Should hydroponic veggies be labeled organic?

November 20, 2017 by  
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Does produce grown hydroponically deserve the organic label? Some organic farmers don’t think so, and they gathered at a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting where the board voted on a ban on hydroponic practices in organic farming, reports NPR . Hydroponic farmers fought back, saying they can produce food with less water . Organic farmers turned out at the NOSB meeting in Jacksonville, Florida in an attempt to have the organic label removed from hydroponic vegetables . Vermont farmer Dave Chapman of Long Wind Farm , who’s the National Organic Coalition executive director, said the founding principles of organic farming center around “ soil health, regenerating the soil” as opposed to simply providing plants with nutrients. Related: 40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water Hydroponic farmers disagree. Wholesum Harvest marketing manager Jessie Gunn told NPR, “We can grow our tomatoes organically with three to five gallons of water, per pound of production, as opposed to growing tomatoes in open fields, which can use anywhere from 26 to 37 gallons of water.” Cultivating crops in fields “uses more water, more land, destroys more natural habitat. I mean, what is the true essence of organic?” Hydroponic vegetables are taking over a growing share of sales to grocery stores . Chapman said already, most organic tomatoes you’d find in a supermarket today never touched soil. He said soon virtually all organic tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, and most berries and lettuce, will be grown hydroponically, which he considers tragic. Other people, such as members of the Recirculating Farms Coalition , consider hydroponic farming to be sustainable, a sensible choice “especially for a planet with a changing climate , and assorted challenges in reducing use of water, energy , and space.” The 15-person NOSB, a federal advisory board for the United States Department of Agriculture, voted against the ban, eight to seven. Via NPR Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Should hydroponic veggies be labeled organic?

Here’s why only 1% of U.S. cropland is farmed organically despite voracious demand

July 29, 2016 by  
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Only around one percent of U.S. cropland is dedicated to organic farming even though consumer appetite for organic foods reached an estimated $13.4 billion last year. The reason more farmers haven’t converted to organic farming has to do with the high costs of getting certified , a process that takes three years before the U.S. Department of Agriculture can stamp a farm as meeting the requirements of being free of products such as certain synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. “When you look at the percentage of the marketplace, what consumers are buying versus what farmers are producing, farmers aren’t producing as much organic as consumers are consuming,” Alexis-Badden Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association, an organics advocacy group, told The Guardian. Related: Benefits of organic food go far beyond vitamins and minerals, despite study results Food companies such as General Mills and Kashi are starting to help organic farmers financially during the three year transitional period. For example, General Mills recently teamed with dairy cooperative Organic Valley on a plan to pay a higher-than-market price for organic milk during the three year transition, with the extra money going into a fund to pay for the expenses accumulated. There are also efforts going on to create a transitional organic certification that would enable farmers to raise their prices in the second and third years of the transition before obtaining the official USDA seal of approval. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), California is the top state in organic sales. The 2014 Organic Survey found that the Golden State accounted for $2.2 billion in organic sales. According to the survey, the top commodity sold by U.S. farms was milk with $1.08 billion in organic sales. + USDA Organic Agriculture Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia

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Here’s why only 1% of U.S. cropland is farmed organically despite voracious demand

6 Michigan state workers charged with misconduct over the Flint Water Crisis

July 29, 2016 by  
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Residents of Flint, Michigan are one step closer to justice in the aftermath of the Flint Water Crisis . Today Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed misconduct charges against six state workers. Three employees are from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services , and three employees are from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality . The workers (including one former employee) are charged with misconduct for a variety of reasons, including allegedly misinterpreting federal regulations, manipulating reports, and conspiring to misconduct. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employees charged are Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott, and Corrine Miller. In addition to misconduct, their charges include ” willful neglect of duty related to allegedly concealing or disregarding test results ” after tests revealed high levels of lead in the blood of Flint residents. Peeler and Scott both work in a “childhood lead poisoning prevention program” for Michigan. Miller is the Michigan Director and State Epidemiologist. Related: 33 other U.S. cities have cheated water tests that detect lead The sole state employee fired so far over the Flint Water Crisis has been Liane Shekter Smith, who was the chief of Michigan’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance. She is among the charged employees. The other two employees to receive charges are water regulators Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook of the Department of Environmental Quality. Emails show Rosenthal manipulated reports about the lead levels in Flint water, and other emails show Cook wanted to quiet EPA expert Miguel Del Toral who asked about the corrosion control chemicals Flint lacked. According to The Detroit News , it is still considered unsafe to drink Flint water. In a statement, Schuette said “The families of Flint will not be forgotten. We will provide the justice they deserve. And in Michigan, the justice system is not rigged. There is one system of justice. The laws apply to everyone, equally, no matter who you are. Period.” Via The Detroit News Images via screenshot and Wikimedia Commons

