Jack Kittredge

Organic Farmer

Editor, The Natural Farmer


Thanks for alerting me to the NOP’s allowing imported hydroponic produce to be sold as organic. I wasn’t aware of the problem and appreciate your efforts to publicize it.

The defining principles of growing a crop organically are the use of natural sources of nutrition in the presence of a rich diversity of other organisms. Systems that use synthetic nutrient sources, or neglect the important symbiosis between the crop and a biodiverse environment, are ignoring these principles and cannot be considered organic.  The NOSB has affirmed this in its January 23, 2010 statement on Production Standards for Terrestrial Plants in Containers and Enclosures reminding us of the importance of the “soil-plant ecology” to organic production.

I am concerned that the NOP is allowing imported produce, grown in hydroponic systems that do not have such an ecology, to be sold in the US as organic. The NOP needs to accept the 2010 NOSB recommendations and affirm the standards that most countries have already adopted which exclude such hydroponic production from being considered organic.