What Is USDA Organic?


Aquaponics USA/World
October 2014 Newsletter
Number 10
Table of Contents 
The USDA Organic Label is Worldwide? 
What hoops (Treatments) do imported foods have to have?
Irradiated Food is . . . You decide.
What’s the National List?
Coming in November–Part 3

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
It’s always such a surprise when I get into a Series like this one because I learn as much as I share. We’re waking up together; and it’s so great to have you with us on this crazy ride through our food system.
Quick Links
The Organic Industry in the U.S (uh, not really)          Part 2
 
Dear Subscriber:

Some of the things we’ll be sharing in this Part 2 of our Report on the Organic Industry will surprise you. In some ways we’ll be sharing the dark side of the USDA Certified Label. In other ways, depending on how you view it, we’ll be sharing the bright side.
You’re invited to make up your own mind.

Did you know our USDA Organic Label is Worldwide?
 

Many, if not most of us Americans, naively believe that our USDA Organic Label is an exclusive U.S. only Certification. We have to admit, we we’re among them; but that is not so.
“The U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) streamlined the certification process for international as well as domestic trade when it was implemented in 2002. Organic farmers and handlers anywhere in the world are permitted to export organic products to the United States if they meet NOP standards, along with other regulatory standards, and are certified by a public or private organic certification body with USDA accreditation.
“In 2007, USDA-accredited groups certified 27,000 producers and handlers worldwide to the U.S. Organic Standard, with approximately 16,000 in the United States and 11,000 in over 100 foreign countries. Farmers and handlers certified to NOP standards are most numerous in Canada, Italy, Turkey, China and Mexico, which together accounted for half the total foreign organic farmers/handlers in 2007.” (Taken from the USDA “Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry” Report dated June 2009.)
For an updated and very extensive list of Certified USDA Organic operations worldwide go Here. Clicking through the first 20 of the 2,711 pages (with 10 on a page) is an eye-opening experience of realization that USDA Organic is, indeed, a worldwide designation; and most of these operations and handlers are importing their products to the U.S.
This list was updated in 2013 and surprisingly, there are still only a few more than 27,000 Certified Organic operations. We find this both puzzling and enlightening because it means that the proportions of operations and handlers reported in 2007 remain about the same, which is to say that 41% of the holders of USDA certification are from foreign countries. EGAD!
It seems we didn’t only export our manufacturing to foreign countries, we exported our USDA Organic Standards so foreign operators could import food into our agricultural sector and land it in what we established in Part 1 as the fastest growing food market, which is expected to increase by 14% annually. It’s looking like we need to place “Made in America” labels next to our USDA Labels these days.

(All quotes in this section taken from the USDA “Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry” Report dated June 2009.)

What happens to Foreign Imported Food before it’s allowed in the U.S.?

If we really wanted to tell this story in its entirety, it would take all of next years Newsletters in a Series. Don’t worry, we’re not going there. But we are going to give you a bird’s eye view of what Foreign Imported Food has to go through to gain entry and thank goodness these regulations are in place.
“Since fruits and vegetables are particularly susceptible to phytosanitary [meaning issues that have to do with plant disease and plant pests] problems, their imports are often subject to a large number of regulatory requirements.” Having the USDA Organic label doesn’t magically get organic operator produce across the U.S. border because other agencies have to be satisfied.
“For example, fruit and vegetable imports are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for pest risk, USDA’s Agricultural Market-ing Service regulates for quality standards and marketing claims and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates for adulteration with pesticides and human pathogens.” Then there’s the National Agricultural Release Program (NARP). It is “a special import program that mandates fewer physical inspections for shipments in pathways designated as low risk by APHIS.” Under the NARP Program, “APHIS allows agricultural inspections and treatments to occur at the country of disembarkation by creating producer-financed, pre-clearance programs.”
The interesting word here that covers an entire gamut of things that could happen to imported fruits and vegetables prior to entry is the word, “TREATMENTS”.
Treatments are actions that can be ordered by the regulating agency called APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). APHIS can order that the shipment be Fumigated, Cold Treated, Hot Treated, Irradiated or even Destroyed. Sometimes, if the producer is under NARP, these “treatments” happen before the shipment leaves the foreign country from which it is being shipped and paperwork attesting to that fact is presented.
So what is Fumigation? “Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides-or fumigants-to suffocate or poison the pests within. [Did we say pesticides or fumigants?] It is used to control pests in buildings (structural fumigation), soil, grain, and produce, and is also used during processing of goods to be imported or exported to prevent transfer of exotic organisms.” Does that mean that the USDA Organic avocados from Mexico have been fumigated? If a questionable pest has been identified on the plant, it appears that might have happened. Who knows? I’m not aware of ever seeing a label that says, “This fruit/vegetable was Fumigated before it entered the U.S.”
What is Cold Treatment? Cold Treatment is the storage of the fruit or plant in an approved cold storage facility with minimum degrees and numbers of days in cold storage depending on the fruit or vegetable being treated. For example, oranges from Costa Rica require 34 degrees for a minimum of 20 days before entry into the U.S. This treatment procedure is aimed at killing fruit flies. So if an imported USDA Organic crop is to undergo Cold Treatment on the U.S. side of the border, it gets to your local grocery store 20 days later than it would have without the treatment. That’s almost 3 weeks, which makes the “Locally Grown” Label we discussed in Part 1 look even better.
What is Hot Treatment?”Hot water dips or heated air can be used for direct control of postharvest insects. In mangoes, an effective treatment is 46.4 C for 65 to 90 minutes, depending on size (Sommer & Arpaia in Kader, 1992). Fruit should not be handled immediately after heat treatment. Whenever heat is used with fresh produce, cool water showers or forced cold air should be provided to help return the fruits to their optimum temperature as soon as possible after completion of the treatment.”(Taken from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Corporate Document Repository)

What is Irradiation? We’ve discussed Irradiation before in our April/FOOD REVOLUTION Part 1  Newsletter. But it’s so important, we need to discuss it again below:

Aren’t we all eager to eat the food that has passed through the RAD SOURCE? 


 

“Food irradiation is the process of exposing foodstuffs to a source of energy capable of stripping electrons from individual atoms in the targeted material (ionizing radiation).”

