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Type: Multiple-Choice
Category: Problem and Solution
Level: Grade 10
Standards: CCRA.R.5, RI.9-10.5
Tags: ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5
Author: szeiger
Created: 6 years ago

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Organic or Local?
by Dave McCaul

The demand for organic foods has grown out of a need to preserve our natural environment. When we see a bag of carrots that is labeled organic, we know that the carrots were grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And so we choose these carrots and ignore the ones in the next aisle, which bear no "organic" label. But is buying organic always the best choice for the environment?

The answer, surprisingly, is no. While "organic" labels are certainly helpful, they simply do not give consumers sufficient information. To explain why, we can use the above-mentioned example of the carrots. Let's say the organic carrots were grown in Mexico while the unlabeled carrots were grown within ten miles of the grocery store. Now, consider the long journey those organic carrots made from Mexico to the grocery store. Most likely they were transported on trucks for hundreds, if not thousands of miles. The fuel used in transporting these carrots resulted in CO2 emissions, which are harmful to the environment.

Another thing to consider is that some foods are grown organically but do not have an "organic" label. Farmers have to submit to a strict certification process in order to label their foods as "organic." Just because a farm does not meet the certification standards does not necessarily mean that they use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

As consumers, we have the right to know how and where our foods were grown.
Unfortunately, an "organic" label does not give us enough information to make an informed decision. Thus, we should demand better labeling. Grocers know where their products come from. And if they know, why shouldn't we? The best way to advocate change is to talk to local grocers. It might also help to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Someday, perhaps, we'll know the whole story about the foods we choose to consume.

Grade 10 Problem and Solution CCSS: CCRA.R.5, RI.9-10.5

How does the author open up the article?
  1. By defining what it means to be organic
  2. By promoting local farmers
  3. By describing a typical shopping experience
  4. By quoting an organic farmer
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