The National Organic Standards Board is currently considering whether or not to broaden the organic label to include hydroponically-grown produce. This would hurt small soil-based farmers by giving the label’s ecological credibility and financial benefit to large-scale hydroponic farmers who need not follow the same environmentally sustainable practices and protocols involved with organic soil stewardship.
The following argument for keeping organic soil-based comes from Lisa Stokke, co-founder of Food Democracy Now!
“Thanks to the pioneering work of organic farmers to create a movement around organic food, the label is highly valued by consumers. Large corporations want to cash in on this by growing food cheaply and calling it organic. This will allow them to access the growing market of eaters who have come to care about the methods by which their food is grown. Put simply, they want to take industrial agriculture and call it organic.
Amazon, who has recently bought Whole Foods, now wants to scale their investment by mass-producing food they can call organic. Driscolls, MiracleGro, Scott’s — companies whose profit come from conventionally-grown produce, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and genetically-engineered grass seed — all these corporations are behind the push to call their cheap produce “organic”.
These corporations are trying to change the definition of organic to fit how they grow food, rather than changing the way they grow food to meet the certifications determined by the National Organic Standards Board and the National Organic Program.
If large corporations are allowed to call what they grow “organic”, actual organic farmers will struggle to compete, be forced out of business, or forced to abandon the sustainable farming practices that nourish us and the earth.”
Right now, the National Organic Standards Board is deciding whether or not to recommend that the organic certiifaction only be given to produce that is cultivated with soil-based agriculture. They will meet in Jacksonville, FL to vote October 31st – November 2. Their recommendation will (in theory) be used by the USDA to make a decision on whether to allow food not grown in the soil to be labeled as organic.
Now is the time to make your voice heard.