28 Sep '11, 11am

Farmers try to close a loophole that allows berries that started in conventional nurseries to be sold as "organic."

Photo: versageek In a recent article, the SF-based New York Times affiliate The Bay Citizen reported on a significant gap in California's organic strawberry industry: Most certified-organic strawberries do not start out that way. While there are a number of farms using organic practices to raise the berries (most keep them in the ground from one to two years), they must rely on commercial-scale plant nurseries for young plants. By the time those plants, or "starts" as they're called, make it to the farm, they have usually gone through an entire year's growing cycle in the nursery. If it's a conventional nursery, that means the soil they're grown in has been fumigated with a whole array of chemicals, including methyl bromide, a soil sterilizer and pesticide known to be depleting the ozone layer. (As an aside, what the Bay Citizen didn't mention is that methyl bromide is tha...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/article/2011-09-28-organic-strawberr...

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