it. In order to come close to guaranteeing fresh products, many farms have resorted to using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as well as pesticides and fertilizers. This is the main difference between traditional and organic farming.

    In an attempt to create perfect, resilient crops, farmers are treating their fields with chemicals. Potent pesticides protect the food from insect infestations, but in the end, the food can contain residual chemicals. Why should this concern you? Well, ultimately you will be consuming that product.

    According to Green America, the following furits and vegetables often have pesticide residue: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach and strawberries. In essence, traditional farming contaminates their harvest and also breeds super organisms that grow to be resistant to certain pesticides.

    In addition to negatively affecting the crops, traditional farming harms the land. All of the chemicals soak down into the soil, which causes soil contamination and even groundwater contamination from the runoff.

    While organic farming is an alternative to using chemicals and unnatural ingredients to grow food, it also comes with its disadvantages.

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    An Overview of Organic Farming

    Crops that are organically farmed don't contain residual chemicals, because they're not treated with these types of ingredients. In this respect, organic farming can be a healthier option because harmful ingredients don't come along with the fruit or vegetable.

    However, there are still contamination risks with organic farming, because manure is often used as the fertilizer. If not composted properly, manure can transfer E. coli onto the harvest. By eating E.coli contaminated food, a person would experience food poisoning and sometimes even death if the person is elderly or suffering from serious health issues to begin with. But as long as the manure is composted at the right conditions, the bacteria isn't present.

    Lastly, because pesticides and fungicides are not used in organic farming practices, there is potential for the plants to develop mold or mycotoxins, which can pose a health risk. Some argue that the nitrates, which are used traditionally, actually cause mold to develop so this isn't necessarily a problem in organic farming.

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    So Which Is Better?

    Organic farming versus traditional farming...which method is healthier?

    While there isn't hard evidence that organic farming preserves the vegetables and fruits' minerals, nutrients and antioxidants, this method provides an end product to consumers that isn't pumped full of chemicals. There are pros and cons of each farming technique, but the extent on how wide the pesticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers reach is concerning. These chemicals are severely deteriorating the planet, and ingesting them isn't going to benefit our body's well-being either.

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    References

    • Green America - http://www.greenamericatoday.org/
    • Royal Society of Chemisty: Organic Food is Healthier and Safer Than Food Produced Conventionally - http://www.rsc.org/Chemsoc/Chembytes/HotTopics/Organic/OrganicHealthier.asp

    All About Organic Farming

    Would you like to know which produce is better for you? Well, you first need to educate yourself on organic farming, the types and methods, and the advantages organic farming provides. You will also learn the difference between traditional and organic farming methods as well as a cost comparison.
    1. Organic Farming Advantages: How It Helps the Earth
    2. Varying Challenges of the Different Types of Organic Farming
    3. What is the Difference Between Organic Farming and Traditional Farming?
    4. An Economic Comparison of Organic and Inorganic Farming Methods