“This is a research paper created recently by my 12 year old daughter, McLane. This was her first academic Research Paper. It was an assignment in her English class at Fellowship Christian School in 6th grade this year. She received an “A”, and we were especially proud of her hard work and new learned awareness about food production in the United States. This paper was written about a very relevant subject and one that I am particularly passionate about teaching at home. McLane’s enthusiasm really took shape, as she learned new things and compiled research for this project. I am honored to share her 12 year old point of view and hope that you will also enjoy and possibly learn something new.” debbie tyson rosen
English 6-Period 4
29 April 2011
American Farming Today
“For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplanted and unused” (Exodus 23:10,11). The Bible tells us that we are stewards of the land and that it’s our responsibility to take care of it. Recently in America we have not been doing this well. We are overworking our soil and spraying our crops with chemicals and pesticides that have bad effects on the land, the people, and the planet. America has also started creating genetically modified seeds, which are making people sick. All these new modern farming techniques are now being proven to be bad for us.
In ancient times people had to work harder than they do today because of the technology we now have. Most modern farms today are operated by computers in a control room and not by man anymore (Pollan 1). We use machinery because we have to grow so much food for so many people and we cannot afford to let the land rest like the Bible tells us to do. The machinery alone couldn’t produce all the crops needed to feed our population. So “after World War II, the government found itself with a tremendous surplus of ammonium nitrate. There was a debate about what they should do with the leftover bomb material… so scientists in the department of agriculture had an idea: spread the ammonium nitrate on farmland as fertilizer.” (Pollan, 30). This has become a problem for the United States because it is not how farmland is supposed to be grown.
Pesticides were later created out of what was learned from chemical warfare. Insecticides were manufactured using some of the same poisonous gases used during the war. A pesticide is a chemical prepared for destroying plant, fungal, or animal pests (Dictionary.com). Pesticides are sprayed on crops to help control bugs on plants and the weeds that grow around them. The problem with pesticides is that they can also cause the plant itself to die. In order to alleviate this problem, in the 1990’s, scientists engineered a way to put the chemical insecticide into the actual corn seed. As a result, corn was then regulated by the EPA as an insecticide itself (O’Brien). Since the corn crop had the insecticide in it, there was no need to spray it. Then they took this idea and created seeds that were resistant to pesticides. The idea of genetically modified seeds enabled the crop to be sprayed with the pesticide, killing the bugs and weeds, but leaving the crop undamaged. These genetically modified plants were never tested to determine if they were harmful or dangerous to people.
Recently, in the United States sickness has become a big business. We have the highest rates of cancer in the world according to the American Cancer Society. Also there has been a doubling in peanut allergies. One out of seventeen kids have a food allergy (O’Brien). Hospitals in America have seen a 265% increase in the rate of hospitalizations related to all kinds of food allergies (O’Brien). These new food allergies and increases in diseases are related to things being put in our food that weren’t there before. Back in ancient times they used only natural substances to grow their food. These new sciences are just one of the big differences between our food now and back then. The diseases that people are suffering from today were not as common back then.
As our technology gets better, we should be getting better at growing our food, but instead, we’re getting worse. We are growing a lot of food now, but the quality is going down. This is sad and if we don’t change something soon, the rates of cancer, food related illnesses and allergies will just continue to go up. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” (Colossians 3:23-24) We need to work at our land more with our hearts and less with our destructive technology, and really start taking care of this planet that God created.
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