The Aquaponics Association submitted its official comment to the NOSB ahead of the Fall 2017 Meeting, at which it will vote on aquaponics' organic future. The Association will also deliver web comments later this month. Here is the state of the Association's Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition:
Aquaponics and Hydroponics Organic Coalition Comment for the Fall 2017 NOSB Meeting
The Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition recommends that the NOSB allow organic certification of aquaponic and hydroponic (AP/HP) farms that are compliant with USDA organic standards. These farming methods align with the organic mission and the integrity of the organic label stands much to gain by including them.
AP/HP are critical to improving the sustainability of our agricultural system, but revoking organic eligibility would move these industries backwards at a time we must foster their growth.
AP/HP fit the Organic mission. The Organic label is about empowering consumers to identify products that match their values. Consumers do not prefer organic because it is grown in soil; they prefer it because it is pesticide-free, environmentally sustainable, and relies on natural ecosystems for plant growth. So the question is: do AP/HP align with what the consumer expects when they purchase organic? Yes.
“Organic” is perceived by consumers to mean:
-Production without synthetic chemicals. AP/HP do not require synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
-Production that fosters the cycling of resources, ecological balance, and biodiversity conservation. AP/HP can be constructed as closed-loop ecosystems in which only the minimum required water and nutrients are added and with minimal or no discharge. AP/HP have also proven they can produce more food than soil culture per land area, thus saving more of the natural environment from the toll of agriculture.
-Production that relies on biological ecosystems to support plant health. Organic AP/HP production relies on a robust microflora in the root zone—made of the same types and numbers of bacteria and fungi that thrive in soil. This flora converts nutrients into forms available to plants and maintains plant health by reinforcing naturally-occurring mechanisms of disease resistance—just as in a healthy soil. (see attached Soil Food Web Report)
-Production that responds to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices. Consumers expect that organic produce has been grown with a healthy human element, where local customs, expertise, and ingenuity can overcome droughts, concrete jungles, and climate changes. AP/HP allow environmentally-sensitive agriculture where growing in soil isn’t possible.
The benefits of AP/HP include: water savings, reduced nutrient use and fertilizer runoff, shorter supply chains, food safety, and space efficiency.
In an era of climate change, resource depletion, and rapid population growth, the organic price premium is a critical incentive to draw more entrants into this market. If the NOSB revokes AP/HP organic eligibility, these industries will not grow as quickly and our environment, health, and economy will suffer.
AP/HP align with the values of organic that consumers expect, and they are highly sustainable. Rather than placing a greater toll on our environment and health, the NOSB should retain the organic eligibility of aquaponics and hydroponics.
The Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition
Agua Dulce Farm
Association for Vertical Farming
Berry Audit Services
Blue Mojo Farm, LLC
Cali Summer Clubs
CC Grow Inc.
CEA Fresh Farms
Center Valley Organics LLC
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
City of Minot North Dakota
NC Simple Life Farms LLC
Downtown Farms and Aquaponics
Fazenda Urbana Inc.
Fresh Farm Aquaponics, Inc
Friendly Aquaponics, Inc
Gateshead Consulting Corporation
Great Lakes Growers LLC
Heartland Aquaponics, LLC
Jenoe Group – Hydroponics
Joyful J Farms
Laughing Bear Enterprises
Living Justly Industries
Lotus Urban Farm and Garden Supply
Making Seeds 2 Cell
Marine Science Faculty, Autonomous University of Sinaloa
Moroccan association of hydroponics
Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation
Oko Farms, LLC
Solar Spice and Tea Trading Company
Synergy Star Events
Texas Organic Matters
The Family Fish Farms Network, Inc
Trifecta Ecosystems, Inc
Windy City Harvest / Chicago Botanic Garden
Yep Yep Organic Farm
Amber C. Monroe
Everett L Melton
Juan Pablo Pesalaccia
Marc L. Maynard