How to Find Organic Gardening Products Online
Gardening season is here, and if you want an organic garden, you won’t need to buy a lot of expensive, toxic chemicals. But there are some items you’ll need to make your organic garden thrive, such as weed barrier cloth instead of herbicides; ways to deal with garden pests like gophers, deer, and rabbits, and perhaps beneficial insects to release.
There’s always Google or Bing, but a better way might be to visit www.OrganicControl.com. This long-time business, operating now for 35 years, covers the field, from beneficial insects to safe and organic insect controls, to products that repel garden-damaging animals, to mason bees that help pollinate your crops, to organic soil amendments, and much more. In addition, there’s a lot you can learn about organic gardening at their site.
Organic Control also has a Facebook page, where you can interact with the folks at the company, ask questions, and get answers. Check them out at www.Facebook.com/OrganicControl.
This company also sells products relating to organic hydroponic growing, a fast-growing field that supplies retailers like Whole Foods with organically-grown vegetables year around.
On April 26th of this year, The New York Times carried an editorial entitled, “Hiding the Truth About Factory Farms.” It’s such an important topic that I’d like you to read what the Times had to say:
“A supermarket shopper buying hamburger, eggs, or milk has every reason, and every right, to wonder how they were produced. The answer, in industrial agriculture, is ‘behind closed doors,’ and that’s how the industry wants to keep it. In at least three states—Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota—legislation is moving ahead that would make undercover investigations of factory farms, especially filming and photography, a crime. The legislation has only one purpose: to hide factory farming conditions from a public that is beginning to think seriously about animal rights and the way food is produced.
“These bills share common features. Their definition of agriculture is overly broad; they include puppy mills, for instance. They treat undercover investigators and whistle-blowers as if they were ‘agro-terrorists,’ determined to harm livestock or damage facilities. They would criminalize reporting on crop production as well. And they are supported by the big guns of industrial agriculture: Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, the associations that represent pork producers, dairy farmers, and cattlemen, as well as poultry, soybean, and corn growers.
“Exposing the workings of the livestock industry has been an undercover activity since Upton Sinclair’s day. Nearly every major improvement in the welfare of agricultural animals, as well as some notable improvements in food safety, has come about because someone exposed the conditions in which they live and die. Factory farming confines animals in highly crowded, unnatural and often unsanitary conditions. We need to know more about what goes on behind those closed doors, not less.”
Great editorial. Good for The New York Times. And the editorial writer didn’t even mention that the Constitution expressly prohibits laws limiting freedom of the press. Laws criminalizing investigative journalism, whether words or pictures, are simply unconstitutional. Times food writer Mark Bittman, for whom I have a great deal of respect, addressed the same topic the day after the editorial appeared and wrote, “Minnesota’s ‘ag-gag’ law would seek to punish not only photographers and videographers, but those who distribute their work, which means organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and Mercy for Animals.” The law is so sweeping, says Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, “that if you took a picture of a dog at a pet shop and texted it to someone, that could be a crime.”
Thirty years ago, when I was Director of Electronic Publishing at Rodale (I must have been one of the first directors of electronic publishing at any publishing house in the world), I wandered into the offices of The New Farm magazine, a Rodale publication about real-life organic farming. It had occurred to me that the cruel factory farming techniques used in the production of our meat, eggs, and milk animals was totally antithetical to the spirit of organic agriculture, and that one of the tenets of organic farming should be the humane treatment of farm animals. I suggested this to the editors—and they laughed at me. “You don’t understand farmers,” they said. “Farmers don’t care about babying their animals. They care about their bottom line.”
Well, now it’s 30 years later and the humane treatment of animals has been added to the tenets of organic farming–not because of me, but because of you, the consumers of organic meat, eggs, and milk who have demanded it. While unspeakable cruelties go on at conventional factory farms, organic farmers have become far less cynical in the past few decades and have made humane treatment of animals part of what it means to be organic. Because organic farmers take better care of their animals, we all become more human.
Now do you see who’s behind the push to make it a crime to take pictures of factory farms?
How to Grow an Organic Sweet Melon
There’s an old saying that you can tell the quality of a gardener by the quality of his or her melons. I make no claims for my quality as a gardener, but I have grown sweet melons successfully. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to do it.