“The radiation can be emitted by a radioactive substance or generated electrically.” (Definition from Wikipedia)

“This treatment is used to preserve food, reduce the risk of food borne illness, prevent the spread of invasive pests, delay or eliminate sprouting or ripening, increase juice yield and improve re-hydration. It is permitted by over 50 countries, with 500,000 metric tons of foodstuffs annually processed worldwide.” (Definition from Wikipedia)

“Two things are needed for the irradiation process:

  1. a source of radiant energy, and
  2. a way to confine that energy.

For food irradiation, the sources are radioisotopes (radioactive materials) and machines that produce high-energy beams. Specially constructed containers or compartments are used to confine the beams so personnel won’t be exposed.” But it’s fine to eat what went through this machine???

“Since 1986, all irradiated products must carry the international symbol called a radura, which resembles a stylized flower.”


Now that’s interesting because we’re NOT aware of having seen a Radura anywhere or perhaps we have seen them and simply regarded them as a benign new label in the sea of labels. Accompanying the radura are supposed to be these words:

“Treated with irradiation or Treated by irradiation”

“FDA requires that both the logo and statement appear on packaged foods, bulk containers of unpackaged foods, on placards at the point of purchase (for fresh produce), and on invoices for irradiated ingredients and products sold to food processors.” Really?

“Irradiation cannot be used with all foods. It causes undesirable flavor changes in dairy products, for example, and it causes tissue softening in some fruits, such as peaches and nectarines.” Yeah, peaches and nectarines are safe from irradiation! (All quotes in this section taken from a pro irradiation Food Safety Report by Iowa State Extension)

If 500,000 metric tons of irradiated food are in the market worldwide, it seems we’d all be well informed about how to avoid this particular food “treatment” menace by looking for the ubiquitous label. At least irradiated food products are supposed to be labeled unlike the non-labeled GMO’s.

We’re staging a Radura Watch on our Aquaponics USA Facebook page in November. Please join us, photograph your hits and post them on our/your page.

“A major concern is that irradiation might cause chemical changes that are harmful to the consumer. In particular the argument is that there is a lack of long-term studies, and therefore the safety of irradiated food is not scientifically proven in spite of the fact that hundreds of animal feeding studies of irradiated food, including multigenerational studies, have been performed since 1950.” (Quote taken from Wikipedia)

Animal studies aren’t human studies unless one sees us as cattle.
Follow Food Irradiation Watch for continuing information about this kind of treatment of imported food in the U.S.

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Here’s the part where our minds are about to be blown, including your’s truly because we’re about to go
LOOK at the NATIONAL LIST! We’ve talked about the National List. We’ve Linked to the National List; but we haven’t actually examined the National List.
Today is that day.
What is the National List? It’s the List of ALL the allowed and prohibited substances, methods and ingredients in Certified USDA Organic products. Below is the List of the ALLOWED items:
Read it and WEEP!
§205.601  Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol.

(ii) Isopropanol

(2) Chlorine materials-For pre-harvest use, residual chlorine levels in the water in direct crop contact or as water from cleaning irrigation systems applied to soil must not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except that chlorine products may be used in edible sprout production according to EPA label directions.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(3) Copper sulfate-for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(4) Hydrogen peroxide.

(5) Ozone gas-for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

(6) Peracetic acid-for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.

(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #-15630-89-4)-Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.

(1) Herbicides, soap-based-for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.

(2) Mulches.

(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).

(c) As compost feedstocks-Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(d) As animal repellents-Soaps, ammonium-for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.

(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

(1) Ammonium carbonate-for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.

(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)-the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(3) Boric acid-structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.

(4) Copper sulfate-for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(5) Elemental sulfur.

(6) Lime sulfur-including calcium polysulfide.

(7) Oils, horticultural-narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Soaps, insecticidal.

(9) Sticky traps/barriers.

(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s-42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)-in accordance with approved labeling.

(f) As insect management. Pheromones.

(g) As rodenticides. Vitamin D3.

(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045-86-0).

(i) As plant disease control.

(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)-the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(2) Coppers, fixed-copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.

(3) Copper sulfate-Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.

(4) Hydrated lime.

(5) Hydrogen peroxide.

(6) Lime sulfur.

(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Peracetic acid-for use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(i) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(9) Potassium bicarbonate.

(10) Elemental sulfur.

(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014.

(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014.

(j) As plant or soil amendments.

(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)-Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.

(2) Elemental sulfur.

(3) Humic acids-naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.

(4) Lignin sulfonate-chelating agent, dust suppressant.

(5) Magnesium sulfate-allowed with a documented soil deficiency.

(6) Micronutrients-not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.

(i) Soluble boron products.

(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

(7) Liquid fish products-can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.

(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782-99-2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas-for regulation of pineapple flowering.

(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.

(1) Lignin sulfonate.

(2) Sodium silicate-for tree fruit and fiber processing.

(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4-Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) EPA List 3-Inerts of unknown toxicity-for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647-01-0)-for delinting cotton seed for planting.

(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #’s 64742-42-3, 8009-03-08, and 8002-74-2)-for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.

§205.603   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production.

In accordance with restrictions specified in this section the following synthetic substances may be used in organic livestock production:

(a) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol-disinfectant and sanitizer only, prohibited as a feed additive.

(ii) Isopropanol-disinfectant only.

(2) Aspirin-approved for health care use to reduce inflammation.

(3) Atropine (CAS #-51-55-8)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and

(ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 56 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 12 days after administering to dairy animals.

(4) Biologics-Vaccines.

(5) Butorphanol (CAS #-42408-82-2)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and

(ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 42 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 8 days after administering to dairy animals.

(6) Chlorhexidine-Allowed for surgical procedures conducted by a veterinarian. Allowed for use as a teat dip when alternative germicidal agents and/or physical barriers have lost their effectiveness.

(7) Chlorine materials-disinfecting and sanitizing facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(8) Electrolytes-without antibiotics.

(9) Flunixin (CAS #-38677-85-9)-in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required by the FDA.

(10) Furosemide (CAS #-54-31-9)-in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required that required by the FDA.

