Debate continues over organic hydroponics

Hydroponic and aquaponic growers use nonsoil media and water instead of soil. And that’s what makes Liana Hoodes, policy adviser at Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, suspicious of these operations being classified as organic.

“The foundation of organic farming is the soil,” Hoodes said. “It’s about the life of the soil, not just the crops on the soil. Organic systems should be based on managing organic systems.”

The National Organic Standards Board, an advisory board to the USDA, voted in November to allow hydroponic and aquaponic operations to be certified organic via a new organic standard for nonsoil farming, which did not exist previously. NOFA-NY, however, will not certify any hydroponic operations, at least not yet.

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