Melons don’t like to be transplanted. They sulk and become garden laggards if you try. Wait until the soil is nice and warm—around the last week of May in most of the country—and plant them into hills spaced six feet apart in full sun. These hills are mounds, 18 inches in diameter, of native soil heavily enriched with compost, rotted manure, or other actively decaying organic matter. Plant three seeds in each hill and thin to the strongest two at about three weeks of growth. Melons like to wake up where they want to grow–in rich, well-drained soil kept constantly moist (but not sopping wet) in full sun. They tolerate no setbacks if they’re to make sweet melons. Continual good, strong growth is what you want.
Touch them as little as possible so you don’t spread wilts or fungus. Spray them after their first true leaves appear with a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water, and re-spray the leaves and stems after every rain. Wilts and fungus and white mildew on the leaves clog the plants’ plumbing system, and the leaves are the plants’ sugar factories. Clogged plumbing from the sugar factories means your melons will never get sweet.
Consider planting radishes six inches apart in every direction where the melons will grow. This will deter striped and spotted cucumber beetles.
If you still see greenish striped or spotted cucumber beetles on the flowers, suck them up with a cordless vacuum and dispose of them. Or cover the melons with floating row covers after you chase out the beetles—which works but may slow down ripening as the covers reduce sunlight. If you see squash bugs—grey, shield-shaped bugs—soak one pound of cheap tobacco (Bugler) in a gallon of water, and spray the tobacco tea where you see the bugs. Check the underside of the leaves where you see squash bugs for areas of tiny, amber-colored eggs and remove them. They are eggs of the squash bugs. Or make a mulch of heavy-duty aluminum foil and lay it down where the melons will grow just before you plant the hills. Place it so the reflective side is up. This repels many insects and bounces more light up into the leaves which can hasten ripening.
Spray the melon leaves every two weeks with fish emulsion and liquid seaweed, or compost tea. And pour some compost tea on the roots as well. This will encourage strong, steady growth.
Melons often look like they’re wilting in the hot mid-summer sun, but check them at dusk. They should have straightened up again by then. If they stay wilted, you may have stem borers. Check the stems near the hills and look for little holes about a quarter of an inch in diameter. Take a sharp knife and slice open the stem for a few inches outward away from the roots and toward the shoot’s tip and look for a small worm. Dispose of the worm, close the slice up and wrap the stem with a Band-Aid or piece of masking tape.
The melons want lots of nutrition, lots of sun, and lots of water—until the growing fruits are about three to four inches in diameter. Then reduce watering but don’t let the roots dry out. The reduced watering helps the melons sweeten up.
If all this seems like a lot of work, remember that you will be able to harvest your melons when they are truly ripe. Melons in the store are picked early, before they develop full sugar, in order to ship well. You, on the other hand, will pick your melons when they slip easily from the vine and are packed with sweet flavor. This means that if you give them a slight tug, they come off their parent vine easily. There are some melons that don’t slip. In that case, look at the leaves nearest to the fruits. If they are yellowing, the melon is most likely ripe.
Which melons to grow? There are hundreds of kinds. I prefer the little French ‘Charentais’. Look for heirloom varieties in the heirloom catalogs, such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Just google around. You’ll find them. In the southeast, or wherever summer humidity is high and mildews and wilts are a problem, consider planting some resistant varieties like ‘Sugar Queen’, ‘Sweetie”, and ‘Savor’.
In other news:
For 50 years, Dr. Don Huber has been a scientist studying plant diseases in the U.S. and around the world. He spent 35 years at Purdue University as Professor of Plant Pathology. He also has a 41-year military career (he’s now a retired colonel) evaluating natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. He coordinates the “Emergent Diseases and Pathogens Committee” as part of the USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System under Homeland Security.
Food Democracy Now, a progressive group formed to warn people of dangers to our food supply by corporate agriculture, recently interviewed Dr. Huber about a newly emergent threat caused by Monsanto’s “Round-Up Ready®” genetically altered seeds. You can view video of the interview and learn more here:
Here’s what Food Democracy Now has to say about this threat:
“Round-Up Ready® seeds are genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s top selling weed killer Round-Up, which is made up of Glyphosate and a trademarked formula of component chemicals. In 2007, more than 185 million pounds of Glyphosate were sprayed on America’s soils and crops and that amount has only continued to rise as more weeds develop resistance to Glyphosate.
