Should hydroponically grown food carry an ARTIFICIALLY GROWN label?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Diggers has been fighting the introduction of GM and hybrid seeds for 20 years, due to the corporate monopolisation of the food chain. In the meantime, a far greater change in the production of our food has gone largely unnoticed: the switch from growing food-producing plants outdoors in soil, to growing them in protected glasshouses with synthetic hydroponic nutrients.

Today, around 20% of our fruit and vegetables are grown hydroponically. All the inputs are controlled (water, heat, CO2) and the plants are fed using synthetic nutrients. Insects are also controlled, in the sense that flowers have to be pollinated in a windless glasshouse. So, in the case of self-pollinating tomatoes, the flowers are vibrated to stimulate pollination.

Hydroponic growers label their produce with pride as hydroponic, as if it were a benefit to offer such totally artificially grown food. The food looks real and is blemish free, like supermarket tomatoes, but should we be proud to label food grown artificially?

For around ten thousand years, humans have been growing food in soil where nutrients have been created as a result of natural evolutionary processes like the decomposition of minerals, plants and animals. The suggestion that hydroponic food could be equal or superior in quality to certified, organically-grown food is both arrogant and unproven.

Environmental benefits

There are a number of positive environmental benefits of protected crop production, including a reduction in the carbon footprint of the food being produced because it can be grown closer to where it will be consumed — rather than transporting tomatoes from one end of the country to another.

Another huge benefit in protected crop production is the greatly improved production yield, which proves that Monsanto's claim that we need GM to feed a potential 10 billion future population is purely self-serving bunkum. In hydroponic glasshouses, 20% of our food can be grown on just 1,341 hectares of land.

True organically-certified hydroponics?

What we need is all the yield and environmental benefits of covered cropping but with a nutrient supply that engages our whole ecosystem.

In short, I’d like to see hydroponic growing systems with organically-certified nutrients.

Dear Diggers we are keen to hear your views.

Question: Should hydroponically grown food carry an Artificial Food label?
Please respond to editor@diggers.com.au

Clive Blazey (1 Nov 2017).

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