(11) Glucose.

(12) Glycerine-Allowed as a livestock teat dip, must be produced through the hydrolysis of fats or oils.

(13) Hydrogen peroxide.

(14) Iodine.

(15) Magnesium hydroxide (CAS #-1309-42-8)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.

(16) Magnesium sulfate.

(17) Oxytocin-use in postparturition therapeutic applications.

(18) Parasiticides-Prohibited in slaughter stock, allowed in emergency treatment for dairy and breeder stock when organic system plan-approved preventive management does not prevent infestation. Milk or milk products from a treated animal cannot be labeled as provided for in subpart D of this part for 90 days following treatment. In breeder stock, treatment cannot occur during the last third of gestation if the progeny will be sold as organic and must not be used during the lactation period for breeding stock.

(i) Fenbendazole (CAS #43210-67-9)-only for use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.

(ii) Ivermectin (CAS #70288-86-7).

(iii) Moxidectin (CAS #113507-06-5)-for control of internal parasites only.

(19) Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid (CAS #-79-21-0)-for sanitizing facility and processing equipment.

(20) Phosphoric acid-allowed as an equipment cleaner, Provided, That, no direct contact with organically managed livestock or land occurs.

(21) Poloxalene (CAS #-9003-11-6)-for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires that poloxalene only be used for the emergency treatment of bloat.

(22) Tolazoline (CAS #-59-98-3)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;

(ii) Use only to reverse the effects of sedation and analgesia caused by Xylazine; and

(iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.

(23) Xylazine (CAS #-7361-61-7)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;

(ii) The existence of an emergency; and

(iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.

(b) As topical treatment, external parasiticide or local anesthetic as applicable.

(1) Copper sulfate.

(2) Formic acid (CAS # 64-18-6)-for use as a pesticide solely within honeybee hives.

(3) Iodine.

(4) Lidocaine-as a local anesthetic. Use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.

(5) Lime, hydrated-as an external pest control, not permitted to cauterize physical alterations or deodorize animal wastes.

(6) Mineral oil-for topical use and as a lubricant.

(7) Procaine-as a local anesthetic, use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.

(8) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s-42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)-in accordance with approved labeling.

(c) As feed supplements-None.

(d) As feed additives.

(1) DL-Methionine, DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog, and DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog calcium (CAS #’s 59-51-8, 583-91-5, 4857-44-7, and 922-50-9)-for use only in organic poultry production at the following maximum levels of synthetic methionine per ton of feed: Laying and broiler chickens-2 pounds; turkeys and all other poultry-3 pounds.

(2) Trace minerals, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

(3) Vitamins, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

(e) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4-Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) [Reserved]

(f) Excipients, only for use in the manufacture of drugs used to treat organic livestock when the excipient is: Identified by the FDA as Generally Recognized As Safe; Approved by the FDA as a food additive; or Included in the FDA review and approval of a New Animal Drug Application or New Drug Application.

§205.605   Nonagricultural (nonorganic) substances allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).”

The following nonagricultural substances may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section.

(a) Nonsynthetics allowed:

Acids (Alginic; Citric-produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances; and Lactic).

Agar-agar.

Animal enzymes-(Rennet-animals derived; Catalase-bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).

Attapulgite-as a processing aid in the handling of plant and animal oils.

Bentonite.

Calcium carbonate.

Calcium chloride.

Calcium sulfate-mined.

Carrageenan.

Dairy cultures.

Diatomaceous earth-food filtering aid only.

Egg white lysozyme (CAS # 9001-63-2)

Enzymes-must be derived from edible, nontoxic plants, nonpathogenic fungi, or nonpathogenic bacteria.

Flavors, nonsynthetic sources only and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.

Gellan gum (CAS # 71010-52-1)-high-acyl form only.

Glucono delta-lactone-production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.

Kaolin.

L-Malic acid (CAS # 97-67-6).

Magnesium sulfate, nonsynthetic sources only.

Microorganisms-any food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganism.

Nitrogen-oil-free grades.

Oxygen-oil-free grades.

Perlite-for use only as a filter aid in food processing.

Potassium chloride.

Potassium iodide.

Sodium bicarbonate.

Sodium carbonate.

Tartaric acid-made from grape wine.

Waxes-nonsynthetic (Carnauba wax; and Wood resin).

Yeast-When used as food or a fermentation agent in products labeled as “organic,” yeast must be organic if its end use is for human consumption; nonorganic yeast may be used when organic yeast is not commercially available. Growth on petrochemical substrate and sulfite waste liquor is prohibited. For smoked yeast, nonsynthetic smoke flavoring process must be documented.

(b) Synthetics allowed:

Acidified sodium chlorite-Secondary direct antimicrobial food treatment and indirect food contact surface sanitizing. Acidified with citric acid only.

Activated charcoal (CAS #s 7440-44-0; 64365-11-3)-only from vegetative sources; for use only as a filtering aid.

Alginates.

Ammonium bicarbonate-for use only as a leavening agent.

Ammonium carbonate-for use only as a leavening agent.

Ascorbic acid.

Calcium citrate.

Calcium hydroxide.

Calcium phosphates (monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic).

Carbon dioxide.

Cellulose-for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.

Chlorine materials-disinfecting and sanitizing food contact surfaces, Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Calcium hypochlorite; Chlorine dioxide; and Sodium hypochlorite).

Cyclohexylamine (CAS # 108-91-8)-for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.

Diethylaminoethanol (CAS # 100-37-8)-for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.

Ethylene-allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.

Ferrous sulfate-for iron enrichment or fortification of foods when required by regulation or recommended (independent organization).

Glycerides (mono and di)-for use only in drum drying of food.

Glycerin-produced by hydrolysis of fats and oils.

Hydrogen peroxide.

Magnesium carbonate-for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

Magnesium chloride-derived from sea water.

Magnesium stearate-for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

Nutrient vitamins and minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Quality Guidelines For Foods.

Octadecylamine (CAS # 124-30-1)-for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.

Ozone.

Peracetic acid/Peroxyacetic acid (CAS # 79-21-0)-for use in wash and/or rinse water according to FDA limitations. For use as a sanitizer on food contact surfaces.