“A growing body of scientific evidence has shown that the overuse of Round-Up and Glyphosate has created severe micronutrient deficiencies in the soil and plants causing an epidemic of diseases, such as Goss’s Wilt on Round-Up Ready® corn and Sudden Death Syndrome in Round-Up Ready® soybeans.
“Recently a team of top U.S. scientists discovered an organism associated with this rise in plant diseases in Round-Up Ready® corn and soybeans which form the foundation for animal livestock feed in the U.S. The organism is observable only by an electron microscope, and was previously unknown to science.
“This new organism, along with nutritional deficiencies in the Round-Up Ready ® GMO corn and soybean feed, has been associated with a sharp rise in animal infertility including a 20 percent failure to conceive rate among cattle and hogs and up to a 45 percent rate of spontaneous abortions within cattle and dairy operations.
“In response to the published and emerging science, Dr. Huber wrote a letter to Secretary Vilsack asking him to delay his decision to approve Round-Up Ready® alfalfa expressing his grave concerns about the long-term implications of more Round-Up Ready® crops on the market.”
Vilsack and the Obama administration’s response was to give Monsanto the go-ahead to distribute and plant Round-Up Ready ® corn, soybean, and alfalfa seeds. This decision is a disaster for organic farmers, for once the rogue genes in the GMO seeds are grown out and their pollen is blown by the wind, non-GMO corn, soybeans, and alfalfa can become contaminated with the GMO genes, after which they will no longer be able to be labeled organic. Monsanto has shown a willingness to then sue farmers who inadvertently grew GMO contaminated crops for patent infringement.
In the video, Dr. Huber explains that Round-Up reduces a plant’s ability to withstand disease. The new organism, evidently as-yet-unnamed, is exceedingly small, ubiquitous in the environment, and finds easy pickings on plants genetically altered to withstand Monsanto’s weed killer. According to Dr. Huber, these damaged plants make poor fodder for farm animals. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.
The Nature of Nature
Although the word “natural” has no legal meaning the way “organic” does, it is often thought of as a synonym for “organic.” After all, when something is organically grown or raised, it’s as natural as it can be. But natural also has a wider meaning. Something that’s natural is of, by, or from nature itself, or herself as we say colloquially. And so, as folks who want to live as organically, sustainably, and cleanly as we can, we should ask ourselves the profound question, “What is nature?”
As we look around us, we might say nature is the way things are, the way things work, in places untrammeled by mankind. Or, to include mankind in the definition, we might say that nature is the inherent spirit of this world—and maybe of all worlds. But nature acts very differently from the world we experience when we look at very small things, on atomic scales and smaller.
In the past century, theoretical physicists have shown us that in the very miniscule world of atomic particles, there is a whole set of physical rules that seem strangely counter-intuitive on the large scale where we live and work. Or, at least, our large scale physical rules emerge from this quantum world, as it is called, by a process of averaging an almost infinite number of probabilities into near certainty.
For instance, flip a coin once and you’ll have a 50-50 chance of it turning up heads or tails. But because the sides don’t weigh exactly the same, or there’s a deformity in one side or another, or there’s an unconscious bias in the way you flip it, by flipping the coin 50 million times, it’s a near certainty that one side or the other will come up much more frequently.
But there’s another, more intriguing aspect to the quantum world: the uncertainty principle. This rule holds that we can know the speed or the position of a quantum object like an electron, but there’s no way to know both at once. The act of observation collapses a nebulous wave of mere probabilities into a definite actuality, but only for speed or position, never both at once. On our large-scale level—where we live–we can measure where an automobile is at any moment and how fast it’s traveling. Why not an electron or a photon?
Because on the quantum level, things don’t act the way we think they should. The very act of looking at a photon or electron makes it act like a particle. If we don’t look, it acts like a wave. Well, is it a particle or a wave, which are two very different things? The answer is, it depends whether you’re looking at it or not.
Physicists have grappled with this concept, creating scientific experiments to see whether this duality is indeed a physical reality, not just a mental concept. And yes, it is true. Quantum phenomena are really just wave-like collections of probabilities until we observe their positions, when they then become particles.
