The earliest concepts of organic farming began back in the mid 1800's, when the theory regarding mineral plant nutrition was developed by German Chemist, Justus von Liebig, who later became known as the founder of organic chemistry.
This organic movement just happened to coincide with time of the industrial revolution, when manmade power rocketed society into a new era of commercialism. Suddenly, it became possible to manipulate natural resources, allowing industries to satisfy this ever-growing consumer demand.
It is with the humble beginnings of hopes for an easier life, that has today, created society's unhealthy appetite of a commercial culture that is driven by the demands of people, regardless of whether it is realistically achievable or morally correct.
As consumers, we have become so used to with living with 24 hours, 7 day-a-week access to almost anything and everything that we have forgotten that this comes at a price. This could not be more true than in the farming industry, in which farmers are under increasing levels of pressure to satisfy the expectations of both the public and the food retail giants.
In their quest for high-quality meat and dairy products at a low price, these commercial giants have pushed many farmers into moving away from the organic roots of farming and in a direction that, given the facts, many would steer well clear.
GMO, or Genetically Modified Organisms, can be defined as:
“a plant or animal whose genes have been scientifically changed”
Although this may sound like something from a science-fiction novel, genetically modifying organisms is a very common practice across the world; people in America have been eating genetically modified foods for over twenty years.
What Does the Process Involve?
The whole concept behind genetically modified foods is that it will provide some sort of benefit somewhere along the line, whether it be increased nutrition, cheaper price or fortified, mass-produced crops.
To genetically modify an organism, scientists will combine the strongest genes of other plants or animals to create a hybrid form of genes, eradicating the weak points that once existed. Although a controversial process, there are circumstances in which genetically modifying organisms can seem greatly beneficial - in theory.
Scientists can modify the crops to ensure that they become more resilient against issues such as drought and diseases; for countries that experience poverty and hunger, using GMO is something that could radically change the welfare of its people. However, despite these great scientific advances, world hunger continues to exist.
According to the Soil Association, most of the genetically modified crops that are sold for commercial use are produced by some of the world's biggest chemical companies including Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta. In fact, the most-popular weed killer in the world is produced by Monsanto.
Although UK farmers are not allowed to produce genetically modified crops in the country, there are no laws that prevent them from importing them in from countries that allow the practice. This means that a huge majority of animals that are raised in regular farms are fed using genetically modified crops.
The European FSA stated that “possible that DNA fragments derived from GM plant materials in feed may occasionally be detected in animal tissues.”
Although many scientists in various studies have said that genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption, skepticism and doubt still remain.
Organic Farming and GMO's
It is strictly forbidden to use GMO in organic farming; farmers cannot use genetically modified feed for farm animals and are forbidden to plant genetically modified crops.