When it comes to organic food, it’s buyer beware. Fake organics abound these days, be it organic eggs laid by hens cooped up in gigantic factory farms, organic beef and milk from cows raised under anything but humane, pastured conditions, or hydroponic vegetables grown under artificial lighting in conventional coconut waste or ground up plastic, fertilized with a liquid slurry of conventionally-grown (and hence pesticide-laden) processed soybeans.
Indeed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic label has become increasingly watered down over the years. With the inclusion of hydroponics in the organic standards, it’s at risk of becoming altogether moot.
On one side of this fight you have family-scale, soil-based organic farmers whose focus is producing nutrient-dense food while simultaneously improving soil health. On the other you have corporate, industrial-scale hydroponic growers whose produce is actually lower in nutrients1 and does nothing to improve soil conditions on farms.
Organic Versus Hydroponic
According to section 7 CFR 205.2052,3 of USDA organic regulations, an organic grower’s crop rotation plan must maintain or improve soil organic matter. The main legal argument against the inclusion of hydroponics in the USDA’s organic standards is that since hydroponics do not involve the use of soil at all, it cannot qualify for organic certification in the first place.
Despite such clear-cut definitions of what constitutes organic farming, a large number of hydroponic operators were still quietly granted organic certification4,5,6 under the lead of Miles McEvoy, former deputy administrator of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).7In 2010, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) had voted “no” on allowing hydroponics as the organic rules clearly did not support their inclusion.
McEvoy, who disagreed with the panel’s decision, allowed hydroponic growers to apply for certification anyway. On November 1, the NOSB voted on whether these hydroponic growers would be allowed to remain part of the organic program, and despite passionate opposition by soil-based farmers and organic pioneers, the board chose to reverse their previous position, and not to stand in the way of granting organic certification to hydroponic growers.
The NOSB, now stacked with agribusiness-affiliated representatives, also decided to allow aquaponics, where fish and plants are raised together in a synergistic cycle, despite the fact that there are no organic standards for this type of production. However, the NOSB voted to bar aeroponics from organic certification. Aeroponics involves neither soil nor nutrient-rich water, relying on moist air to nourish the plants’ roots instead. The fallout from this November 1 vote has been nothing if not dramatic.
Coauthor of Organic Standards Says Organic Certification of Hydroponics Is Illegal
Jim Riddle, steering committee chair of the Organic Farmers Association (OFA),8 who in the early ’90s co-wrote the Organic Trade Association’s organic standards, had this to say about hydroponics being allowed to be certified organic:
“The labeling of hydroponic products as ‘organic’ is illegal. The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), in section 6513(b)(1), states, ‘An organic plan shall contain provisions to foster soil fertility…’ Further, OFPA 6513(g) states, ‘An organic plan shall not include any production or handling practices that are inconsistent with this chapter.’ Soilless production systems are inconsistent with OFPA.
They do not comply with numerous sections of the NOP Final Rule, as enumerated in the Crops Subcommittee’s recommendation. There is one relevant rule provision that the Committee overlooked. Section 205.601(j)(6) allows the use of micronutrients, with the following annotation, ‘Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.’
This does not mean that micronutrients may be used if soil is deficient from the system. No, it links soil to the allowance for the use of micronutrients. The OFPA and rule sections mentioned above, and in the Committee’s recommendation, use the words ‘shall’ and ‘must,’ not ‘should’ or ‘may.’ These are mandatory provisions, and they cannot be ignored.
In addition, soilless, hydroponic systems do not comply with the NOSB Principles of Organic Production and Handling, the first sentence of which reads, ‘Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.’
In the wake of the NOSB’s decision to certify hydroponics as organic, many organic pioneers have threatened to abandon USDA organic certification altogether. Another alternative brought forth by Mark Kastel, cofounder and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute,9is to develop an alternative label to distinguish between soil- and nonsoil-based organics.
Authentic Organics Are Being Squeezed Out by ‘Fauxganics’
The Cornucopia Institute is actively researching filing a lawsuit to reverse the USDA’s “illegal” certification of hydroponic/soilless growing. In the meantime, the final arbiter of what is and is not acceptable as organic is you. If you refuse to buy organic foods raised in factory farms or grown without soil, true organics may still be salvageable. The Cornucopia Institute is also collecting proxy letters 10 to be formally presented to corporate officers at national grocery chains.
This includes John Mackey at Whole Foods Markets, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and W. Craig Jelinek at Costco, just to name a few of the retailers that sell fake organics, thereby promoting the elimination of real, authentic organic foods, grown and raised with animal, human and environmental health equally in mind.
The proxy letter calls on these companies to use store signage that informs consumers about the differences between true organics and conventional food produced with hydroponic (sometimes also referred to as container growing), aeroponic and aquaponics technology.
Considering the fact that organic certified hydroponic produce is far less expensive to grow, and hence demands a lower retail price, hydroponically grown vegetables are rapidly taking over the organic produce market — even though they don’t even qualify as organic in the first place.
Are You Paying a Premium for Fake Organic Milk and Eggs?