This means that when you turn off the lights in the living room and go to bed, the living room ceases to be a definite place of floor, rugs, chairs, lamps, walls, windows, and flat screen TV, and becomes a soup of probabilities whose future cannot be predicted with absolute certainty. Come downstairs, flip on the light, and there’s your certainty—the room takes shape as you remember it because you are observing it.
In other words, our consciousness creates certainty out of probability. In a sense, we create the world we inhabit as we move through it.
This is not as outlandish as it may first seem. It was Albert Einstein who first described space and time as a continuum—that is, as a space-time matrix of these two qualities of experience forever interlinked, as two facets of the same reality.
The future is all probability, isn’t it? You may think you know how the future will turn out with more or less certainty, but it really is all probability. It’s extremely probable that the sun will come up tomorrow morning but far less probable which horse will finish first in the eighth race at Belmont, and nearly impossible to predict what the last three numbers of the U.S. Treasury balance will be on a given Wednesday afternoon.
If the future is all just a soup of probabilities, then the past is a fixed history of certainty. We can say for certain that the sun came up this morning, that Bide-A-Wee won the eighth race at Belmont, and that 623 were the last three numbers of the Treasury balance at accounting’s closing last Wednesday.
What’s the difference? What has changed? How has guesswork changed into certainty? The answer, of course, is that time flowed over the critical point of the present and has been observed by our consciousness. Unless someone looked to see who won the race or what the Treasury’s final numbers were, they would remain uncertain—just probabilities.
Thus our consciousness plays a critical role in turning probabilities into certainties. The world of the future is all potential. The world of the past is all actual. Consciousness in the present moment is the agent that turns one into the other. This is what the theoretical physicists who deal in quantum mechanics have been saying mathematically for close to a century. But it’s a commonsense notion.
In truth, probabilities and uncertainties are only potentials and you can’t pin them down with absolute certainty. The past, on the other hand, is just our way of historically reporting actualities that have already come into being.
There is only the present, has always been only the present, and always will be only the present. Thus the present moment—the only place where we live and dwell—is a very sacred place, involved in turning the potential of the universe into actuality.
So the question becomes: what are we creating with this godlike gift we have of bringing possibility to certainty? If we create the world with our every glance and action, what world are we creating?
Women have a special role to play, because they bring life to the world. But men and women, by their choices in the present moment, literally bring the world to life. With every choice of organic food and green living, we are bringing a better, stronger, more natural world into being.
For further reading and viewing in this area:
See Prof. Richard Feynman deliver a series of filmed lectures on “The Character of Physical Law” by visiting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3mhkYbznBk&feature=related
Biocentrism, by Robert Lanza, MD; Benbella Books Inc., 2009.
Quantum Man–Richard Feynman’s Life in Science, by Lawrence M. Krauss; W.W. Norton & Co., 2011.
The Once-a-Year Organic Feast
Many of us no longer eat bacon the way we once did—that is, as often as possible. Yes, it’s yummy, but it also contains a lot of salt and lard and we’re trying to cut down on salty, fatty foods.
But that doesn’t mean we must never eat bacon. Life is for living, after all, and a couple of strips on special days—holiday mornings or your birthday, for instance, or a BLT for lunch once every few months–won’t kill you. It was a wise person who first said, “Moderation in all things, including moderation.”
Which brings us to the once-a-year organic feast. At our house, we have this feast on the first day of spring. For us, it’s the perfect time for a celebration. The bitter winter is dead (if not entirely gone), the sun is waxing warm, you can smell the earth again, the crocuses and snowdrops are up and blooming, the does are fat with their developing fawns, the sap is running sweet in the sugar maple trees, the wild onions are sending up the first green spears of the new year, and life is returning to the world.
And so, we indulge. But we do it with organic ingredients because our indulgences are enough without having them carry a load of man-made toxins into our bodies. We plan a dinner that we would never ordinarily eat, and that yet was a staple Sunday dinner for many families half a century ago. It remains primarily a treat for the taste buds rather than a source of healthful nutrition for the body. It revels in fat. For this one dinner each year, we eschew the good and go for the gusto.
