( USDA )

The Justice Department is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to allow hydroponic operations to be certified organic.

The lawsuit was filed in March by the Center for Food Safety and several organic growers.

On May 11, the Justice Department responded, asking the U.S. District Court Northern District of California to dismiss the lawsuit, stating that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the Administrative Procedure Act does not entitle the Center for Food Safety and the other grower plaintiffs to a dismissal. 

The Coalition for Sustainable Organics, a group advocating for hydroponic organic agriculture, said in a news release that the group was pleased with the Department of Justice response to the legal challenge.

“The lawsuit takes aim at all container systems,” Lee Frankel, executive director of the Coalition for Sustainable Organics, said in a news release. “The requested decertification of organic growers would include everything from microgreens grown in a tray using soil to tomatoes grown with plastic lining under the planting bed to berries grown in a pot to leafy greens grown in a circulating water system.”

The issue of whether hydroponic operations should be certified as organic has been debated for years.

Last November, by a vote of 8 to 7, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board rejected proposals to make hydroponic and aquaponic production methods prohibited under the National Organic Program.

Frankel said USDA acknowledges in its response to the complaint that “certifiers have certified organic hydroponics operations since the beginning of the program and continue to certify organic hydroponics operations.”

“If producers, marketers, and retailers truly support bringing healthy food to more consumers, especially in light of the pressures many households are facing as a result of the recent economic contraction, they must speak out against these efforts to restrict supplies,” Frankel said in the release.
 

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Comments
Submitted by John Guynup on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:13

If hydroponics are considered organic then livestock that are confined and fed an organic ration should be be organic as well.

Submitted by OK on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 13:28

If livestock are raised in accordance with organic principles then yes, I agree although I suspect you were being facetious about it. I'm not sure confinement would be in accordance as tight quarters stress the animal. Stressed animals taste different from happy animals and there are chemical reasons for it; chemicals produced by the animal itself - like adrenaline and cortisol for example.

The real question is, what is it about ponics that triggers you? Are you a dirt farmer and you don't want the competition? Or do you have a legitimate concern about anything other than money? In the absence of additional information I'll presume it's a financial concern

In reply to by John Guynup (not verified)

Submitted by John Guynup on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:13

If hydroponics are considered organic then livestock that are confined and fed an organic ration should be be organic as well.

Submitted by John Guynup on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:13

If hydroponics are considered organic then livestock that are confined and fed an organic ration should be be organic as well.

Submitted by OK on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 13:16

I've noticed that some - even many - people claim to want to "fix the world" and then they go ahead and act exactly like the broken people with their intolerance for others.

To put this into perspective, I was in a chat room recently and I mentioned certain things and provided a link to more of the information I was providing.

One of the regulars and a "pro" or "team leader" immediately cast aspersions on my info. One of the other regulars then provided a link to a different site and made the claim that, it and not the site I mentioned was the be-all and end-all site. Basically an attempt to make me feel stupid & unwelcome. Luckily, I'm neither and I know it, despite these "old timers" running their little world.

Funny thing is, both sites were from the same author and said basically the same things in a slightly different way. So because I was unknown to these chat room people I was not given the benefit of the doubt by this group claiming to want to fix the world, but instead was immediately shunned for daring to suggest proper methods. In short - people basically suck.

The point of this analogy? So called organic farmers - presumably dirt farmers - do not want the competition from non-dirt farmers and their presumed goals of healthy food is secondary to the real goal - money. And so once again, greed wins over charity.