If you're not growing your own food, it's difficult to know exactly where your food came from or how it was produced.
Science now plays a large role in the farming industry. Genetically modified seeds are sold to farmers all over the world. This allows farmers to produce higher yields. The produce is pesticide and herbicide resistant.
"It lets the farmer be more at ease knowing that his crops are in good shape, essentially protecting themselves out in the field," Panhandle farmer David Peckenpaugh said. "So the genetics that are in the plant are protecting them from disease and insects and it's a more vibrant plant."
Not everyone likes the idea of genetically modified food.
Tonya Gonzales is the Nutritional Health Code Chair at Natural Grocers, and is passionate about food.
"Non-organic food is grown using pesticide, herbicides, sometimes processed sewage sludge where organic farmers use cover crops, crop rotation, beneficial insects, companion planting, compostingâ?¦ everything to really build the soil up because healthy soil produces healthy food." Gonzales said.
The organic farming trend is a growing phenomenon. You can find organic foods at many grocery stores across the nation. There are even entire stores that are strictly dedicated to organic products. Farmer's markets are also a great place to find organic foods.
Allison Dunbar works at Cimarron Organics. You can find their produce right here at our own local Farmer's Market in Amarillo.
"It is more common to have organic farms and all organic farmer's markets in larger cities," Dunbar said.
She thinks we'll begin to see more and more Farmer's Markets pop-up all across the country as the word spreads.
"I think it's about the knowledge base and getting the info out there so people are aware of what they're putting in their mouths and what it's doing to them," saidDunbar.
Tonya Gonzales agrees.
"More and more people are finding they don't want hormones, growth promoters, they don't want GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, all those things in their food because they're realizing it does have a detrimental effect on health." said Gonzales.
Ronnie Kimbrell is the Owner and Farm Manager at Cimarron Organics farm, in north Amarillo.
He believes organic farming is the way to go.
"I became interested in organic farming over 20 years ago," Kimbrell said. "When I did, I bought books and started to educate myself. I just became convinced that growing without the use of herbicides and pesticides was the way I wanted to produce food. At the time, it just seemed like it was healthier and that what I wanted to be able to provide."
Organic farming is a little more labor intensive as both conventional and organic farmers share a common enemy in pests and weeds! It's the way the farmers deal with those issues that sets them apart. For instance, beneficial insects like ladybugs can naturally take care of the aphids that attack the tomato plants. Conventional farmers approach the same problem differently by using herbicides, and genetically modified plants that repel the insects.
There are pros and cons to both organic and conventional farming.
"Trust your farmer. We are interested in a safe and wholesome food supply.," Peckenpaugh said. "Our businesses depend on it."
"Go look it up and educate yourself because I think that's the most important thing you can do," Kimbrell said. "Be responsible for your own health."
"It comes down to education," Gonzales said "People really need to know and have the right to know what they're eating."
If you'd like to know more, here are a few links you might start with:
(Response to Stanford Study)