Phosphoric acid-cleaning of food-contact surfaces and equipment only.

Potassium acid tartrate.

Potassium carbonate.

Potassium citrate.

Potassium hydroxide-prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches.

Potassium phosphate-for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

Silicon dioxide-Permitted as a defoamer. Allowed for other uses when organic rice hulls are not commercially available.

Sodium acid pyrophosphate (CAS # 7758-16-9)-for use only as a leavening agent.

Sodium citrate.

Sodium hydroxide-prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.

Sodium phosphates-for use only in dairy foods.

Sulfur dioxide-for use only in wine labeled “made with organic grapes,” Provided, That, total sulfite concentration does not exceed 100 ppm.

Tetrasodium pyrophosphate (CAS # 7722-88-5)-for use only in meat analog products.

Tocopherols-derived from vegetable oil when rosemary extracts are not a suitable alternative.

Xanthan gum.

§205.606   Nonorganically produced agricultural products allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic.”

Only the following nonorganically produced agricultural products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic,” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section, and only when the product is not commercially available in organic form.

(a) Casings, from processed intestines.

(b) Celery powder.

(c) Chia (Salvia hispanica L.).

(d) Colors derived from agricultural products-Must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.

(1) Beet juice extract color (pigment CAS #7659-95-2).

(2) Beta-carotene extract color-derived from carrots or algae (pigment CAS# 7235-40-7).

(3) Black currant juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(4) Black/Purple carrot juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(5) Blueberry juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(6) Carrot juice color (pigment CAS #1393-63-1).

(7) Cherry juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(8) Chokeberry-Aronia juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(9) Elderberry juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(10) Grape juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(11) Grape skin extract color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(12) Paprika color (CAS #68917-78-2)-dried, and oil extracted.

(13) Pumpkin juice color (pigment CAS #127-40-2).

(14) Purple potato juice (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(15) Red cabbage extract color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(16) Red radish extract color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(17) Saffron extract color (pigment CAS #1393-63-1).

(18) Turmeric extract color (CAS #458-37-7).

(e) Dillweed oil (CAS # 8006-75-5).

(f) Fish oil (Fatty acid CAS #’s: 10417-94-4, and 25167-62-8)-stabilized with organic ingredients or only with ingredients on the National List, §§205.605 and 205.606.

(g) Fortified cooking wines.

(1) Marsala.

(2) Sherry.

(h) Fructooligosaccharides (CAS # 308066-66-2).

(i) Galangal, frozen.

(j) Gelatin (CAS # 9000-70-8).

(k) Gums-water extracted only (Arabic; Guar; Locust bean; and Carob bean).

(l) Hops (Humulus lupulus) until January 1, 2013.

(m) Inulin-oligofructose enriched (CAS # 9005-80-5).

(n) Kelp-for use only as a thickener and dietary supplement.

(o) Konjac flour (CAS # 37220-17-0).

(p) Lecithin-de-oiled.

(q) Lemongrass-frozen.

(r) Orange pulp, dried.

(s) Orange shellac-unbleached (CAS # 9000-59-3).

(t) Pectin (non-amidated forms only).

(u) Peppers (Chipotle chile).

(v) Seaweed, Pacific kombu.

(w) Starches.

(1) Cornstarch (native).

(2) Rice starch, unmodified (CAS # 977000-08-0)-for use in organic handling until June 21, 2009.

(3) Sweet potato starch-for bean thread production only.

(x) Tragacanth gum (CAS #-9000-65-1).

(y) Turkish bay leaves.

(z) Wakame seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida).

(aa) Whey protein concentrate.

To see the National List for yourself, just click the words. Don’t despair. Anyone can petition to amend the National List. If you’ve found a substance that is of particular concern, just follow the step by step process below and see where it gets you.
§205.607   Amending the National List.

(a) Any person may petition the National Organic Standard Board for the purpose of having a substance evaluated by the Board for recommendation to the Secretary for inclusion on or deletion from the National List in accordance with the Act.

(b) A person petitioning for amendment of the National List should request a copy of the petition procedures from the USDA at the address in §205.607(c).

(c) A petition to amend the National List must be submitted to: Program Manager, USDA/AMS/TMP/NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 4008-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250.

Is it any wonder, we’re saying that “Aquaganic™” fruits and vegetables have a real chance of being accepted by the “power shoppers” once they realize what the USDA Label really is and isn’t? This data was current up to September 17, 2014; but, unfortunately, because the NOSB (National Organic Standards Board) has been co-opted by Big Food, the result of which has been many substances added to this National List with more substances being added, more often, there have, most likely, been several new substances added since the current posted date of September 17th, 2014. The great fear is that GMO’s will be allowed; and that will kill the USDA Certified Organic Label completely.

Don’t miss: 
The Organic Industry in the U.S. Part 3
Coming in November: USDA Organic MEXICO
MEXICO imports USDA Organic produce to the U.S. What are the rules? What is the outcome? 

This is an amazing story. Be sure to read our November Newsletter.

What is The Dirty Dozen Plus?

In spite of all the negative press we’ve been giving USDA Organic Food, it’s still superior to pesticide laden and GMO Food. Here’s an eye opening List from the Environmental Working Group that shares some very disturbing news about some of our favorite fruits and vegetables when it comes to their pesticide residue contents.
The fruits and vegetables that retain the most pesticides are actually on a well-known List called “The Dirty Dozen”; and you’re not going to like what you see.
THE DIRTY DOZEN listed by most pesticide residues:
1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Nectarines (Imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas (Imported)
12. Potatoes
It is highly recommended that you buy Organic or NCO (Non-Certified Organic) when it comes to these twelve fruits and vegetables. In terms of the image above, there are only three fruits and vegetables that are further down on the List. They are carrots at #22, Oranges at #31 and Bananas at #32 out of a total of 51 placements on the List.
To get more information about the dangers of eating pesticide laden food, go to the Environmental Working Group site.
Thank you for following our Second Series about The Organic Industry in the U.S. Please check back for Part 3 of this Series, USDA Organic MEXICO.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World

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It’s not a bug, it’s Basil specific Downy Mildew!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’ve got any Sweet Basil plants that look like this, you’re not dealing with a bug. You’re dealing with a new blight on basil called Downy Mildew. And, unfortunately, we’ve got it.

