Can food still be organic if it’s grown without soil?

new jersey, vertical farm, newark

GEORGINA GUSTIN / INSIDECLIMATE NEWS – A crucial battle in a long-brewing conflict over organic farming came to a head Wednesday when an influential government panel met to discuss whether soil is an essential element of organic farming.

On one side: “Dirt first” traditionalists who say that fruits and vegetables must, by definition, be grown in soil to qualify as organic.

On the other: Agri-technophiles who say “controlled environment” methods like hydroponics and aeroponics are just as deserving, dirt or no dirt.

The panel late Wednesday vote in favor of some of these novel farming techniques, disappointing organic pioneers but stoking the hopes of tech-focused agriculture startups …

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