April 24, 2014

Organic Food vs. Conventional Food: a goverment conspiracy?

Why Is Organic Food More Expensive?

Most people assume that organic food cost less to produce. Why wouldn’t they be? Isn’t organic food grown on organic farms that are free from chemicals and pesticides? How expensive could it possibly be to cultivate a farm using the most basic elements that earth supplies – soil, rain and sun? It would be nice if growing organic food was truly this simple. However, it’s a lot more complex than this. The agricultural businesses are heavily subsidized through our tax dollars, whereas organic farms do not receive any government help.  This is the reason that conventional foods are far cheaper to buy. Our tax dollars underwrite a substantial part of the financial burden that conventional agriculture incurs.

This ludicrous situation was birthed out of an honorable intent by the American government to help ease the severe food shortage of the Great Depression in the 1930’s. In a desperate attempt to prevent further wide-spread starvation and famine, President Roosevelt introduced the subsidies to help sustain the farm industry.  Albeit the subsidies, were predetermined as a temporary solution, the allocation of them persisted far beyond the Depression, developing into the multi-million dollar political platform that it currently is.

Organic food is also more expensive by virtue of agrichemicals that are created to make conventional farming methods cheaper to practice. The agrichemicals agricultural industry was developed with one purpose in mind – to make mass production of food cheaper and quicker. There was never any forethought on nutrition, health or the environment in the design of agrichemicals.

So, has the government conspired against organic food?

I’ll let you answer that question for yourself. Despite the fact that agribusinesses receive government subsidies, there is another vitally reason that hikes up the cost of organic foods – supply and demand. You, as a consumer, tell the government what you are willing to pay for food and what quality of food you want on account of your purchases. Since the demand for conventional food far outweighs the demand for organic food, the government will continue to subsidize traditional agribusinesses thus maintaining the high costs of organic food.

While the demand for conventional food is higher than that of organic food, the issuing of government subsidies to the conventional agricultural industry is an archaic policy that should be defunct. Or at the very least these subsidies should be open to organic farmers as well. Subsidies that are issued to agribusiness are creating an excessive food surplus that is simply disposed of each year. Over 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year and this is largely in part to food production that can’t possibly be eaten. Hunger should not be an issue in America because there is far more food produced in our country than can be consumed. The disturbing fact is that a very small percentage of this surplus actually goes to food banks and organizations that help the needy.

Government subsidies would be better served by helping small local farmers, organic farms, community supported agricultural programs, food co-ops, etc so America can eat healthier and have better quality foods.

Ana Gazawi

Ana Gazawi

Single mom of two boys trying to live a greenier, crunchier life. Lover of life and all things that bring good people, great conversation, and lasting memories together.

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Parents, are you calling the shots

Ever since my first born received his first shot at the tender age of 1 month I’ve had a serious battle raging within me regarding vaccinations.  The battle is two-fold. Firstly, I can’t stand the effects vaccinations have on my children and secondly, I question whether or not they are even necessary.  I don’t think there is a mother in the world who can remain dry-eyed as they watch their baby let out a blood curdling scream when the syringe needle enters his soft tender skin. You may have heard the adage “When baby hurts, Mommy hurts harder”. This adage describes me to the tee when it comes to my children suffering any kind of pain – physically or emotionally.  Beyond the pain of the shot itself, is the suffering my sons endure from days of crankiness, fever and sleep deprivation.

When my second born was 2 months old I reached a point where I felt it was necessary to seriously think the whole vaccination process through. With his second round of shots a few days away I started having anxiety about having to vaccinate him and began to seriously think of calling it quits on vaccinations.

I shared my thoughts of quitting to a friend and she gave me a blank stare that said have you lost your mind? She was baffled that I would consider such a thing and expressed that it’s against the law not to vaccinate children. She began throwing out situations where vaccine records would be required – daycare, school, camps, etc. Then she asked if my reasons for wanting to quit were due to claims that vaccines cause autism.

It’s a controversial issue – whether or not vaccines do in fact cause autism. Honestly, I’m not sure where I stand on that issue. I have read scores of literature supporting evidence that vaccines were the cause of autism in some children. However, I’ve also done my due diligence on the other side of the issue that states that there is no conclusive link between vaccines and autism. I do question whether or not some of the vaccines are even beneficial since many of the illnesses they claim to prevent have already been eradicated from humans. Two such well known diseases are Smallpox and Rubella.  Furthermore, vaccines in and of themselves are weakened or killed form of the microbe or its toxin. Basically, in many cases, we are injecting into our children,  live cultures of the disease we are trying to prevent them from getting.