Downy Mildew isn’t knew in gardens; and it’s been affecting cucumbers, squash and other vegetables for years. That Downy Mildew puts a white powdery cover over the leaves of the infected plant.

This Downy Mildew is a mildew of another ilk. It doesn’t turn the Basil leaves white. It first turns them yellow, then brown and then they are dead; and, unfortunately, it’s a rather new scourge in the U.S. having shown up in Florida in 2007 for the first time. What’s its origin? Uganda, no less where it was first reported in 1933. So it looks like it took 81 years to become endemic around the world. The good news is it did take that long to become a worldwide problem.

“Basil growers may recall with frustration a similar situation years ago with another new disease: Fusarium wilt. In just a few years, as the cause of this wilt was being identified, the pathogen became endemic most likely as the result of marketing of contaminated seed. It also is possible that spread of the basil downy mildew pathogen occurred through marketing of infected, basil leaves that were asymptomatic during shipment. Basil in the US has become the leading culinary herb and is available year round.”(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

And it grows like weeds in aquaponics and hydroponics systems in both horizontal raft growing troughs and vertical growing systems, so identifying Downy Mildew early is important because it can take out an entire crop.

“Basil downy mildew is caused by the pathogen Peronospora belbahrii. This pathogen thrives in warm, humid conditions. It can move into the garden in infected seed or transplants or as airborne spores.”(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

“Plants infected with basil downy mildew first display yellowing of lower leaves. Upon close examination, gardeners will notice that the yellowing appears to occur in sections restricted by major veins. This causes a blocky or angular yellow sections on the leaf.

yellow leaf from downy mildew

If the lower surface of the leaf is examined, dark colored spores can be seen as a dirty looking fuzz that grows directly below the yellow sections of the leaf. A small magnifying glass may be useful in viewing these spores. As the disease progresses, infected sections of the leaf turn dark brown to black and leaves may fall off. “(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

basil leaf back with downy M spores

We just tore an entire Deep Media Bed out of our Greenhouse that had both Sweet Basil and Cinnamon Basil growing in them; and both plants were infected. Sweet Basil is much more susceptible to Downy Mildew but the Spice varieties will also get it.

“The first step in preparing for basil downy mildew is learning the symptoms. Observing spores on the underside of leaves is key to diagnosis.  There are other causes of leaf yellowing in basil. Spores are produced during the dark night period, therefore early morning is the best time to inspect basil for downy mildew. Leaves with yellowing resembling downy mildew but lacking spores can be placed upside down on wet paper towel in a closed plastic bag in dark for a day to encourage the pathogen if present to produce spores.”(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

“Using seed not infested with the basil downy mildew pathogen, selecting a less susceptible variety, and applying fungicides are the primary management practices for downy mildew. Minimizing leaf wetness and reducing humidity to obtain conditions unfavorable for disease development may suppress downy mildew, especially in greenhouses.” (Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

Our mistake (again) was getting in a hurry to put seedlings into our Grow Beds and purchasing them from the Home Depot Garden Dept. instead of planting the seeds ourselves. One other time we did this, we ended up with a massive infestation of aphids in our Greenhouse. Hopefully, this time we learned our lesson.

Farmers need to regularly inspect their crops for signs of this scourge as once it’s gotten a foothold, it’s impossible to eradicate.

Thanks for following our Blog. We still consider ourselves gardening beginners around here and are sharing what we’re learning as we go. Sorry to have to share bad news about a relatively new plant disease like Basil Downy Mildew.

Sustainably,

Aquaponics USA/World Blog

FOOD REVOLUTION Part 4 (Final in this Series)


 

July 2014, Newsletter
#7
Table of Contents
A Note from Our Editor
The Tireless Allied Forces including Organic Consumers Association
Food Democracy Now
Institute for Responsible Technology
Food Tank
Slow Food USA
FARM TO SCHOOL
Natural News
We Added Him to our Revolutionaries List, Mr. Michael Potter
Another Revolutionary, Aaron Woolf
Our Last Revolutionary, Anthony Gucciardi
Monsanto has the US Government Wrapped
The (Almost) Monsanto Protection Act
Where Does Aquaponics Fit?

Our Editor, Grace Sylke 
Our Grace created the
“MONSANTO, We’ve Got You Covered”Slam Sign you’ll see in this Newsletter. Please feel free to spread it around. You can Pin It, Facebook it, Twitter it. Make one of your own. The more Slam Signs the Better.
This is the last Newsletter of the Four Month Series called FOOD REVOLUTION. It contains Links to all of them. Together, they are quite a story. ThankYou for following them.
Quick Links:

It isn’t USDA, it’s Aquaganic!
The infamous “NationalList”

The FOOD REVOLUTION
Final Part 4:
More Allies
More About #1 Adversary, Monsanto
More Revolutionaries
Where Aquaponics Fits In
See Our April Newsletter for Part 1: History
See Our May Newsletter for Part 2: What is it? Why is it? Who Are The Revolutionaries?
See Our June Newsletter for Part 3: The Battlegrounds, The Adversaries, The Allies
 
 
Dear Subscriber:
This is a Revolution you’re participating in whether you know it or not. Some of us are participating in it consciously and some of us are unconscious participants. Every time you purchase a food item, you’ve helped the Revolutionaries or you’ve helped the Adversaries. 
These Newsletters are about becoming more conscious. We’ve gotten more conscious just writing them. Yes, it takes time and effort to make sure you’re on the side of the Revolutionaries; but this War maybe the most important War we’ve ever engaged in on planet Earth because it’s a War for the very existence of pure, healthy, wholesome NATURAL food not food created by the Biotechs who actually think they can engineer food better than Mother Nature.
Please make a commitment to join the FOOD REVOLUTION and bring back our right to eat real food.
 

Who Are The Tireless Allied Forces?
 
These are the Organizations in the trenches. They are actively engaged in the fight. Some are broadly focused. Others are more narrowly focused; but they are all fighting for our right to eat real food. They are often grassroots organizations and sometimes one-man bands. They’re fighting with education, scientific research and community organization tactics. 
 
