It’s bad enough that the National Organic Program (NOP) decided to allow fruits and vegetables grown in water—not soil—to be certified organic. But allowing hydroponic growers to spray glyphosate on the soil under their hydroponic pots? Just days before the growing season?
In March, organic farmer and executive director of the Real Organic Project, Dave Chapman, asked an NOP official how hydroponic growers could be certified organic without having to follow U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations requiring three years of no herbicide use?
In April, Chapman wrote about his confrontation with NOP’s Jennifer Tucker.
Last week, the USDA finally cracked down on the illegal use of glyphosate and other herbicides among hydroponic berry growers. Chapman called the USDA’s response a victory, in the sense that “real” organic farmers united to put pressure on the USDA:
We stopped them from allowing glyphosate and insecticides for hydro berry operations. That means there will be a little less Roundup sprayed in America next year.
But the fact remains: Under USDA organic regulations, organic producers are required to improve soil matter—that means hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be allowed to be certified organic. Period.
Yet they are—and with no requirement that they be labeled “hydroponically grown.”
The NOP's failure on the hydroponic issue is just one more reason to buy local, from farmers you know and trust.