WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
Right now, the National Organic Standards Board is considering whether or not to change the organic label to include hydroponically-grown produce: food grown not in soil but fed by artificial plastic feeding tubes with artificial lighting.
Allowing hydroponics to exist under the same label as organic food also robs consumers of their right to know how their food is grown – and hurts organic farmers. Hydroponics relies on growing practices often potentially using toxic materials like Styrofoam and plastic that contain harmful chemicals, flame-retardants and phthalates.
We have a small window to make a difference. They are scheduled to make their decision at their meeting in Jacksonville, FL on October 31st – November 2nd.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
It is now time for us to expand regenerative organic practices and not make it harder for our organic farmers by allowing cheaply grown food by hydroponic practices to be labeled organic.
The consumer has a right to know what they are eating. There is currently no way to know as much hydroponic produce is now labeled as organic – using the same label as soil grown produce. The power of the “Organic” label is transparency and trust – let’s keep it that way.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
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 to fit how they grow food, rather than changing the way they grow food to meet the certification determined by the National Organic Standards Board and the National Organic Program.
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
Organic farmers will struggle to compete with mass produced industrial hydroponically grown foods. If these large corporations are allowed to call what they grow “organic”, it will not only make it impossible for you to know which practices you are supporting but what you are actually eating. Even worse, organic farmers will be forced out of business, or forced to abandon the sustainable farming practices that nourish us and the earth.
People who eat food responsibly will no longer be armed with the knowledge they rely on to protect their families. The “Organic” label will no longer represent organic food, and the value of having that label will be cheapened. Consumers will have no idea how their food is produced, and what they are supporting with their dollars
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Now is the time to make your voice heard!
The organic farmers that have championed this effort to protect the integrity of organic farming and certification are listed here. This is by no means an exhaustive list as they are a solid community that grows food for consumers every single day. Please join us and stand behind them today!
Organic farmer for 37 years, Long Wind Farm, Vermont
David “Davey” Miskell
Organic farmer, Miskell’s Premium Organics, Vermont
Organic farmer, Lady Moon Farms, Chambersburg, PA
Lady Moon Farms, Chambersburg, PA
Eliot Coleman & Barbara Damrosch
Organic farmers and authors, Four Season Farm, Maine
Organic farmer for 41 years, President of Stone Barns, Distinguished Fellow at Leopold Center; Kirschenmann Family Farms, N. Dakota
Jim & Meghan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm, Maine