The proxy letter also urges the listed grocers to “adopt a sourcing policy to only market organic milk and dairy products from brands that procure their raw milk from farmers that treat their cows respectfully and at a scale where it is conceivable they can meet the spirit and letter of the organic law that requires maximizing grazing and pasture consumption.”
At present Target, Costco and Walmart source their storebrand organic milk from Aurora Dairy, which had been found to willfully violate 14 tenets of the organic standards. For starters, evidence gathered by Cornucopia and The Washington Post suggests Aurora confines most of its cattle most of the time, even though organic standards call for cattle being free to roam on pasture. Not surprisingly, testing of the fatty acid profile of Aurora Dairy milk revealed it matched conventional, not organic milk.11
While the appeal to retailing CEOs is gaining traction, protect your family by consulting Cornucopia’s organic dairy scorecard, separating organic high-integrity dairy brands from what they call the “factory farm imposters.” Lastly, the proxy letter calls for the creation of a corporate plan to switch suppliers for private label eggs to producers that allow chickens outdoor access as required by federal organic laws. Eggland’s Best, for example, is to organic eggs what Aurora is to organic dairy.
One of its gigantic factory farms houses an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 birds per barn, or more than three hens per square foot of floor space, and these birds never set foot outdoors.12 This despite the fact that organic standards require organic livestock to have ample access to the outdoors and to engage in natural behavior, and are supposed to get both direct sunlight and fresh air.
Retailers Aid and Abet Organic Fraud
You can sign the Cornucopia proxy letter to grocery chain leaders below, and I would encourage you to do so, as no further progress on these issues can be made through the USDA or the NOSB. It’s become quite clear that the USDA is dancing to the tune of agribusiness lobbyists, not organic farmers and consumers.
As noted by the Cornucopia Institute in a recent stakeholder letter, “It’s time to draw a line in the sand. On the front lines, the businesses that have the ability to say no to organic fraud are the natural/specialty foods and grocery retailers. Many are willing co-conspirators in the corporate sellout of true meaning of organics.”
It seems market pressure — “hitting them where it hurts,” meaning their financial bottom line — is the only way to incentivize these retailers to help clean up the organic industry and its standards rather than merely profiting from organic fraud. Any company that decides to honor these consumer demands stands to gain a significant market advantage. As noted by the Cornucopia Institute:13
“Top retailers like Whole Foods Markets, Costco, Target, Safeway, Walmart, and Kroger must be convinced to provide choices in their grocery aisles for authentic, nutrient-dense organic food grown in rich, carefully stewarded soil. If the nutrients are not in our soil, they are not in our food, and they are not in our families!
Factory farm meat, dairy and egg production, and fruits and vegetables grown without soil rich in humus result in inferior flavor and nutrition … Corporate agribusinesses and factory farms are watering down the meaning of organics. They could not operate without retail representation. They are squeezing out ethical, family-scale farmers and their marketing partners. Real organic farmers, and their loyal customers, are being cheated.”
Take Action Now — Sign Proxy Letter to Grocery Chain Leaders
If retailers don’t carry, and people don’t buy, the foods produced by authentic organic farmers, these farmers will simply go under. The grocery chains listed on this proxy are opting for fauxganics rather than the real thing, and in so doing, they’re cheating you out of your hard-earned money.
After all, I think it’s safe to say that when you choose to pay extra for an organic version of a product, you do so because you expect it to have certain inherent qualities and benefits, not just an extra word on the label. So, please, print out, sign and mail the proxy letter back to Cornucopia, and let the CEOs at Target, Costco and Walmart know that you’re tired of being ripped off, and you’re not going to buy any more of their organic products until or unless they clean up their act.
Pesticide Companies Moving Into Hydroponics Business
Pesticide contamination is yet another area where authentic organics shine and fauxganics fall short. It may only be a matter of time before hydroponic produce becomes as prone to chemical contamination as conventional produce.
According to The Cannabist, Scotts Miracle-Gro — which has a long-standing partnership with Monsanto to market and distribute Roundup14 — has quietly invested half a billion dollars into a wholly owned subsidiary named the Hawthorne Gardening Co. with the aim of capturing the hydroponic business, starting with marijuana growers.15
It’s goal, according to Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn, is16 “To become the best supplier of hydroponic growing products in the world to both the consumer and professional markets.” For the nine months of 2017, Hawthorne sales grew by 160 percent. In 2016, the company grew 300 percent. These sales spikes are largely due to the acquisitions of Gavita, which sells grow lights, and two nutrient manufacturers, Botanicare and General Hydroponics.
Can we really expect a pesticide company to have the “heart” of an organic grower? And don’t you find it a bit Orwellian that half the NOSB members listened to Scotts representatives lobbing them, rather than pioneering organic farmers, when they green-lighted hydroponics for organic labeling? There is a lot money at stake related to this issue.
11 pounds in 22 days?
Is it REALLY possible to lose 11 lbs. of fat in 22 days? Actually yes… BUT only when you’re a level 4 fat burner. Unfortunately, most people are stuck as level 1 fat burners. So, how do you become a level 4 fat burner to lose up to 11 lbs. in 22 days? Simply eat these foods daily:
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.