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Traditional Organic Farmers Say Hydroponic Farming Can’t Be Organic

November 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Can fruits and vegetables grown in soil-free systems – hydroponically or aquaponically – be certified as organic? The question is far from settled as an increasing number of big and small produce growers are turning to liquid-based farming. These growers say their methods are no different from soil farmers, and are actually more sustainable because they use less water. Traditional organic farmers, however, say organic means caring for the soil so that it contains proper nutrients and produces environmental benefits beyond growing plants. Both sides will present their arguments at a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the USDA.
Stephanie Strom, "What’s Organic? A Debate Over Dirt May Boil Down to Turf", The New York Times, November 15, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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