Rally in the Valley

Enid Wonnacott speaks about keeping soil in organic The organic farmers and eaters of northern New England will be gathering at 12pm on Sunday, Oct 30 at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vermont to make our voices heard by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). We are coming together to send a message to the NOSB and National Organic Program (NOP) that soil is the foundation of organic farming, and that hydroponics (a production method using nutrient solutions and inert growing mediums) is not organic. 

Since 2010, the NOSB recommendation prohibiting “organic hydroponic” growing has been totally ignored.  Next month, the NOSB will be looking at this issue again and will make a crucial decision on keeping the soil in organic or allowing hydroponics to take over.

Read a Q&A with Dave Chapman about this issue »
Read an excellent article written by Joel Banner-Baird, Burlington Free Press »

We’re seeing an explosion of hydro berries (Driscoll’s Berries now sells over 1000 acres of them) as well as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce coming into the stores, all labeled as organic but unmarked as hydroponic. Unchallenged, this hydro invasion will transform the “certified organic” produce available to most Americans from soil grown to hydroponic.

The NOSB is facing an uphill battle in challenging this industrial behemoth, and the hydroponic trade group is lobbying hard to sway the vote.  The only way we’ll stop this is to gather together and make our voices heard. 

At the Rally in the Valley, there will be a tractor cavalcade, some speechifying, pizza from the NOFA-VT oven, food from the Skinny Pancake, and music. NOFA-VT will be filming the event to share as testimony at the NOSB meeting in St. Louis and renowned organic farmer Eliot Coleman from Maine will be joining us as well as Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch! Senator Leahy has been a long-time advocate of soil-based organic farming and this will be our chance to thank him for his many years of hard work maintaining the integrity of the National Organic Program.

Come rain or shine to celebrate organic farming and let the USDA know that we care. This is our last chance to speak loudly and clearly to Keep the Soil in Organic.


View the list of farmers & supporters


If you would like to be listed as a supporter of the Rally in the Valley, please RSVP to [email protected]. Please note: the text for this letter was provided by VOF farmers Dave Chapman & David Miskell. Please contact the NOFA-VT office (802) 434-4122 for general information about the event and contact Dave or David with specific inquiries.