Thursday, November 6, 2014

Exploration 6: Tony Frantz

The Fresh documentary left me with a mixed review on the subject of industrial and organic farming. There were many given arguments and facts stated by the organic farmers that really gave me an eye-opening message of what am I really putting into my body. The visual display of industrial farms left me with sort of a disgusting/sickening feeling, as they showed how the animals are treated and prepped before slaughtered and used for mass quantity feeding. Although organic farming seems to be the best and healthiest way to go about farming, it seems almost impossible to supply the needs of the US population in terms of quantity.

While watching the documentary Fresh, many eye capturing scenes really stuck with me. In the opening scenes of Fresh, I had seen baskets full of baby chickens at the Tyson chicken farm, crammed into tight little boxes, later being thrown onto the ground from about 4 ft. high as if the chicken were as equal to a pile of dirt. The Tyson chicken farm as well as many of the other nation wide farms, use a method where there is no variation used to farm, which is known as monoculture farming. This practice of farming leads to warehouses either full of pigs, chickens, and cows to raise them in large quantities, feeding them genetically modified food and sometimes the animals own species as food. Chickens were shown packed into tiny little cages with their beaks and claws cut off, as they would stay in the cage all day and produce large amounts off eggs. These eggs are not 100% natural eggs that should contain natural vitamins and protein, but don't due to the genetically modified food.

George Naylar is a conventional farmer in Iowa, who produces soybeans and corn. Although George believes in natural farming, bugs are eating his livestock, which causes him to use chemical sprays to keep the bugs away. George has been farming in Iowa for a long time now as he talks about how people use to raise live stock in the area; however, Michael Pollen states that there are no farmers with live stock anymore because as quoted "large corporations changed that, and turned them into factory farms and feed lots". The demand of large amounts of food have required most farmers to switch over to growing corn and soybean since it can be mass produced with the use of GMO's and chemical sprays. Farmers are unable to obtain much money anymore by growing organic livestock with the use of the land to raise these animals. This is why many farmers such as George, have switched over to farming large quantities of crops (industrial farming) that are used as fillers in most of the products consumed by the daily American. Michael Pollen also talks about how manure is a naturally used substance to feed the soil its nutrients in aid of helping the natural food given by nature to feed the livestock. The manure that is produced in factory farms and feed lots is now just thrown and dumped into ponds. Michael states, "This creates manure lagoons full of toxic waste, hormones, and pesticides. There is no more use for natural substances to help benefit nature and farming.

Joel, who is a farmer in Virginia, does not believe in the use of monoculture farming. Joel is an example of an all-organic farmer that uses the natural elements and nutrients provided by nature, to raise his livestock in an all-natural way. He keeps a variety of animals on his farms such as chickens and cows. He moves the cows every day to mimic natural herds so that areas can re-vegetate naturally providing a cost free food source that is 100% all natural. The cows leave "mud pies" all over the farm and are then moved to a different location where then the chickens will pick out and eat the larva in the poop, feeding the chicken, and giving the soil a natural source of clean manure to help grow and vegetate the land. Joel later quotes "what we are really farming here is grass, not animals”. This is a great example of natural and healthy farming, providing healthy and nutritious food for people to consume without ever having to rely on pesticides and GMO's.

Fresh and natural farming can save a farmer a lot of money, but the quantity of the livestock or produce is not enough to meet the required amount to feed our growing population. Though it is proven to be a healthier food source, Industrial farming is the best way to produce large amounts of food that meets the supply and demand for our population. All in all we should maintain a healthy and organic way of farming but in a more proficient way, that meets the required standards and needs of our population.

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