Cornucopia reached out to Dr. Jennifer Tucker, the National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator, for further comment on the issues raised by Civil Eats, below.
Dr. Jennifer Tucker
Tucker stated that she did not feel the context was illustrated well in the article. Her quotes came out of a discussion surrounding hydroponic operations being erected on rooftops or in already established buildings, not greenhouses erected on land. She emphasized to Cornucopia that it was not a blanket statement about NOP policy or an interpretation of the rules as they stand.
Massive hydroponic operations continue to be erected on top of soil. This has a profound effect on the soil integrity, whether or not prohibited substances like glyphosate are applied to the ground beneath. Good soil health has far-reaching benefits, including carbon sequestration, preventing pollution run-off, and water and nutrient storage.
Tucker did note that she shared some of the concerns of organic stakeholders about prohibited substances being applied to the land, but she did not clarify how this rule will be enforced if the three-year transition period is discarded.
The NOP has drafted an official policy statement regarding these concerns that is currently in review. Tucker stated that she does not have a timeline for this official policy’s date of release but made assurances that it is a high priority. There are no current plans to develop standards specific to organic hydroponic production. Read Full Article »