Find out about them. Join their causes. Support them. They are our Warriors in the fight backing up the Revolutionaries on the Food Battlefield, which is the entire planet Earth.
 
We’ve only listed 7 of these Organizations; but there are many more. Do your homework. Find the others and join them. This is how YOU can get involved. 
 
 

Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. They are one of the only organizations in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.
This organization works in several arena’s including the movement demanding labeling of GMO’s. It was formed in 1998 in the wake of the mass backlash by organic consumers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s controversial proposed national regulations for organic food. (More on that later).
The OCA represents over 850,000 members, subscribers and volunteers, including several thousand businesses in the natural foods and organic marketplace.
(Taken from their “About” Page)

“Food Democracy Now! is a grassroots community dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects our natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families.

“Our food system is fundamentally broken. A few companies dominate the market, prioritizing profits over people and our planet. Government policies put the interests of corporate agribusiness over the livelihoods of farm families. Farm workers toil in unsafe conditions for minimal wages. School children lack access to healthy foods–as do millions of Americans living in poverty. From rising childhood and adult obesity to issues of food safety, air and water pollution, worker’s rights and global warming, our current food system is leading our nation to an unsustainable future.”

Food Democracy Now, lead by Dave Murphy and Lisa Stokke is an over “650,000 strong organization of American Farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming policies relating to food, agriculture and the environment. Murphy has been called ‘the most crucial and politically savvy actor in the on-going efforts to help move American agriculture into the 21st century’ as a result of his ‘Sustainable Dozen’ campaign, which resulted in four candidates being placed in high level positions at the USDA and his efforts to reform food and agriculture under the Obama administration.”
(Taken verbatim from their “About” Page with minor changes)

#3. IRT

Their “About” Page says the following: The Institute for Responsible Technology is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about genetically modified (GM) foods and crops. They investigate and report their risks and impact on health, environment, the economy, and agriculture, as well as the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting.

Founded in 2003 by international bestselling author and GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, IRT has worked in nearly 40 countries on 6 continents, and is credited with improving government policies and influencing consumer-buying habits.

IRT’s work comes from a dedicated team of subject experts, consultants and staff who generously donate their time and experience. In addition, IRT employs media experts, social network campaigners, writers, graphic designers, communications specialists, fundraisers, outreach professionals and support staff, who operate both at our headquarters in Iowa, and from virtual offices in the US.

IRT’s Campaign for Healthier Eating in America mobilizes citizens, organizations, businesses, healthcare professionals, and the media, to achieve the tipping point of consumer rejection of GM foods.

(Taken verbatim from their “About” Page with minor changes)

Danielle Nierenberg is the President of Food Tank, a Food Think Tank focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. They spotlight environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.

Food Tank is for the 7 billion people who have to eat every day. They offer solutions and environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty by creating a network of connections and information for all of us to consume and share. Food Tank is for farmers and producers, policy makers and government leaders, researchers and scientists, academics and journalists, and the funding and donor communities to collaborate on providing sustainable solutions for our most pressing environmental and social problems.

Food Tank highlights hope and success in agriculture. They feature innovative ideas that are already working on the ground, in cities, in kitchens, in fields and in laboratories. These innovations need more attention, more research, and ultimately more funding to be replicated and scaled-up. And that is where they need you. We all need to work together to find solutions that nourish ourselves and protect the planet.

(Taken verbatim from their “About” Page with minor changes)

Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network of over 150,000 members in more than 150 countries. Through a vast volunteer network of local chapters, youth and food communities, they link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect the community, culture, knowledge and environment that make this pleasure possible.

Their mission as an international grassroots membership organization is good, clean and fair food for all.

They believe food should be tasty, seasonal, local, fresh and wholesome; and that  our food should nourish a healthful lifestyle and be produced in ways that preserve biodiversity, sustain the environment and ensure animal welfare – without harming human health. They also believe that our food should be affordable by all, while respecting the dignity of labor from field to fork.

Slow Food USA has 170 local chapters and 40 campus chapters that coordinate local activities, projects and events. Working together with members and supporters across the nation, they preserve and share local foods and food cultures. They defend and advocate policies that promote holistic alternatives to the industrial system. Through tastings, workshops and social opportunities, they explore and celebrate the Slow life.

Conviviality is central to their mission. They are a global community, connecting people to the land and to each other through local projects, educational events, and shared meals. They become catalysts for change by sharing the joy of Slow Food and prioritizing wholesome living over convenience.

(Taken verbatim from their “About” Page with minor changes)

Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools.

Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips.

Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.

Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following:

  • Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test;
  • Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition; and
  • School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.

(Taken verbatim from their “About” Page with minor changes)

Natural News is a science-based natural health advocacy organization led by activist-turned-scientist, Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

The key mission of Natural News is to empower consumers with factual information about the synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, hormone disruptors and other chemicals found in foods, medicines, personal care products, children’s toys and other items.

Natural News covers holistic health, nutritional therapies, consciousness and spirituality, permaculture, organics, animal rights, environmental health, food and superfoods, and performance nutrition.

The site strongly criticizes drugs-and-surgery medicine, vaccines, corporate corruption, animal testing, the use of humans for medical experiments, the chemical contamination of foods, heavy metals in consumer products, factory farming and government corruption.

Natural News also warns its readers about science gone bad and frequently cites examples of science resulting in catastrophies that it calls “crimes” against humanity. Examples of such subjects cited by Natural News include:

  • Agent Orange
  • Thalidomide
  • Nuclear weapons
  • GMOs and “genetic pollution”
  • Aspartame and chemical sweeteners
  • Chemotherapy
  • The presence of hidden cancer viruses in polio vaccines
  • The continued use of mercury in vaccines and dental amalgams
  • The long history of pharmaceutical experiments on human beings, including the Tuskegee syphilis experiments conducted on African Americans in the USA.
  • (Taken verbatim from their “About” Page with minor changes)

We Had To Add Him To Our REVOLUTIONARIES LIST!
To see the others on that List, click on our May Newsletter above.

