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Dave Chapman's Testimony to the NOSB

The time has come for a conclusion on the issue of hydroponics in organic. Like the Emperor’s new clothes, the NOP position relies on our continuing silence in order to avoid ridicule.

The 2010 NOSB recommendation is completely clear in saying that hydroponic production has no place in organic certification. Soilless growing is simply not in keeping with the basic principles of organic farming.

I believe that the task force is an attempt to avoid rather than to act on the recommendation.

I believe that most of the people in this room agree with the NOSB recommendation.

Most of the organic farmers in America agree with that recommendation.

IFOAM, The National Organic Coalition, Cornucopia, The Organic Trade Association, the Agrarian Elders, the OSGTA, and the Vermont Organic Farmers have all issued statements in support of that recommendation.

Five hundred organic farmers and over one thousand organic consumers have signed petitions that support that recommendation.

The standards of 23 of the 27 member states of the EU, Japan, New Zealand, and Mexico support that recommendation.

So who opposes the 2010 recommendation?

The NOP…. and the hydroponic growers.

Was it ever intended that the NOP would redefine the principles of organic farming? No! They are only meant to be the referees, ensuring that the organic standards are enforced and kept safe from corrupting economic interests. That is the entire reason that the NOP was created by Congress. To protect the farmers AND the consumers from unethical marketing, from tricking people into buying something they didn’t mean to buy.

And now the NOP is becoming EXACTLY what they were created to protect us from.

Let us stop settling for Certified SORT OF Organic.

I have three proposals for the NOP:

  1. Create an immediate moratorium on certifying hydroponic production, until the recommendation can be acted on.

  2. Act QUICKLY to create a rule that will ban hydroponic growing from organic certification.

  3. Connect the hydroponic growers to the USDA Process Verified Program, so that they can create a label that will honestly offer what they grow to the American people. Let them be proud of how they grow, and not hide it behind the organic label. Then let the people make their choices.

I call on Miles, the NOSB, Senator Leahy, and all of you to push the issue to a speedy conclusion, keeping the organic standards strong and true.

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