Urban farming getting organic certification

Singapore is the first country to create Organic Standards for produces grown in urban and indoor environment

On April 11th, I was invited to attend the launch of the SS 632 Organic Standard. As farmland is scarce in Singapore, this standard was created to include urban, peri-urban and indoor into organic agriculture provided they meet health, ecology, fairness and care guidelines.

As this is Singapore’s very first attempt  to formalize organic regulations one can only rejoice.

Here are the main aspects: 

  • Soil/substrate shall be recycled and reused after appropriate ecologically sustainable treatment (Composting).

  • Hydroponic cultivation is not allowed. This means that plants growing in water will not be given the organic label. This one made me really happy! ☺
Hydroponics is not organic
  • Growing media and substrates which can accommodate the root system is allowed. This means that the soil can be a combination of coconut peat as well as compost. This is not as good as real soil, but way better than hydroponic.

Growing media
  • Indoor farming: artificial lighting powered by use of renewable energy shall be allowed : this means that plants that have never seen the sunlight and were grown in indoor vertical farms can be called organic. ☹

Vertical farming could be certified organic
  • The integrity of the organic products shall be maintained throughout the distribution channel. This means that the packaging and labeling will be regulated to prevent contamination from other products. However, organic produces will have to be “packed and sealed”: this is not going to help us get rid of plastic. 

plastic vs organic

 

Although we should rejoice that Singapore is trying to improve and find solutions to allow local farms to get an organic certification; one might still favor produces that were gown outdoor, far away from pollution and planted directly in real soil.

Claire Chabrieres

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