Meet one of our Heros, Michael J. Potter, owner of Eden Foods; and he couldn’t have a better suited last name because he’s the good guy fighting some real dark forces in this battle for Real Food.
He isn’t in the trenches. He goes right into the middle of the NOSB Boardroom, which is the National Organic Standards Board where what is determined to be USDA Organic and what is not is decided.
Sadly, what most of us don’t know is that the NOSB has been co-opted by the Big Food Companies like Coca Cola, Kellogg, Cargill Chemical and General Mills as these companies have bought up most of the nation’s once family owned organic food companies, kept their labels and now parade them out into the marketplace as the original thing. If you want to know more about this deception, go to our June Food Revolution Newsletter above.
Because BIG FOOD has become BIG ORGANIC, they populate the NOSB and make the decisions about what new additives can be labeled Organic. So in late May of 2012, Mr. Potter went to the NOSB Meeting where some important decisions about additives were taking place; and he voiced his objection to adding “Carrageenan” to what is called the “National List”. This infamous List is the list of all the non-organic ingredients that have been allowed in foods that are labeled USDA Organic; and as these Big Food companies started stacking the Board, the list of nonorganic materials approved for organic foods increased from 77 items in 2002 to 250 nonorganic substances in 2012. Take a look at this ungodly “National List” for yourself and don’t blink because it’s growing right before our eyes.
After Mr. Potter, our Hero, voiced his concern that Carrageenan has been linked to malignancies and other stomach problems, using research conducted by Dr. Tobacman, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, he was thanked for his input; and the NOSB Board then voted to keep Carrageenan on the National List. Here’s what Mr. Potter had to say about that:

“‘The board is stacked,’ Mr. Potter says. ‘Either they don’t have a clue, or their interest in making money is more important than their interest in maintaining the integrity of organics.’

Which either/or do you think it is?

“He calls the certified-organic label a fraud and refuses to put it on Eden’s products.” Quote taken from article in The New York Times, July 7, 2012 entitled “Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized?

Over here at Aquaponics World we’ve also turned our backs on the co-opted USDA Organic Certification Label and created our own Certification. We call it “Aquaganic”. You can read all about it on our Aquaponics World website, Aquaganic Page.
Sorry to have popped any idealistic bubbles around heads that thought USDA Organic Certification meant the food you’re buying has no unhealthy additives. If you want to make sure you’re getting real food, buy Mr. Potter’s Eden Foods. They don’t carry that misleading label.

Another REVOLUTIONARY, 
Aaron Woolf

Aaron Woolf is the producer/director of the hit documentary, King Corn.

Other work has appeared on the Sundance and Discovery Channels and on numerous networks abroad including France’s ARTE, Italy’s RAI and Australia’s SBS. His films have won Rockie, Logie, and Peabody Awards.

Woolf graduated from Middlebury College and earned a masters in film at the University of Iowa.  In the mid-1990s, Woolf turned to non-fiction storytelling, and trained his lens on individual stories that he felt touched on global trends.

Woolf’s film, King Corn, followed Ian Cheney and his best friend, Curt Ellis, on a yearlong odyssey to understand where their food comes from… by growing it. In what The Washington Post calls “Required viewing for anyone planning to visit a supermarket, fast-food joint, or their own refrigerator,” the city-slickers learn to drive a combine, cash in on government subsidies, and homebrew high-fructose corn syrup. The film’s Peabody-winning findings, shared with theatergoers in 60 cities and in a PBS national broadcast, change the way audiences eat.

Watch the Trailer. It’s a Real Eye Opener. And remember about 85% of the Corn grown in the US is Genetically Modified. EGAD!

King Corn
King Corn

Our last REVOLUTIONARY, 
Anthony Gucciardi, founder of 
Natural Society

Anthony Gucciardi became a natural health advocate after coming down with late-stage Lyme Disease and having traditional remedies that included the injections of powerful steroids lead to a rapid deterioration of his health.
Anthony created his own lifestyle regimen and overcame not only the Lyme Disease but the physical challenges left from the prolonged use of steroidal drugs. After a short period of enhanced nutrition and the alteration of other lifestyle factors, Anthony had alleviated himself of virtually all pain and symptoms from which he had been suffering. It was at this point he crafted the concept that, even beyond health, it’s always essential to seek information for yourself and produce your own research.

To help people follow this advice, he along with his partner, Mike Barrett, created Natural Society, which is now the third or fourth (depending on which stats you examine) largest natural health website in the world with millions of viewers per month. Many of their posts are food focused.

More Bad News About The Biggest Adversary To Real Food On The Planet, MONSANTO!

Josh Sager published an incisive article one month before the November 2012 US Presidential Elections that carefully documents how Monsanto has cornered and co-opted the US political system. The title of the article was “Monsanto Controls both the White House and the US Congress”.
Read it and weep. Or read our quoted synopsis below and then weep.
In essence, the article points out that no matter who is elected, Monsanto will be worshipped and Americans will continue to be the Guinea Pigs for these mad Biotechs. Case in point, “throughout his first term, President Obama has presided over the passage of several Monsanto-friendly legislative initiatives and has appointed numerous people associated with Monsanto to high-level positions.”
“By giving several billion dollars to agro-businesses, one of which is Monsanto, the ‘Southern Africa FY 2010 Implementation Plan’ promoted the expansion of these businesses into the provision of food for Africa. This expansion is aimed at increasing food supplies in Africa, but it will have the unintended consequence of promoting Monsanto’s takeover of the African food markets. Put plainly, Monsanto will crowd local African farmers out of the market and will make a profit that would be more beneficial in the hands of local African farmers and in the local African economy.
“On the issue of GMO labeling, Obama is rhetorically supportive of mandating GMO products to be labeled, but his administration has been largely silent on the issue. During the creation of the 2012 Farm Bill, there was a fight over mandating that genetically modified foods be labeled. Despite Obama’s supposed support for such labeling, his administration was essentially silent on the issue during this fight and, as a result, no mandate was passed; and 2014 brings more corruption and collusion between the Senate, the President and Monsanto. (See next Article).
“In totality, legislation passed under the Obama administration has been beneficial to large agro-businesses, one of which is Monsanto. Very little has been done to increase regulation on GMO producers and several laws have been passed that directly benefit such corporations.
“Due to the vested interest that Monsanto has in controlling regulation that affects its business, it has both donated to politicians and promoted the appointment of people who work for them to positions within the American government. As of yet, Monsanto has been successful in keeping its regulatory burdens low and getting its representatives into positions within the US government. The infiltration of regulatory agencies by corporate actors that is referred to here is called the “regulatory revolving door”. Individuals who work for industry go to work for the government, make public regulations, and then return to the private sector after leaving the public service.

