I am an Organic enthusiast and I love the idea of eating natural produce grown in fertile soil with the help of sun and rain. We all know how important the role of biologically active fertile soil is, with all its known and yet to be discovered benefits. But clouding my organic dreams, the expanding trend of “organic hydroponics” is flooding the market, obscuring the Organic label. The hydroponic industry has been surreptitiously selling their water grown produce as organic for most of the past decade with no indication of hydroponic on the label and with no customer knowledge that this was happening. Mexico, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and most European countries all prohibit hydroponic production to be sold as organic. Not in the U.S.
How can that be? There isn’t any soil in hydroponic production. How can it be organic? I don’t want my precious organic vegetables to be raised in water with soluble fertilizers. I don’t want them to come from vertical farms where production is hermetically sealed in huge warehouses filled with LED lights and nutrient pumps. I want Soil and sun!
Biologically active fertile soil, sun and water are the basic elements that mother nature intended to grow plants with high nutrient status and taste.
It is well known that too much rain will render vegetables and fruits tasteless, so imagine the flavor when they are grown in it (Sigh). And what are the consequences on the produces’ nutrient values when grown in water under artificial light? They get very low in mineral content.
As the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the group of farmers, scientists, and public interest advocates said back in 2010:
“The abundant organisms in healthy, organically maintained soils form a biological network, an amazing and diverse ecology that is ‘the secret’, the foundation of the success of organic farming . “
Any French person would tell you that all the wines have different tastes depending on the soil organic characteristics and the sun exposition of the vine stocks. What would happen with no soil and always the same constant artificial lighting?
I don’t say that hydroponic culture is toxic but I want to make sure that my vegetables have the necessary nutrients to sustain my health. And right now, I am far from convinced that it will be the case with this type of watery intensive farming. I chose to buy Organic foods to stop being a guinea pig for the GMO and pesticides manufacturers and I don’t want to play the same role for the hydroponic industry.
So what can we do as consumers to ensure that our vegetables and berries have at one point in their life see a grain of soil? Try to buy from local farmers, farmer’s markets or ask your retailers which brands are soil-grown. If you buy organic produces and realize at home that they have no taste, note the brand and avoid it: big, waterlogged and tasteless produces are mostly hydroponic grown.