August 30, 2018

Hydroponics: The End of Organic?

Sarah J. Morath

Organic farmers are generally thought of as a peaceful group. They are also seen as passionate advocates and a particular hydroponic controversy has solidified this image. On October 31, 2017, the day before the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) biannual meeting, over 50 farmers and advocates took to the streets outside the meeting in Jacksonville, Florida. That same day, more than 14 similar marches took place across the United States. Organic farmers were pulled from their fields to the streets to show their support for a proposal to prohibit hydroponic crops from being labeled organic under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP). Many organic farmers argued that allowing hydroponics to carry the USDA organic seal would undermine the integrity of the NOP and would further allow industry to ride the coattails of the farmers who worked so hard to create it.

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