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Organic Vs. Inorganic Strawberries: The Shocking Truth

Did you know that at least 54 different harmful chemicals go into producing inorganic or conventionally farmed strawberries?  Chemicals that that you don’t find in their organic counterparts? The truth behind organic and conventional farming might just shock you!

What is organic strawberry farming? How are organically grown fruits and vegetables different that the conventionally grown produce?

The word organic refers to the way farmers grow and process produce, in this case strawberries. The organic method of growing strawberries (or any fruit or vegetable for that matter) encourages soil and water conservation and also focuses on reducing air and water pollution. Organic methods also make use of natural fertilizers and pesticides unlike conventionally grown produce that uses chemicals for weed and insect control.

Differences in organic and inorganic farming

Conventionally grown

Organically grown

Uses chemicals and fertilizers for plant growth

Uses natural fertilizers like manure, compost etc to stimulate growth

Reduce pests and disease through spraying chemicals

Use insects, birds, organic mulches, vinegar and essential oil herbicides to reduce pests and disease

Use chemicals to control weeds

Use mechanical techniques to reduce weeds and also use methods like crop rotation, hand weeding and mulching for weed control

Use injections growth hormones and antibiotics to stimulate growth of plant and prevent disease and increase yield

Use preventive methods for controlling disease and also organic methods to increase yield

Use toxic fumigants for soil health

Use natural mulch for enhancing soil quality

 

Naturally: Inorganic Strawberries have tons of chemicals and pesticides applied to them which you won’t find in the organic varieties

According to a report by the USDA, a single sample of conventionally grown strawberry found more than 13 traces of chemicals that include the following:

Methyl bromide-This is a broad spectrum pesticide that is typically used for spraying fields that grow strawberries, tomatoes etc. The gas is used as fumigant for penetrating the soil at least 12-14 inches before the crop is planted. The field is then covered with tarps so that the gas gets to work killing almost all of the soil organisms-which includes the beneficial organisms as well. Additionally, farmers also use the fumigant not just while farming but also on their commodities (strawberries, tomatoes, nuts, grapes, peppers etc) during storage to prevent insects from harming them. For more information of the harmful effects of Methyl bromide, please click the link here.

Chloropicrin-This is a tear gas that is also a soil fumigant. It is a major irritant for the skin and eyes, and breathing it could induce nausea, vomiting, headaches and gastric disorders. Higher concentration can even lead to build up of fluid in the lungs and this government website has deemed it a highly reactive and dangerous explosive hazard.

Telone (1,3 D)-This soil fumigant has been classified as toxic and carcinogenic if inhaled or swallowed. It can also cause eye and skin irritation.

These 3 are just fumigants used for growing strawberries. As mentioned before, tests conducted on non-organic strawberry samples turned up residual pesticides in alarming proportions including 24 suspected hormone disruptors, 11 neurotoxins and 9 known carcinogens. Nearly half of the samples also turned up Fungicides Captan and Pyraclostrobin.

So why are the authorities turning a blind eye to this?

The strawberry industry is trying to adopt measures and invest in less toxic alternatives of growing organic berries. However “the big shift won’t happen until newer grants do not mitigate the risk of switching to new techniques of growing strawberries”.

Also growing organic strawberries requires a huge investment and, though it is profitable, it is also a risky venture. The initial investment is very high and managing weeds and insects organically without the use of chemicals is complex. Furthermore, labor shortages can also lead to destruction of crops particularly at the time of harvest.

Growing organic strawberries takes months of initial preparation. There are more than 20 different steps involved in the process. These include testing the soil to ensure that it passes certain standards, followed by several rounds of tilling, pre-irrigation, shaping and mulching to form beds of strawberry rows. Additional months of labor are also needed in caring for the fruit and nurturing the delicate plants. If these reports are to be believed: the total cost of growing strawberries organically can run up to nearly $50, 000 per acre! Naturally farmers want returns on investment in proportion to these costs and hence organic strawberries are costlier than their traditionally grown counterparts.

Needless to say, your best bet is to stick to organic strawberries no matter how expensive they may be.

 

 

 


8 Comment

  • So at my school one of the lunch ladies gave me strawberries which i was surprised since they’ve never done that before(giving fruit out I mean) and as i was about to eat them I noticed they were bright reddish pink which looked odd and unnatural. Ended up eating them anyways since they tasted okay. I’m now currently writing this in the hospital as i speak… Those berries were laced with

    Jason
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