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Will the NOSB finally pick a side on the organic hydroponic debate?Tomorrow, April 19, the USDA's National Organic Standards Board will meet in Denver to discuss regulations that will determine the working definition of the USDA's organic certification. One of the hot topics on the meeting's agenda is the highly controversial question if hydroponic production of organic fruits and vegetables is allowed to maintain the USDA Organic Certification.
Industry advocates, lobbyists, growers and watchdogs will once again take the discussion to the ring.
In one corner there are organic growers who advocate for growing directly in the soil, without the help of containers or substrates. "Few beyond the hydroponic producers, their lobbyists, and certifiers, believe these products should actually be certified organic," said Dave Chapman, a pioneering soil-based greenhouse grower in Vermont. "There is no consumer outcry for hydroponics."
In the other corner are the growers of organic container grown crops who advocate that their way of organic growing is more sustainable and provides a broader access to organic produce.
“Organics should continue to allow growers to adapt to their site-specific conditions within the parameters of avoiding the use of GMO’s, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers while creating active biological systems to nourish the plants", said Lee Frankel of the Coalition for Sustainable Organics. As noted in a 2016 survey of organic consumers, consumers overwhelmingly support the continued use of organic production systems that utilize containers.”
Hopefully this week's NOSB meeting, with new members on board, will clear up things in the never ending discussion. In a previous meeting in November last year, the board voted 10-4 to postpone the meeting.
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