Broccoli is a vegetable that is popular throughout the United States, but it can be grown only in temperate climates with mild summers. Because of this limitation, 90 percent of the broccoli consumed in the United States is grown in the cooler regions of California, on the West Coast. It must be shipped 4:000 kilometers across the entire country to reach the populous East Coast
This situation may soon change, however: scientists are attempting to create a new type of broccoli that can be grown on the East Coast despite the hotter summers there. This project has several potential benefits.
First, growing broccoli on the East Coast and distributing it to nearby grocery stores would lower broccoli costs for consumers Transporting the vegetable from California by truck takes several days, which makes transportation costs high. Growing broccoli locally would reduce transportation costs, so stores could sell broccoli for less money.
Second; the new type of broccoli will probably be much more desirable to consumers than some other new crops. The new broccoli is being created using traditional breeding techniques: researchers are crossbreeding broccoli with other similar plants that have desirable characteristics, such as resistance to hot summers Other new crops—varieties of squash or maize, for example—were created using genetic modification technology. Genetically modified crops are very controversial: many consumers believe they are unsafe and so reject them. However, the new broccoli will not be in that category.
Third, vegetables are healthiest to eat right after they are harvested because they retain most of their beneficial nutrients and vitamins. The longer it takes for a vegetable like broccoli to reach consumers, the fewer nutrients and vitamins it contains. Broccoli that is grown locally can be eaten much sooner after it is cut, which will make this new broccoli healthier for East Coast residents than California broccoli.
East Coast Broccoli might not actually be successful or beneficial as its creators claim.
First, it’s true that growing and selling crops locally saves money on transportation costs, but that will not necessarily make the new broccoli cheaper for consumers. Yes, the new breed of broccoli will be able to survive the hot summers on the East Coast, but unfortunately, it will also have lower yields than the broccoli grown on the Western Coast. This means that farmers on the East Coast will harvest less broccoli per hectare, and so they’ll have to sell their produce at a higher price. This price increase will cancel out the savings on transportation. So the East Coast consumers will probably not save any money buying the locally grown broccoli.
Second, even the researchers are using traditional breeding technics in creating the new broccoli, the public might still be suspicious. You see, financial support for this research comes from the same companies that created genetically modified crops in the past. Because those companies used genetic modification techniques with other crops, many American consumers distrust those companies and might distrust any project that those companies are involved in. These might lead the consumers to reject the new broccoli as well.
Third, it’s true that fresh broccoli has the greatest amount of health-promoting nutrients and vitamins, but is that a good argument for creating a new breed of broccoli that can be grown on the East Coast? Not necessarily. Other vegetables that already grow on East Coast contain similar nutrients that broccoli contains. For example, kale, a leafy green vegetable, provides comparable health benefits, and kale is in some respects better. It’s grown on the East not only during the summer but also during the fall and winter. Instead of wasting money and resources on creating new vegetables, we should educate people about eating fresh, healthy vegetables that are already available locally.