It starts with roast beef—a three-rib, loin-end “prime rib,” from an organically raised, grass-fed animal. I put “prime rib” in quotes because today the term generally means a certain cut of meat rather than USDA Prime beef. USDA Prime grade means it’s fattened on grains at the end of its life, which renders the meat well marbled with fat and therefore very tender. While tenderness is a plus, there’s a big downside to grain-finished beef. The digestive system of cattle is not designed for grains. It is designed for grass. The presence of masticated grains can allow the growth of illness-causing bacteria, including harmful strains of E. coli, in the cattle’s gut. It’s best to seek out a three-rib, grass-fed, organically-grown roast, which will naturally be USDA Grade Choice. Ask the butcher to remove the chine bone, and to tie it back in place when he ties up the roast. If the chine were still attached to the ribs, you couldn’t separate them with a knife after the cooking is done. But you want it tied back as it protects the heart of the meaty center of the roast from becoming well done during cooking. Then when you go to carve, you can simply remove it.
When buying a three-rib roast, ask for the smaller, loin end of the full seven-rib standing rib roast. This three-ribber will weigh about seven pounds. It’s the tenderer cut. Figure a roasting time for medium-rare of 18 minutes per pound, approximately two hours for a seven-pound roast. You’ll calculate the exact roasting time depending on the exact weight. Or, if you’re using a thermometer, plunge the tip into the thickest part of the meat and take it from the oven when the interior reaches 135 to 140 F. for medium-rare.
Take the meat out of the fridge about two hours or so before you plan to put it in the oven. Since roasting will take two hours or so and you’ll also let the roast rest after you take it out of the oven, that means you’ll take the roast from the fridge about five hours before you want dinner to hit the table.
Before dealing with the roast, think about whatever salads or vegetables you’ll want with this feast. Plan ahead so they are ready when dinner is served. My go-to feasting vegetable is creamed spinach. Have good bread, butter and/or olive oil ready for dinnertime, too. But back to the roast:
There will be a concave surface of bone and a convex surface of meat covered with fat. Trim the fat, if necessary, to no more than a quarter inch thick, and retain the trimmed fat. Mash a few cloves of garlic through a garlic press and rub the roast with the mashed garlic all over its surface. Then sprinkle on some kosher salt on the fat side and grind a little fresh black pepper on, too, then pat them in with your hand. Place the roast fat side up on a roasting pan. A two-piece pan with a slotted top is ideal. You’ll want to catch all the clear fat as well as the dark pan drippings.
Pre-heat the oven to 550 F. and place the roast on a rack set in the oven’s middle position. Close the oven door and immediately turn the heat down to 350 F.
Take any trimmed fat that you set aside and render it in a small frying pan over medium heat until the fat melts and runs clear. Remove any solids, squeezing out the liquid fat into the pan. Set the pan aside. Rub the inside of a 9×12 Pyrex baking dish with a thin coating of butter over its bottom and sides. Pour a cup of all-purpose flour into the baking dish and swirl it around until all the butter is dusted with flour, then pour out the excess flour. Set the baking dish aside, away from heat.
Prepare a batter, for you are going to make Yorkshire pudding! In a bowl, sift together ¾ cup plus two tablespoons of all-purpose organic flour and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in ½ cup whole, organic milk and stir it in thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat two large organic eggs until they are well mixed, then beat the eggs into the batter. Add a half cup of spring water and beat it into the batter until large bubbles rise. Set the batter aside.
When the roast is done, take it out of the oven and transfer it to a serving platter. Cover it loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil and set the roast in a warm place. Immediately turn the oven up to 400 F. Pour the clear fat from the roasting pan into the baking dish and add the rendered clear fat from the frying pan, too. Place the baking dish back into the oven on the middle rack. Let the rack and fat heat up for about 5-7 minutes until they are as hot as the oven. Pull out the rack and pour the Yorkshire pudding batter into the baking dish, then immediately push in the rack and close the door. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 F. and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
While the pudding bakes, you can scrape up the browned bits from the roasting pan and, using beef stock or just water, make gravy. Make a roux of butter and flour and use it to thicken the gravy. Have the gravy ready for those who want it on their beef or, if you are making mashed potatoes, to fill the wells in the potatoes. Personally, I find that the pudding is enough starch—but that’s just me. I love beef gravy on my mashed potatoes, too, and as long as we’re feasting, what the heck.
