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Brian Barth – The Bad News About the Organic Industry

By all appearances, Kathy Evans would seem the ideal organic farmer. The fourth-generation proprietor of Evans Knob Farm, in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, she has never used chemical pesticides or growth hormones. Her poultry—45 laying hens, 250 broiler chickens, 50 turkeys, and 22 ducks—is free-range; her Romney and Hampshire sheep, grass-fed. Evans also shears, cards, spins, and dyes fiber produced by those sheep, as well as that from her alpaca and llama. (She reserves a few cows and one goat “just for the family.”) The resulting mountain of manure enriches vegetable plots where the 53-year-old grows everything from potatoes and peppers to squash and salad greens. Yet not a single cage-free egg or Toma Verde tomatillo that emerges from Evans’s 130 acres sports a USDA Organic label.

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