“We are encouraged that the National Organic Standards Board recognized the need for further deliberation and clarification of the Crops Subcommittee recommendation. We agree making any decision now would be irresponsible until such a time as the Board is able to weigh all competing views. Only after a full, fair and open airing of all the relevant issues should a decision regarding organic certification of containerized growing methods be considered.
We believe organic growing is and should continue to be defined by how plants are nourished and protected from pests and disease. Organic containerized growing methods use the same natural inputs as open field growers to nourish and grow crops. Not only are these growing methods organic, they significantly reduce the amount of land, water and other resources needed to grow organic produce, and, most importantly, ensure organic foods are more accessible so that everyone has the option to enjoy produce free of harmful chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.
Certified containerized growers adhere to the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards under the National Organic Program, and have been certified to grow organic produce by the USDA for more than 25 years. After extensive study in 2010, the USDA through the NOP opted not to change these high standards – and affirmed that organic produce can be grown through containerized methods. Based on the facts, science and existing law, we urge the Board to do the same, and maintain current standards. Making arbitrary changes to existing organic rules are a mistake that would stifle sound and sensible growing methods, putting hundreds of growing operations out of business and limiting the amount of organic produce available to the public.”