The Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a new legal action demanding the Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibit hydroponic operations from the Organic label. According to the CFS, hydroponic systems cannot comply with the organic standard's vital soil standards because hydroponic crops do not use soil at all. The CFS filing was endorsed by over a dozen other organic farmer, consumer, retailer, and certifying organizations, including the Organic Farmers Association, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA), PCC Community Markets, and the Cornucopia Institute.
"Mislabeling mega-hydroponic operations as 'organic' is contrary to the text and basic principles of the organic standard. Right now there is a pitched battle for the future of organic, and we stand with organic farmers and consumers who believe the label must retain its integrity," said George Kimbrell, CFS legal director.
"Allowing hydroponic systems to be certified as organic undercuts the livelihood of organic farmers that take great lengths to support healthy soil as the bedrock of their farms," stated Kate Mendenhall of the Organic Farmers Association. "Hydroponic producers getting the benefit of the organic label without actually doing anything to benefit the soil undermines the standard and put all soil-based organic farmers at an untenable economic disadvantage."
"Corporate agribusiness lobbyists have been working to water down the organic standards for decades," said Mark Kastel, Executive Director for the Cornucopia Institute. "In this case, the careful stewardship of soil fertility is not only a philosophical precept, it's codified in federal law."
For more information:
Center for Food Safety