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Over the years, we’ve assembled a very comprehensive collection of facts and studies focused on the health, economic, and environmental aspects of food and farming.

We’ll keep adding to this list, and once it’s large enough, we’ll create separate pages for each topic: Health, Environment, Economcy, Culture, & Climate Change.

 

Health

Organic tomatoes are produced in an environment that leads to a 79 percent higher amount of the antioxidant quercetin and a 97 percent higher amount of the antioxidant kaempferol.

Organic fruit and vegetables contain 40% more antioxidants (believed to cut the risk of heart disease and cancer) compared to non-organic.

Soft drinks account for about 7 percent of all the calories ingested in the US, making them “the number one food consumed in the American diet.”

The state of Georgia is the 6th largest vegetable producer in the nation but has the 2nd highest childhood obesity rate.

In 2005, the Georgia Department of Human Resources estimated that 25% of Georgia third-graders were obese.

Adolescents who participated in the garden-based nutrition intervention increased their servings of fruits and vegetables more than students in the two other groups. Although further research is needed, the results of this study seem to indicate the efficacy of using garden-based nutrition education to increase adolescents’ consumption of fruits and vegetables. (McAleese, J. D. & L. L. Ranklin. (2007).

Organic ketchup contains 57 percent higher amounts of the health-promoting antioxidant lycopene than regular ketchup, according to U.S.D.A scientists.

Prostate cancer has been linked to exposure to agricultural pesticides. Double the number of children living on Iowa farms developed childhood lymphoma as the number of children who didn’t live on farms.

{The Dangers of Pesticides/The Benefits of Organic Foods pt. 1}

In the summer of 2010, the President’s panel on cancer reported that consumers could decrease their risk of contracting cancer if they chose foods grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones.

“The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures,” the panel wrote in a letter to President Obama.

“Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers… Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free- range meat raised without these medications.”

It was one of the strongest, science-based endorsements of organically produced foods produced by the federal government. (And since then, the U.S.D.A. has announced plans to ratchet up the National Organic Program.)

 

{The Dangers of Pesticides/The Benefits of Organic Foods – pt. 2}

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have found that children whose mothers were exposed to certain types of pesticides while pregnant were more likely to have attention problems, such as ADHD, as they grew up.

The problem with conventional pesticides are organophosphates, which are designed to attack the nervous systems of bugs by interfering with neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, which is crucial for human brain development.

Few symptoms showed up at age three, but by age five the trend was significant. A tenfold increase in pesticide metabolites in the mother’s urine correlated to a 500 percent increase in the chances of ADHD symptoms by age 5, with the trend stronger in boys.

{Avoiding Pesticides is Easy}

You can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly 80 percent by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and instead eating the least contaminated produce, according to EWG calculations. When you eat the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you’ll be exposed to an average of 10 pesticides a day.

The Dirty Dozen: Celery, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale, collard greens, potatoes, peaches, strawberries, apples, domestic blueberries, nectarines, cherries, and imported grapes.

When you choose fresh produce from the 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables, you’ll consume fewer than two pesticides per day.

The Clean 15: Onions, sweet corn, sweet peas, asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, sweet potatoes, avocados, pineapples, mangoes, kiwi, domestic cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit and honeydew.

SOURCE: The Environmental Working Group

{Organics Excel Under Microscope}

Washington State University conducted one of the most comprehensive side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms, analyzing 31 chemical and biological soil properties, soil DNA, and the taste, nutrition, and quality of three strawberry varieties on 13 conventional farms and 13 organic farms.

Researchers found the organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse.

Findings include:
• The organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds;
• The organic strawberries had a longer shelf life;
• The organic strawberries had more dry matter, or, “more strawberry in the strawberry;” and
• Anonymous testers, working at times under red light so the fruit color would not bias them, found one variety of organic strawberries was sweeter, had better flavor, and once a white light was turned on, appearance. The testers judged the other two varieties to be similar.

The organic soils surpassed the conventional farmland in several key chemical and biological properties, including carbon sequestration, nitrogen, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and micronutrients. DNA analysis found the organically managed soils had dramatically more total and unique genes and greater genetic diversity, important measures of the soil’s resilience to stress and ability to carry out essential processes.

 

Environment

The nearly 205 million broiler chickens, 9 million egg-laying hens, 235,000 hogs, and 35,000 dairy cows on factory farms in Georgia produce as much untreated manure as 85 million people — nearly nine times the population of Georgia.

CAFO animals in the U.S. produce about six times the volume of fecal matter of all humans on our planet.  Animals on pasture, by contrast, enrich the soil.

According to the EPA, all but one of the top 10 polluters of water in Georgia were fertilizer manufactures. The pollution killed thousands of fish, created dead zones in rivers and lakes, and endangered drinking water.

Agriculture is the No.1 source of non-point source pollution in the state.

 

Economy

 

Out of $20 billion Georgians spend on food annually, $16 billion goes to out of state producers.

For every $100 spent at  conventional grocery story, $25 is re-spent locally. For every $100 spent at a farmers’ market, $62 is re-spent locally.

According to the CDC, direct treatment for the overweight and obese costs Georgia more than $2 billion a year.

82 percent of all U.S.D.A. farm subsidy payments went to top 10 percent of Georgia farms, amounting to $4.15 billion over 15 years. 70 percent of Georgia farmers did not collect subsidy payments between 1995 and 2009. $294 million went to farmers and ranchers for environmentally beneficial farm enhancements and conservation practices.

{What If Georgians Ate Georgia Produce?}

If each of the approximately 3.7 million households in the state devoted $10 per week to locally grown products from Georgia, it would add more than $1.9 billion back into the state’s economy, according to “The Local Food Impact: What if Georgians Ate Georgia Produce?” –  a study conducted by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

 

 

Culture

1,465 farms have disappeared in Georgia Since 2002.

Since 2004, the number of CSA/farm box programs has increased by 525 percent, and the number of customers has increased by 700 percent.

Since 2004, the number of certified organic producers has increased 220 percent and the number of organic acreage has increased by 892 percent.

 

Climate Change

Globally, agriculture accounts for 33 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

1/5th of the energy used by the food system in the US actually goes towards growing the food.  The other 4/5ths is spent on processing, packaging, moving and storing food.