Organic farming has been touted as a means to reduce the carbon footprint that humanity continues to press into the ecosystem as the population continues to grow. What is not always taken into account is that organic farming takes far more effort and puts out just as much if not less yield than conventional farming. Consumers and farmers alike are asked to take heed of this very serious fact and take into account the facts that are presented concerning organic farming vs. conventional farming (3). Conventional farming can affect world hunger far more than organic farming. (1)
Robert Paarlberg uses a host of examples to showcase how the Green Revolution was beneficial in combating world hunger in China and India (2) (613). His impassioned words are an attempt to reach people on a more emotional level. The pathos is the attempt to tell people just how the Green Revolution has helped the world in such an immense way. His attempt at logos is to inundate the reader with the accomplishments of the Green Revolution while still detailing how the poorer farmers have lost out (613). He uses ethos by citing how the CDC and their continuing crackdown on safe storage and transportation methods for foods has led to a much lower propensity for contamination and any related illnesses (4,5) (614).
Parrlberg’s tone is one of vague condescension as he attempts to whittle down the
resistance of the masses to conventional farming through several examples of how it is superior
to organic farming. For instance, to produce more organic farmland it would be necessary to up
the production of natural fertilizers produced by animals. In doing this however more and more land would need to be utilized as a food source for these animals. That in turn would mean that deforestation would become a very serious issue, thereby harming the environment even more. In short, organic farming simply takes too much effort to produce a satisfactory yield.
His tone is quite convincing as he cites such sources as the CDC and The American Journal Clinical Nutrition to show that organic food is in no way superior to conventionally-farmed foods (6,9, 10). The idea that they use non-toxic fertilizers and an all natural process might have been fine when the human population had yet to grow so big. As of now organic farming is a luxury that cannot be afforded. Paarlberg organizes his argument in a manner that starts very small with the consumer and their reaction to organic foods, and then widens to encapsulate the global affect that organic farming can have (8). He uses very broad strokes in his argument that are laced with supporting facts and data that help to round out the idea that organic foods are not the answer.
While he does in fact go into great detail about organic foods and their impact on world hunger, he tends to leave out the very premise that his title seems to allude to. There is mention of Whole Foods and how it is meant to reduce the carbon footprint of humanity by utilizing only foods that are grown organically, but after that brief mention it is left out almost entirely (7). The bigger picture seems to swallow the original premise and leave it lying on the opening paragraph like a discarded book cover.
Paarlberg makes a very good argument about organic foods and the fact that they are not the boon that so many believe. Yet he seems to ascend from his primary point rather quickly and adopt a worldview that goes far and wide from his original point. He is quite adept at arguing passionately about the need for conventional farming however.
Paarlberg, Robert. “Attention Whole Foods Shoppers.” Everything’s An Argument. Eds. Andrea
- Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, & Keith Walters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, 610-620, Print.