What is your position on hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil. It is not allowed under organic standards.

Plant nutrition is based on the activities of living organisms in the soil. Research shows that crops raised on soils rich in humus and biological activity are more vigorous and suffer little or no disease, and that animals reared on such crops are largely disease resistant, even to traditionally infectious diseases.

The Soil Association is interested in ensuring that farming is both sustainable and also produces healthy food. While it might be possible to make a case that certain hydroponic systems are sustainable (this means not using any agro-chemicals, as that involves great use of oil), we believe that you would lose out on the health benefits - particularly in the long term.

For example, intensive farming can actually be likened to hydroponics, in that the soil is used simply as a substrate for the receipt of nutrients in solution and soil biological activity is suppressed in such circumstances. Since the introduction of intensive production methods, official figures show that the level of various minerals in fruit and vegetables has fallen by between 17 and 80%.

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