Good afternoon! I was so excited when Jamie and Teressa asked if I would come talk with their middle school students about organic and conventional farming. National Agriculture in the Classroom has a wonderful lesson called "What's the Difference? A Look at Organic vs Conventional Food." In the lesson, students compare and contrast organic vs conventional produced foods to discover the differences and similarities of each farm production style.
I began the visit by asking the students to write down a question. The question could be about safety, nutrition, growing techniques, ethics, etc. I was very impressed with their questions!
Here are a few of their questions:
-Is organic food more expensive?
-What is the difference between organic and conventional?
-Are GMOs ethical?
-Which is healthier?
-Is conventional food safe to eat?
I left their questions unanswered. It was my hope that they would discover the answers for themselves throughout our experiment. Next, I passed out plates divided with labels A and B. I gave each students samples of organic (A) and conventional (B) fruit and vegetables. I asked the students to fill-out a chart comparing the size, shape, color, appearance, and taste. Lastly, I asked them to guess which side, A or B, was organic and conventional and why. My goal was to help the students realize that nutrition and taste remain the same for both conventional and organic. An organic roma tomato is going to look and taste the same as a conventional roma tomato and the calorie and nutrients are going to be the same. The only difference is the method of farming.
For example, looking at the kiwi (above) and apples (below), I can't tell you which is organic and which is conventional without seeing A or B written on the plate. The only difference between these examples is the techniques used during planting, growing and harvesting.
A few students noticed a slight difference in the appearance and taste but that was most likely due to different varieties, packaging or processing, and stage of ripening. The major difference lies in production practices. A conventional farmer can use genetically modified seed, synthetic fertilizer, and pesticides. Organic farmers cannot use genetically modified seed and have fewer options for fertilizer and pesticides. Both practices are required to follow food safety regulations.
Today conventional farmers produces majority of our food but organic farmers plays an important role. We need all types of farmers to feed our growing communities. Click on the video below to learn more about the practices of both organic and conventional farmers!
Checkout the following links to learn more:
What is in the name? GMOS: https://iowaagliteracy.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/whats-in-a-name-gmos/
The problem with GMOs: https://iowaagliteracy.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/the-problem-with-gmos/
How to "Look under the Label": https://iowaagliteracy.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/how-to-look-under-the-label/
Why do they do that? https://iowaagliteracy.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/why-do-they-do-that-farmers-applying-chemicals/
Organic vs Conventional: https://www.watchusgrow.org/2018/02/02/organic-vs-conventional-farming-whats-the-same-whats-different/
Organic vs Conventional Infographic:
Thank you for reading! Hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember...it is such a blessing to have choices at the grocery store!