When the pudding is done, it will be more like wet pudding on the bottom of the baking dish and more like crusty popovers where it’s risen up the sides. Cut it into four-inch-wide pieces that include some of each texture and serve immediately with the roast beef, which you’ll carve at the table. Look for an old-fashioned electric knife at yard sales—they make carving slices off a roast beef into a snap. Otherwise, sharpen your carving knife to razor sharpness and use a carving fork to steady the meat. When the meat is all sliced, the ribs can be carved into separate ribs and given to those who like to gnaw meat off the bones cave man style. I’m raising my hand right now.
As long as we’re having a full-fat feast, a dessert of fresh fruit with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream is always welcome. Just make sure it’s all organic. The dinner may offer an overload of calories, but at least it’s all food.
News from the Organic Front
Ever notice how the news channels on TV preface every story with a shout about “Breaking News” or “News Update?” Well, we here at Organic Central can do the same thing. Here’s a sampling of newsy tidbits that have accumulated on our desk.
BREAKING NEWS! Going Au Naturel, Maryanne Osberg’s food blog, lists her picks for the 30 top organic food blogs, and includes Organic Food Guy among them. That’s big news here at Organic Central, so we’ll lead off with that. You can visit her site at http://rntomsnonline.com/going-au-naturel-the-top-30-organic-food-blogs.
NEWS UPDATE! As you are undoubtedly aware, Congress recently passed a 2011 budget that cut $38 billion from Federal programs. Some of those cuts affected organic agriculture. The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) was eliminated in an earlier bill and was not restored in the final agreement. Congress dealt a significant blow to funding for conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Cuts to conservation programs totaled $500 million. Congress cut or eliminated other important programs that benefit organic farmers, and wouldn’t you know it: Programs that serve organic and sustainable farmers were disproportionately targeted in the cuts to agriculture. Why would that be? Because when people buy conventional food, Big Ag has more dollars to give to the hordes of lobbyists who wine and dine and patronize the legislators who make the budget cuts. Who you gonna cut—Cargill or the organic farmers who have little clout on Capitol Hill?
EXTRA! Organic farming can remove 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air and sequester it in one acre of farmland, according to research at The Rodale Institute. Researchers estimate that if all 434 million acres of cropland in the U.S. were farmed organically, they would sequester enough carbon dioxide to be the equivalent of eliminating global warming gases from 217 million cars—more than a third of all the cars in the world.
WUXTRY! WUXTRY! READ ALL ABOUT IT! “Wuxtry?” Yes, in cartoons way back in the day, the cartoonists would always show street corner newsboys hollering wuxtry instead of extra. When newspaper competition was keenest, in the 1930s and 1940s, papers would put out an extra edition when some important story was breaking, and send boys out on street corners to sell the extras to passersby. So, pretend I’m a street corner newsboy. Here’s your Extra:
“Rush to Use Crops as Fuel Raises Food Prices and Hunger Fears.” So says the headline in the April 7, 2011, The New York Times. The story, by Elisabeth Rosenthal, details how, in the second half of 2010, the price of corn rose 73 percent in the U.S. China is now using cassava, Europe is using rapeseed, sugar cane is being used in Brazil—all to create biofuels. Prices are being driven skyward and people in low income situations around the world are threatened with being priced out of the food market. To these problems I’d add the effect that farming for biofuels has on the land, with the destruction of organic matter in the soil, the use of chemicals for fertilizer and weed and pest controls, agricultural runoff that damages waterways, and soil erosion from all the plowing.
LATEST NEWS! The FDA has confirmed that 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States go to animal agriculture. Conventional meat, milk, and poultry operations use enormous amounts of antibiotics to prevent the animals from getting sick from the filthy conditions in which they are raised. The result is that the antibiotics kill off the susceptible pathogens—except for the few that are resistant. These multiply and become the drug-resistant superbugs we see everywhere today.
Every year, more than 90,000 Americans die from infections by bacteria that have developed a resistance to antibiotics. That number exceeds the death toll from AIDS, car accidents, and prostate cancer combined. The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that “the scientific consensus is that non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock animals is a serious threat to public health.”
Of course, the total amount of antibiotics used on organic animals is ZERO. If an organically-raised animal gets sick and needs antibiotics for treatment, that animal is removed from the organic program for such time as it takes for it to recover and all antibiotics are metabolized out of the animal’s system. When you eat organic meat or eggs, or drink organic milk, you are helping to end the routine use of antibiotics in the nation’s food supply.