Every human on this planet needs proper nutrients in their diets to survive and live healthy lives. Organic foods provide humans with the proper nutrients humans need to survive. These organic foods include fresh organic colorful fruits, vegetables and, meats. Even though, we know that organic foods are crucial to our survival. A variety of different demographics do not have access to organic foods. This has been a decade long problem that affects demographics including young adults, college students, low income populations and, high minority populations (Marshall). It is crucial for policy makers and food retailers to be informed on why organic are not accessible to certain demographics so they have an understanding on how to intervene to make organic foods more accessible. Natural organic foods are not accessible to certain demographics due to high prices, location and, education.
To understand why organic foods are not accessible we must first understand why access to organic foods is important. Access to organic food is important because organic foods provide enormous health benefits to consumers. Organic foods that include fruits and vegetables that are grown without pesticides and synthetic substances. Studies have found that these pesticides that are used on non-organic foods have been associated with developmental delays in infants and can reduced sperm quality in men (Naftulin). Both of which can be detrimental to a person's health. Organic meats and milk provide around 50% more omega-3 fatty acids according to a study from the British Journal of Nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids are a unsaturated fats that is healthy due to nutrition it provides compared to the saturated fats that are high in calories that non-organic foods provide (Naftulin). Non-organic livestock is fed antibiotics and synthetic hormones can be more detrimental to a person's health compared to organic livestock that doesn't use these. Antibiotics in non-organic livestock have been linked widespread antibiotic resistance. Synthetic hormones that are found in non-organic livestock have been linked to increased risk of cancer (Naftulin). Recent research from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that organic onions had around 20% higher antioxidant content than non-organic onions(Naftulin). Showing that organic foods contain more vital nutrients than non-organic foods. Access to organic foods provides enormous health benefits. However, certain demographics do not have access to organic foods benefits due to high prices, location and, education.
Healthy organic natural foods are more costly compared to unhealthy non-organic food substitutes. This is a major obstacle in accessing organic foods for low income individuals and other demographics. The high prices of organic foods leads to individuals commonly choosing substitutes that are usually unhealthy and do not provide proper nutrients. Organic foods are commonly more expensive than unhealthy non-organic foods due to the high cost of production and storage of organic foods. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that the cost of healthiest diets is $1.50 more per adult per day versus unhealthy food diets (Marshall). Individuals choose unhealthy food diets based on their budget. Consumers with low income try to maximize the amount of food they can afford by choosing the cheapest foods that last the longest. Low income individuals purchase non-organic foods that are cheap to prevent themselves from possibly running out of food and becoming hungry. Organic foods have the potential for waste since the do not commonly have a long lifespan. While unhealthy cheaper foods have a longer lifespan due to refined grains, added sugars and, fats that are added (FRAC). This motivates low income individuals to buy unhealthy cheaper foods to maximize the utility of the food that they purchase. The high price of organic foods is a major factor to why organic foods are not accessible to certain demographics.
The amount of locations that provide organic foods is a factor to why organic foods are not accessible to certain demographics. Full service grocery stores and farmers markets are some of the biggest locations that provide organic foods to individuals. The concentration of locations that provide organic foods to individuals depends on the specific area an individual lives in. Demographics affected include people living in rural areas and in low income areas since there are not many location that provide organic foods. According to the USDA 9% of all Americans households do not have access at all to organic foods due to their location. A study of Native American Reservations found that 15 reservations had no grocery store at all (Marshall). Certain demographics of people living in rural areas and in low income areas lack the transportation to access markets that provide healthy natural foods. They do not have access to transportation such as vehicles and public transportation to access natural foods. When organic foods are available to lower income and rural communities the organic selection tends to be poorer quality which leads to less appeal from buyers. There is a greater availability of unhealthy for lower income and rural communities. These unhealthy food locations in lower income communities include fast foods restaurants and convenience stores that have limited fresh produce and low-fat produce (FRAC). Unhealthy foods beginning largely more accessible for lower income and rural communities compared to organic foods leads to the consumption more of unhealthy foods.
Limited knowledge and education organic foods for certain demographics has also attributed to the limited access of organic foods. There is a portion of our society that doesn't know that not everyone has access to organic foods. Which makes them unaware of the issue that affects a variety of different demographics. Certain demographics that include low income communities do not have the knowledge about the benefits of organic foods. Not knowing the importance of organic foods can lead to more consumption of unhealthy foods. Some do not know the negative effects of eating unhealthy food. Certain demographics also do not have the confidence or knowledge of how to properly prepare organic foods. These demographics might also lack the supplies such as pots/pans, oil, ect.. to turn organic food into meals. This discourages these certain demographics from accessing healthy natural foods because they do not have the know how to prepare them properly. As a result these demographics resort to eating unhealthy processed foods that you can simply put in the microwave or oven. The knowledge and education about healthy natural foods will improve access to healthy natural foods by giving certain demographics more incentive to find and consume healthy natural foods (OCA).
Natural organic food requires organic farming which requires large portion of the natural habitat. There is a counter argument against eating organic foods saying that organic food requires too much natural habitat compared to conventional farming. Organic farming commonly yields between 19-60% less than conventional farming (Zaruk). Although this may be true, the benefits of organic food in one's diet out weight the loss of natural habitat. The American Heart Association found that organic foods provide health benefits that can decrease an individual's risk of heart related problems by a significant amount (Park). Organic farming also is grown without pesticides and synthetic substances while conventional farming does. These pesticides and synthetic substances have been linked to developmental delays in infants and can reduction in sperm quality in men. Organic farming also produces foods that are more nutritional than food produced by conventional farming. Recent research from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that organic onions had around 20% higher antioxidant content than non-organic onions produced by conventional farming(Naftulin). The health and nutritional benefits of organic food in one's diet out weight the loss of natural habitat caused by organic farming.
Both policy makers and food retailers need to recognize why organic foods are not accessible to certain demographics to have a better understanding to why this issue exist. They both have the power and authority to implement changes to increase access to organic foods to a variety of different demographics. Policy makers can offer aid to this issue by implementing an increase spending in organic foods for food assistance programs such as SNAP to increase access to organic foods to lower income individuals. Increased spending for food assistance programs can have allow organic foods price to decrease and low income families to incorporate more organic foods into their diet. This would have beneficial health effects the American Heart Association reported that a 10 percent decrease in price of organic foods could prevent 515,000 heart related deaths and 675,000 heart attacks and strokes by the year 2035 (Marshall). Retailers could play a role in increasing access of organic foods by implementing food hubs. Food hubs involved a centralized facility that gathers, stores, and distributes organic foods to different local and regional areas. Food hubs could be implemented in areas that lack access to natural foods to increase the accessibility of organic foods. Policy makers could also implement educational programs in public schools and classes to better educate individuals about organic foods. These educational programs could involve education on preparation, storage, and benefits of organic foods. This would increase access to natural foods because it gives individuals more incentive to access and use organic foods. Both policy makers and food retailers could to implement these changes to increase access of organic foods to individuals.
In conclusion, a variety of people from different demographics endure the struggle to access organic foods because of high costs, location, and education. People of lower income have to make the decision between expensive fresh, healthy food that expires quickly, and cheaper less healthy food with a longer shelf life, all because of unequal price distribution in the food industry. Individuals of low income and low-supermarket-access-individuals do not have access to organic food due to their location and lack of access to transportation. While low income undereducated demographics do have proper education on organic food benefits and preparations leading to less access to organic foods. Due to the high costs, location, and education of organic foods a variety individuals do not have access organic foods.
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