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6 Michigan state workers charged with misconduct over the Flint Water Crisis

Urban farming utopia in India produces more energy than it uses

February 22, 2016 by  
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Urban farming utopia in India produces more energy than it uses

Record high Arctic temperatures are becoming the new normal

February 22, 2016 by  
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2015 was officially the hottest year on record , and 2016 is already shaping up to be quite the contender. New data reveals that last month saw the most pronounced disparity between historical averages and actual temperatures, particularly in the Arctic. Not only that, but the sea ice on the top of the world has reached record low numbers. Read the rest of Record high Arctic temperatures are becoming the new normal

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Record high Arctic temperatures are becoming the new normal

Inspiring LOSEV center in Turkey teaches visitors how to lead sustainable lives

July 7, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Inspiring LOSEV center in Turkey teaches visitors how to lead sustainable lives Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “natural materials” , compost , educational architecture , green lifestyle , green resort , LOSEV Natural Life Center , MuuM Architects , organic farming , turkey , waste management

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Inspiring LOSEV center in Turkey teaches visitors how to lead sustainable lives

Modular organic farming commune is topped with a green roof in Argentina

May 5, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Modular organic farming commune is topped with a green roof in Argentina Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Argentina , green roof , IR arquitectura , local building techniques , modular architecture , organic farming , Yerbas del Paraiso

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Modular organic farming commune is topped with a green roof in Argentina

Elegant Zero-Energy Furniture can store heat and regulate indoor temperatures

May 5, 2015 by  
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Heating and cooling are no longer exclusively an architectural issue, but one that can be tackled with smart furniture design . This elegant-looking Climatic Table can regulate indoor temperatures by storing heat and increases energy savings by up to 60% for heating and 30% for cooling . Designers Raphaël Ménard and Jean-Sébastien Lagrange created an entire series called Zero Energy Furniture that can “store a large quantity of thermal energy within a small volume.” Read the rest of Elegant Zero-Energy Furniture can store heat and regulate indoor temperatures Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green furniture” , energy-efficient table , green table , green technology , heating and cooling , Jean-Sébastien Lagrange , Milan Design Week , Milan Furniture Fair , Raphaël Ménard , table design , wooden furniture , Zero Energy Furniture

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Elegant Zero-Energy Furniture can store heat and regulate indoor temperatures

Benefits of organic food go far beyond vitamins and minerals, despite study results

April 17, 2015 by  
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It makes sense to this writer that organic food is a healthier option than convention produce, which is grown with  synthetic pesticides and fertilizers . Take away those harmful chemicals, and organic food ought to be better for you, right? I am not alone in this line of thought, and as such, the organic food market is a $29 billion industry. That said,  a study is pouring cold water on this theory, suggesting that research into organic food has found “scant evidence of health benefits”… but is the new study missing the point? Read the rest of Benefits of organic food go far beyond vitamins and minerals, despite study results Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Annals of Internal Medicine , fertilizers , food production , health benefits , Organic , organic farming , organic farming methods , organic food , organic fruits and vegetables , organic produce , pesticides , stanford university of medicine , vegetables

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Benefits of organic food go far beyond vitamins and minerals, despite study results

Ohio’s 100-Acre Classroom teaches farming skills to middle-school students

April 10, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Imagine a school environment in which subjects like chemistry, biology, math, and home ec are learned outside in the fresh air. Sound too good to be true? Well, the Hershey Montessori Farm School  in Geauga County offers exactly that. Every day, 50 middle school students , some of whom come from as far as Australia for this type of education, attend school on this farm , which consists of close to 100 acres of wooded land. There, the students work with both their hands and their heads, learning where their food comes from and how to cultivate it from seed to harvest. They grow vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, leeks, broccoli, and a variety of greens , and also learn how to tend chickens, goats, horses, and other animals. Students also take turns doing chores and preparing meals. Rather than relegating young people to a scant few classrooms, the entire farm is a learning environment where they can get hands-on experience and exercise. + Hershey Montessori Farm School The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 100-acre farm school , agriculture , farm education , farm school , farming , food farm , food security , hands-on education , Hershey Montessori Farm School , Montessori , Montessori farm school , Montessori School , Ohio farm school , organic agriculture , organic farm , organic farming , sustainable farming

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Ohio’s 100-Acre Classroom teaches farming skills to middle-school students

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