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Organic N.H. Farmers, Frustrated by Recent USDA Labeling Decisions, to Gather in Hanover

Farmers Mkt Produce

Organic farmers and activists from across the country are gathering in Hanover this weekend.

They're frustrated by recent US Department of Agriculture decisions widening the definition of the “Certified Organic” label, and they’re planning a new “Real Organic” label of their own.

The USDA recently decided against banning hydroponic methods in organic farming. The move, combined with other animal-welfare related decisions, runs contrary to the heart of the organic movement, said Dave Chapman, an Upper Valley farmer.

He argues hydroponic systems ignore broader soil and broader health, which is critical to the overall sustainability of the food system.

"At the moment, I hate to say it,” he said, “but the (USDA) label is not very trustworthy.”

He’s joined together with other farmers across the country to form the Real Organic Project. The group is hosting a public symposium Saturday at Dartmouth College.

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