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Organic Agriculture is Soil Based – Position Statement

Organic is Soil Based Position Paper Clip

CT NOFA, along with our fellow NOFA chapters, have long held that stewardship of soil is a key principle of organic agriculture. With that in mind, we are proud to join with organic advocates from across the country in endorsing and promoting the Organic Agriculture is Soil Based position statement.

Spearheaded by the Real Organic Project, this paper affirms that organic agriculture is based in the soil and that hydroponic and other non-soil based agriculture systems should not be allowed to carry the “Certified Organic” label. Soil-based agriculture is enshrined in the language of the Organic Food Production Act and the National Organic Program Final Rule.

According to the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) 6513(b)(1), “An organic plan shall contain provisions designed to foster soil fertility, primarily through the management of the organic content of the soil through proper tillage, crop rotation, and manuring.” Support for the idea that organic production is soil-based is found in the USDA’s preamble to the regulations published in 2000 which states, “The soil fertility and crop nutrient management practice standard in section 205.203 [of the National Organic Program Final Rule] establishes the universe of allowed materials and practices.” Hydroponic production was not included in that universe because hydroponic production does not manage soil fertility.

Despite this, some certifiers have applied the organic label to hydroponically-produced crops, while other certifiers refuse to do so. CT NOFA and the co-signers of this paper see soil-based agriculture as critically important to the integrity of the National Organic Program. With this paper, we stand together to demonstrate to the USDA that this is not a settled issue.Click here to read the position paper, and if you agree, we hope you’ll sign on yourself, here.

Become involved with the fight to keep organic labeling tied to soil health, as well as the other work we do here at CT NOFA — support us with your gift or donation.

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