Tim Durham, Plant M.D.:

US (NY): Do hydroponics dilute the organic label?

An ongoing debate: Is it ok for hydroponic grown vegetables to be classified as organic or not? Tim Durham, lettuce grower with 30 years of experience, shares his insights. After growing in the open field at the family farm he also grew lettuce hydroponically.

"On the family farm, my retail and wholesale background conditioned me to expect the perfunctory “is this organic?” line of questioning. Almost in an accusatory tone. Like I’m doing them a disservice by not going that route. Yet on the hydroponic side, I’ve fielded a couple of innocuous questions in two years. This leads me to believe that organics has lost its luster — no longer the ag franchise player", he writes. 

"The pro side argued that hydroponics could embody the organic ethic in a more environmentally sustainable manner. That should be the ultimate benchmark. This included greater production on a smaller land footprint (saves biodiversity), reduced food miles along the farm to fork continuum, a reduced carbon footprint, and markedly fewer inputs. And of course, the potential for food grown in the 1) dead of winter 2) amid food deserts and 3) in the urban jungle", he shares. 

Read the complete article here.


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