Deciding whether or not to vaccinate is a personal decision all parents need to consider wisely. I don’t feel there is a right or wrong decision. However, I do believe there is a misconception that parents do not have a say one way or another to do so or not to do so. Parents, you can call the shots regarding your children’s vaccination. I do not apologize for the pun because in this case it’s far too befitting. Mamas and Papas you have a choice in the matter. My wish is only to share some information that I have researched and challenge you to do your due diligence regarding vaccination.

Ana Gazawi

Ana Gazawi

Single mom of two boys trying to live a greenier, crunchier life. Lover of life and all things that bring good people, great conversation, and lasting memories together.

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Black and Thinking Green

We welcome Ana to our ever-expanding group of voices here at Moms of Hue. She is on a mission to live a green and better life. Read more about Ana “In the Spotlight“.

Thanks to the attention given to the environmental movement by celebrities and Fortune 500 companies, going green has become quite mainstream  in our conversations. However, Hollywood and Wallstreet aren’t the sole reason that environmentalism has been thrust into our common dialogue. It’s efforts by  consumers and everyday chatter at the kitchen table or the water cooler that have played the most integral part in leading the green discussion.

One of the main reasons this conversation has gained tremendous momentum is due to it’s economic impact. Consumers have been demanding better, safer products because it means improved health and a higher standard of living while permitting them to keep more of their hard earned income.  Huge corporations quickly gave their attention to unrelenting requests  for improved products when it had the potential to effect their bottom-line. This cause and effect relationship between consumers and  businesses is the foundation of our capitalism and the driving force behind much of the green initiatives.

However, the question begs whether or not people of hue, families of hue and more importantly  women of hue are being represented in the environmental round table. The importance of understanding the contributions that women of hue are having in these discussion is due to the fact that our dollars are having the greatest impact in the black community. According to the US Census Bureau in 2006, 56 percent of African-American families were single parent households. Black mothers with an overwhelming 91.4% were the head of households in these statistics. Women of hue have the greatest ability to change the financial mobility of the black community and hence why it’s vitally important to know the impact their voices have in the environmental discussions.

With the current state of the  economy on the forefront of the African-Americans’ minds, in addition to the many other afflictions in the community, some black people are left feeling there isn’t enough energy left over to deal with sustainability and environmentalism. Reducing carbon footprint or buying locally hardly seem important when the only means of transportation is a bus or when buying organic doesn’t make financial sense. The media plays on this misconception by portraying environmentalism as the act of radical hippies or the privilege of a certain social class.

Conventional marketing of eco-friendly products doesn’t make an effort to reach people of hue, as it appears they’ve concluded black people aren’t interested.  Truth be told,  women of hue have been speaking the language of environmentalism long before crunchies and treehuggers made being green a trendy thing.  Every black person can remember as a child having at least one member in the home (usually a mother) telling them to “Cut those lights off before you run up my electric bill!” We’ve been eating from the toil of the earth way before hippies made home gardens a public declaration of one’s green-ness. When it comes to pollution, blacks have been calling foul on urban city industries for decades.  It’s understandable that they would challenge inner city manufacturers, since they have suffered more severely than any other races from pollution. Reverend Jesse Jackson has had a powerful environmental platform on this issue for many years.

People of hue are interested in green friendly thinking. It directly impacts their health, their money, their lives. Black people above all other races have the highest rates of chronic illnesses like Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome, diabetes, Lupus,  Rheumatoid arthitis, Multiple Sclerosis and the list goes on. Studies have repeatedly shown that environmental issues are a contributing factor in the prevalence of these illnesses among black people.  However, there needs to be a restructuring of the dialogue about environmental justice with regards to the black community. It must be void of trendy eco-friendly jargon and overpriced brand named green products. It must be about green jobs, green-ing the infrastructure in the inner city, providing  better food options like community gardens and farmer’s markets and showing how environmentalism is frugal despite what big business would have them to believe.  Being black is thinking green; let the dialogue begin.

Ana Gazawi

Ana Gazawi

Single mom of two boys trying to live a greenier, crunchier life. Lover of life and all things that bring good people, great conversation, and lasting memories together.

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