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Nevertheless, America's appetite for all-natural, organic food has grown at the remarkable rate of over 20 percent annually for the past 10 years. This makes organic agriculture -- farming and processing food without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as synthetic pesticides and many inorganic fertilizers -- the fastest growing sector of America's agricultural economy. Contrast that to the scarcity of organic items to be found 20 years ago... and those only in specialty shops. Today, organic selections are as easy to find in conventional supermarkets and mainstream stores as in natural food stores. (Goodwin, 1999).
In fact, mainstream stores altogether account for 49 percent of organic retail sales, just exceeding the 48 percent logged by natural food stores. Organic items are flourishing in other, direct venues, including farmers' markets, farm stands, roadside stands, farm subscriptions, and mail orders. In all, commerce from this array of diverse outlets, large and small, puts America in first place internationally in total organic sales. With increasing food safety scares across Europe, organically produced foods have been gaining immense popularity, with consumers evermore concerned about the food they eat. However, the UK's Food Standards Agency has reacted to this latest report.
The FSA said, "We are not persuaded to change our position on organic food, which is that there is not enough information to say that organic food is significantly different in terms of food safety and nutrition from conventional food. " UK organic food certification body, the Soil Association (SA) has released a report which it claims scientifically proves organic food is healthier and safer to eat, than foods produced under conventional methods. (Worthington, 1998). Nutritionist Shane Heaton led the study, comparing organic foods against non-organic foods in terms of food safety, nutritional content and health effects. The report, Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, suggests that consumers can increase their daily mineral and vitamin intake by eating organically produced foods. At the same time, consumers would reduce their exposure to any potential harmful pesticides and additives used in conventional farming methods. The report also stated that organic foods have significant health benefits. Speaking on the report, Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association said organic foods are "higher in phyto nutrients - compounds which protect plants from pests and disease and are often beneficial in the treatment of cancer." (Jefferson, 1998).
Over the years, organic farmers have closely followed the findings from ARS studies, in particular those on weed management, soil fertility, biological pest control, and integrated pest management. Much of ARS' research already aims to increase use of on-farm resources and decrease use of chemicals. For the most part, however, those studies have been done on conventional -- not organic -- farming systems. But that's changing. Organic studies -- from production to processing -- are increasingly a formal part of ARS efforts and can benefit both types of farming systems.
In 1998, Congress paved the way for more organic investigations by authorizing an organic farming bill. Some collaborations were already in place between organic farmers and ARS specialists and, in many instances, their university colleagues. (Gross, 2002).
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Research essay sample on Organic Foods Organic Farming
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Essay on organic farming
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