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Roundup Redux: Organic Standards Clarified for Hydroponics

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has clarified its standards regarding organic crop container systems such as hydroponics and aquaponics, requiring that those operations stop using synthetic chemicals not approved for organic crop production in the soil underneath, as well as in containers, for three years prior to achieving certification. The clarification arose after soil-based farmers reported that hydroponics operations were spraying the soil to clear weeds with Monsanto’s glyphosate shortly before building a greenhouse and applying for quick organic certification. The World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a Group 2A carcinogen, and it is absolutely prohibited on organic farms. The Real Organic Project, a family farmer-driven organization, is lobbying for an add-on label to USDA Certified Organic to provide more transparency on whether organic crops are grown in soil or hydroponic greenhouses.
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