Only crops grown in the soil can be organic.
There is a general misperception regarding the meaning of “organic.” Most people think organic means pesticide-free, no man-made harmful chemicals, and no GMO. They are partially right, but this is not what qualifies a crop to be organic. In fact, with a Tower Farm, we also only use organic pesticides and fungicides occasionally. However, we need 99% fewer pesticides than what is required for conventional organic farming.
The original definition of organic is based on the decaying/putrefaction process of organic plant/animal matter in the soil which is broken down by micro-organisms, fungi, and bacteria and converted into inorganic molecules. In other terms, the decaying process in the soil allows organic molecules to be converted into minerals and amino acids (i.e. nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, etc.) which are the nutrients for the plants. This process is referred to as mineralization.
Whether minerals are created through mineralization, or obtained from mining, as long as they are free from man-made harmful chemicals, it is exactly the same for the plants.
In comparison to organic farming, we use 95% less water, 99% fewer pesticides, and our crops feature a higher nutrient density. This is why our technology has been self-proclaimed as “Beyond Organic”.
We do realize that in the US there is a new official certification for “organic hydroponics.” Hydroponic farmers only using organic seeds and organic pesticides have been fighting to get this certification (since their farming approach is as natural as organic farming while being much more eco-friendly). Such a certification is ludicrous: Organic farming can only be soil-based, involving the mineralization process consisting of converting organic molecules into inorganic molecules.
This is why vertical farming cannot be certified organic since it involves either hydroponics or aeroponics, which in our case is definitely ‘Beyond Organic’!