Is Certified Organic Hydroponics the New Frankenfoods?

Abigail R. Harris
February 18th 2020

by Abigail Harris – Executive Director, Provender Alliance

Is Certified Organic hydroponics the new Frankenfoods?

New developments are arising within CCOF and the broader natural foods community regarding organic certification of hydroponics. A few years ago, USDA Organic approved hydroponic operations. Within the organic community, this continues to be a big bone of contention.

At the recent EcoFarm Conference in California, many attendees participated in a tour of a Certified Organic hydroponics farm. Many were shocked by seeing the reality of “organic” farming without soil, or any soil improvements that they believe are the cornerstone of organic farming.

After the tour, at a workshop called “How Can You Mend a Broken Organic Program?” led by Dave Chapman of Real Organic Project, Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm stood up. One of the earliest CCOF certified farmers, she called for a protest at the next CCOF board meeting to address the need for change with CCOF’s certification of hydroponics. 

The CEO of CCOF, who also attended the workshop, responded by inviting people to attend the meeting as participants instead. (This meeting is taking place as this newsletter goes to press). 

These types of intergtity-based issues are very significant to Provender members.

Two members, Nature’s Path Organic Foods and Dr. Bronner’s, both quit the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in protest over several issues, including hydroponics and GMO labeling/the DARK Act. 

Where do you stand on the Certified Organic hydroponics issue?  Please write and share your thoughts with us.


Reports from Real Organic Project detailing the events mentioned above: