NOSB Ban: Prevents Aquaponics and Hydroponics Producers From Organic Certification
The NOSB Crops Subcommittee has recommended that the full NOSB vote to ban ALL aquaponic production and curtail hydroponic production from organic eligibility at the Fall 2017 Meeting.
The decision is frankly short-sighted and does not help the small consumer or the small producer. It prevents honest, hard working farmers from being able to market a crop grown without any pesticides from being organic. In aquaponics for instance, because we recirculate the water from our fish tanks to our plant beds and back over and over and over we cannot use any pesticides. Even organically certified pesticides will cause harm to the health of our fish. Nothing touches the plants but water, air and ladybugs (our natural defense against pests).
In hydroponics you can get away with pesticide use, just like you can in soil, but many opt not to in order to provide a cleaner, safer and healthier end product to their customers; just like a field grower might. Yet with this decision these farmers won’t be able to get the certification that informs customers about their practices. If they do not sell directly to consumer, which many don’t, they lose that label that would get them a better price and increased sales in the grocery store.
We feel strongly about this even though we don’t personally certify our farms. We don’t wholesale to distributors or retailers and have the opportunity to educate our consumers about our practices. However, we definitely want the opportunity as we expand our business to be able to label those products as organic. It’s a word that has meaning to consumers and can be decision point as to whether to purchase a certain product or not.
We also want all those other farmers out there in the aquaponics and hydroponics community to be able to keep farming and maintain their livelihoods. Losing the ability to get organic certification will almost certainly result in decreased revenues for thousands of small farmers across the countrys. The NOSB ban has many of our peers in the industry very uncertain about their futures.
With the average age of farmers now over retirement age, the number of farmers dwindling domestically every year, we should be taking actions that support small farmers and helps them succeed. This proposal by the NOSB ban does not do that. It protects the interests of mega farms that are losing money because small time farmers are providng better products on lss land with less resources.
So we need your help.
- Go to this link – NOSB Organic Comments – and write a message telling the NOSB that you believe our growing methods should remain organic. You can write your own message or click this link to copy and paste a generic message.
- Sign up to give a three-minute testimony at the October 24 and 26 webinars.
- Sign up to attend the Fall Meeting in person and provide in-person three-minute testimony.
- Contact your federal congressional representatives and tell them you want the NOSB to retain the organic eligibility of sustainable growing methods like aquaponics, hydroponics, and aeroponics. Click here for language to use. Click here to enter your zip code and find your representatives.
Thank you in advance for your ongoing support. Hopefully this discourse will lead to critical thinking about what we can do as an industry to make sure that producers, soil or otherwise, who grow responsibly, conserve resources and do not use harsh chemicals or fertilizers on their crops get the opportunity label themselves as such so consumers can make informed decisions.