Organic farmers who grow their crops in soil participate in a protest in Stowe, Vt., in 2015. Critics say the organic label is at essence about the health of soil, and did not want to allow crops raised in hydroponic systems to be labeled organic. Their efforts to strip hydroponic vegetables of the organic label failed this week.
Wilson Ring/AP Images
Baby basil is planted in PVC piping through which nutrient-infused water flows at regular intervals at a hydroponics farm in Nevada. This week, the National Organic Standards Board is set to vote on whether foods grown hydroponically can be sold as "certified organic."
Produce is often accompanied by signs like this one at a King Soopers grocery store in Fort Collins, Colo. But customers are often confused by their meaning, which is one reason the Organic Trade Association is trying to raise money for a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media/KUNC
Investigators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have discovered cases of organic fraud abroad as well as in the U.S. In 2013, 19 farmers or food companies were fined a total of $87,000 for misusing the organic label.