Michael Pollan Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex

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Recently, I became a member of a CSA—community supported agriculture—and am receiving a box of organic produce delivered to my doorstep every week. My reasons for doing this are as follows: I want to eat locally grown produce; I want to reduce the use of chemicals in the food I eat; I want to reduce my carbon footprint by buying local, non-corporate food; I prefer to support local farmers, especially in a down economy; by subscribing rather than just buying at a farmer’s market, I’m showing my commitment to organic farming; and I will eat a broader range of vegetables as a result. By doing this, I am hoping to improve my own health while also, I hope, reducing the environmental costs of corporate farming. Michael Pollan’s “Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex,” Rachel Carson’s “The Human Cost,” and Peter Huber’s “How Cities Green the Planet” each provide insight into the way the organic farming practices are influencing the health of people and the planet. However, there are overlooked human costs to buying organic food: not everyone can afford it, and on organic farms, farmworkers may be more at risk for Valley fever and mosquito-borne illnesses. Nevertheless, organic farming practices have the best interests of the environment and of the humans living on the planet in mind.

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Lately we have been hearing a lot about buying local food, but many wonder whether it is healthier and better tasting than food that has come from longer distances. One benefit of local food is that the consumer knows exactly where it is coming from, and that may make the consumer feel better about eating it. A common definition of local food is food that comes from a single bioregion, which is a rather flexible term. For the purposes of this essay, food will be considered local if it comes from within a one-hundred mile radius. Why is eating and supporting locally grown food beneficial? Michael Pollan’s “Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex,” Rachel Carson’s “The Human...
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