The debate about organic foods is always interesting. Articles can range from minimizing the benefits, to maximizing them, to remaining indecisive. Ten years ago, the English department derived its 102 exit exam from three articles—one from each opinion on the spectrum, and students wrote their own argument using the articles as sources. Many students were willing to try organic foods except for the price. Would it be worth it? Generally, they thought not.
I’m interested because our son’s family in Boone, NC buys organic milk, meat, and certain fruits and vegetables. Their favorite store is Earth Fare, and the store is marvelous. I love going there, and even if the foods are not boosting my life span or vigor, the store is a work of art and an immensely pleasurable outing, so I count part of the cost under the entertainment budget.
The reason for this blog today, however, is not to encourage organic eating but to share an insight that comes from organic carrots and how instructors would like more of their students to be like an organic carrot and less like a carrot sprayed with pesticide.
While looking at news stories on line at NPR, I noticed an article by Allison Aubrey on organic food. Click—I opened it. Therein was one of the most interesting study strategies for college students. But first, let’s think about carrots.
Aubrey cites the work of Professor Chris Seal, who explains that certain nutrients come about by stress on a plant. Aubrey goes on to say, “if a carrot fly lands on a carrot and starts to chew on it, what options does the plant have? If it’s a conventionally grown carrot, a pesticide can be applied to repel the pest. But in organic agriculture, that carrot has to fend for itself a bit more. So, Seal explains, the carrot produces compounds … which taste bitter to the carrot fly. These polyacetylene compounds may help drive the fly away — and, serendipitously, this compound may benefit us as well.”
How great it is when a student turns into an organic carrot of a student. Adversity begins to work in the student’s favor by producing resistance to predators and by developing healthy internal nutrients, beneficial both for the student and for the quality of the carrot offered to the instructor. Definitely, instructors can taste the difference and feel the vibrancy of the organic student.