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The Organic Phenomenon Essay

When you buy something that says “organic” on it 90 percent of you believe you are buying better “health and nutrition”. The article “What are you Buying When you Buy Organic” by Steven Shapin tells us what is really going on, along with him giving us his perception of the things we purchase that say they’re organic. Organic growers in today’s society are just like other business leaders. They want to make the most amount of money for the lowest cost of goods needed. Something that is purely organic is so far out of the realistic person’s reach that it is almost a dream.

The organic label on produce at Whole Foods means that the food was “grown without synthetic fertilizers” (428) which means that there weren’t any chemically enhanced pesticides or herbicides along with anything new being introduced to its environment. According to Steven Shapin who wrote “What are you Buying when you Buy Organic” tells us about a particular organic farming business, Earthbound Farms. In his article he describes to us the good and the bad of Earthbound farms, everything from how their “farming techniques annually obviate the use of more than a quarter of a milling pounds of toxic chemical pesticides and almost 8.4 million pounds of synthetic fertilizers, which saves 1. 4 million gallons the petroleum needed to produce those chemicals.

Their tractors even use biodiesel fuel. ” (431-430) to how “everything else is late-capitalist business as usual” (430). Shapin goes on to elaborate on a fellow article writer Michael Pollan’s article and how his views tie into that of Shapin’s. He talks about Pollan’s quest for the “perfect meal” and how its impossible to do for the realistic community of the city and how he demands “that we know must more about what we’re putting into our mouths” (438).

This “perfect meal”, he describes for us, is not going to solve the Malthusian crisis and that if everyone on the planet tried to do the “perfect meal” then about two billion people of the world would die. By the end of the article it is safe to imply that even though synthetic fertilizers aren’t organic, without them about a third of the world’s population wouldn’t be here. He ends his article with something that Cascadian Farm’s Gene Kahn once said, “This is just lunch for most people. Just lunch.

We can call it sacred, we can talk about communion, but it’s just lunch. ” (440) Along with the other 90 percent of people I thought that organic meant healthier and more nutritious. As an athlete I try to stay as healthy as I can be, by eating mostly organic things. If I weren’t an athlete I probably wouldn’t care as much of what I would eat. I completely agree with what Shapin is saying in this article…almost. Shapin talks about an English angronomist, Sir Albert Howard, who states that the soil, plants, and people who eat the plants are one big entity.

I agree with this statement for many reasons. One, if the soil is bad then the food will be bad and have a bad impact on the people who eat it. Two, if you have to keep fertilizing and making everything genetically and chemically enhanced then it will impact everything else badly. Lastly, just because the farmer is trying to make more money doesn’t give him the right to put synthetic fertilizers and hormones and genes etc. in the plants and soil, which will overall have a bad impact on the world.

Shapin talks about how great Earthbound farms is and from all of the statistics it really is a great company, even though they’re almost as bad as the other companies. With the amount of things that they’re doing to try and help save the environment it is astonishing that more businesses don’t do what they’re doing. They have become “the nation’s largest grower of organic produce” (428) recieving almost 450 million a year in revenue. I’m glad to know that the food I can find at Whole Foods is actually organic and not jsut a label.

Shapin also states that we should know where are food comes from and what has been done to the food. This is the one point of this article that I don’t think would be beneficial to the greater amount of people. I believe that if everyone knew where their food came from and what was done to their food they would spend too much time looking for the “perfect meal” that almost doesn’t exist. All in all though, I agree with Shapin’s article about organic food. In conclusion, Steven Shapin’s “What are you Buying when you Buy Organic” article is a great read.

It gives great insight into the organic world. He talks about Whole Foods, Earthbound Farms, along with Michael Pollan’s quest for the “perfect meal”. He showed us what is really going on with organic food and gave some statistics as well. From his article we recieved some very useful information about some not so organic things that are considered organic. In the end, however, he says that it all doesn’t matter to the majority of the population and that it’s “just lunch. We can call it sacred, we can talk about communion, but it’s just lunch.

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