A Valley News Publication

NPR: National Organic Standards Board votes 8-7 against a ban on hydroponic methods in organic farming

NPR’s food and agriculture correspondent, Dan Charles, reported on the board’s narrow vote — and the contentious debate that preceded it — in a piece that aired on VPR this morning.

Charles talked to East Thetford’s Dave Chapman, who attended the board meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.

For farmers like Chapman, nurturing the soil is the essence of organic farming, and a vegetable grown without its roots in the soil simply cannot be called organic. …

 

“What will happen, very quickly, is that virtually all of the certified organic tomatoes in supermarkets will be hydroponic,” Chapman says. “Virtually all of the peppers and cucumbers [will be hydroponically grown]. A great deal of the lettuce. And most of the berries.”

 

Chapman calls it a “tragic situation.”

At Long Wind Farm in East Thetford, Vt., owner Dave Chapman measures a tomato plant in the greenhouse on Jan. 14, 2014. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

The issue is at the heart of the “Rally in the Valley” that has been held locally for the past two years.

Here’s a link to our coverage of the 2016 rally and the debate around how to define organics.

 

Farmers and community members against labelling hydroponic crops as organic erect a sign at the Rally in the Valley at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt., on Oct. 30, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

It’s almost Open Farm Week, y’all

Jonathan Durham, left, and Margaret Loftus, right, take a moment to enjoy their Icelandic sheep with their sons in Corinth, Vt., Sunday, August 6, 2017. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Get ready to #partyhard on Vermont farms.

Or at least to participate in special tours, workshops and other farm-related activities to the public, including at several farms in the Upper Valley. It starts on Monday (Aug. 14).

From today’s story:

The goal of Open Farm Week is to reinforce the relationship between farms and their surrounding communities, said Grace Meyer, who runs communications for the Vermont Fresh Network, the Richmond, Vt.-based nonprofit that manages DigInVt.com.

 

“The most beautiful thing about farmers in Vermont,” said Meyer, “is that they don’t always realize how interesting they are to non-farmers. I’ve had farmers be like, ‘Why would anyone want to see what I do in a dirty field all day?’ But it’s actually kind of mind-boggling if you work inside all day.”

The sentiment reminds me of the Farmer Olympics, sponsored by the Northeast Organic Farming Association and hosted this past year in Vershire, where run-of-the-mill farm chores were transformed into a world-class super fun athletic event.