“While there are numerous points of overlap between Monsanto and the United States Government under the Obama administration, the three most important connections are that of Michael Taylor, Roger Beachy, and Islam Siddiqui. All three of these Monsanto affiliates were appointed to high level positions within the government by the Obama administration.

“During his first term, President Obama appointed two Justices, one of whom was Elena Kagan, the former
Solicitor General of the United States. During her time as the Solicitor General, Kagan filed a brief in support of Monsanto.”
Unfortunately, things would NOT have been different if Romney had won the 2012 election. “In 1977, Bain Capital-the company that Romney ran, and in which he made most of his money-was starting out as a corporate consulting firm; Monsanto was among the first major clients of Bain. The multi-million dollar relationship between Bain Capital and Monsanto lasted from 1977 to 1985 and had significant effects on both corporations. Bain Capital, and its officers, made large amounts of money through its relationship with Monsanto and gained a significant client with which to base its consulting practice upon. Monsanto was given business advice by Bain and the corporation’s recent successes in GMO produce are traceable back to the suggestions that Romney made to Monsanto administrators.” (This is one long quote taken from the above designated article by Josh Sager and reprinted in the Global Research website, on May 24, 2014)
It’s obvious our Government is NOT going to aide us in this FOOD REVOLUTION. In fact, our Government is on the side of the Genetic Engineers and against the people.

If you thought the news above was bad, wait until you hear about what almost happened called The MONSANTO  
PROTECTION ACT. Actually, it did happen; but only for a brief moment in time.

Also from the Global Research News website, May 25, 2013 (we’re beginning to like Global Research News) an article entitled “Monsanto Protection Act Signed By Obama, GMO Bill ‘Written By Monsanto’ Signed Into Law“. It’s another Read it and weep moment that makes it clear our Government has got Monsanto covered while Monsanto makes sure the people of America are Covered.
Here’s the essence of what the Monsanto Protection Act tried to do but failed when Senators, Barbara Mikulski and Jeff Merkley successfully led a charge to get it off the books in September of 2013 only a few months after it passed.
But for a few short months this is what Congress passed (some unknowingly because it was hidden in the Spending Bill, HR 933) and this is what the President signed.

“The Monsanto Protection Act, essentially both written by and benefiting Monsanto Corporation, was signed into law by United States President Barack Obama. The infamous Monsanto Corporation would have benefited greatly and directly from the bill, as it essentially gives companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds immunity to the federal courts, among other things.

“The bill stated that even if future research shows that GMOs or GE seeds cause significant health problems, cancer, etc, anything, that the federal courts no longer have any power to stop their spread, use, or sales.”

Are YOU KIDDING ME!

“The bill was apparently written by freshman Sen. Roy Blunt, in collusion with Monsanto, with them helping to craft the exact language of the document.” Sen. Roy Blunt, of  Missouri where Monsanto is headquartered, again a last name that fits the deed because this Bill was killing our Constitutional rights to justice with a Blunt Instrument, is a Republican. And, of course, “The Center for Responsive Politics notes that Sen. Blunt received $64,250 from non other than Monsanto to go towards his campaign committee between 2008 and 2012. The Money Monocle website adds that Blunt has been the largest Republican Party recipient of Monsanto funding as of late.”

Kudos to Senators Mikulski and Merkley who along with hundreds of thousands of Petitions and Marches with thousands of participants from the Real Food Allied Organizations like the ones listed above, were able to kill the Monsanto Protection Act. The FOOD REVOLUTIONARIES won that battle; but the War wages on.
However, there’s more good news because now we know exactly what Monsanto wants. They want immunity. Isn’t that interesting. If they really believe their Franken Food is good for us, why would they need immunity?

So Where Does Aquaponics Fit Into The FOOD REVOLUTION?

This is a picture of what’s growing in our Aquaponics USA/AquaponicsWorld Food Forever™ Farm Greenhouse right now. Actually, all the green sucker leaves at the top have been trimmed off since this picture was taken. That’s one of the secrets of growing tomatoes. You have to keep them trimmed.
Not one petro-chemical, not one pesticide and not one trace of Genetically Modified Organisms are involved in growing these tomatoes or any of the leafy greens in our Vertical Duffy Duct Systems that take up most of this Greenhouse.
There’s talk about the iPhone that goes something like this: Steve Jobs brought an item into the marketplace that no one knew they wanted until it arrived.
Aquaponics food growing technology is kind of like that. Millions of people still don’t know it exists and have never heard the word, “Aquaponics” before. But as soon as they are introduced to it, they want it. They want it because Aquaponics is capable of producing the most wholesome, healthy, natural food on the market today without using harsh petro-chemicals, pesticides and GMO technology.  And it’s about to take the marketplace by storm. It’s a key player in the FOOD REVOLUTION.
If we can eat locally grown food that is fertilized naturally from the dissolved solids of living fish, why would we want to eat food that’s been irradiated, or sprayed with pesticides and petro-chemicals and labeled USDA Organic while it’s full of additives from the infamous “National List” that has been co-opted by the Big Food Companies?
The truth is WE WOULDN’T. And WE WON’T. Aquaponically grown food is a NEW CHOICE, A BETTER CHOICE and once we educate the public about that new choice and get enough Aquaponic Products out there, the FOOD REVOLUTION will be won by the good guys because there is no contest. Aquaponics is our ace in the hole. It’s the antithesis to GMO’s; and it won’t be long before it kicks Monsanto and friends right out of the marketplace.
Help us win this FOOD REVOLUTION. Spread the word about Aquaponics, purchase Aquaponic Products whenever you can, request them at your favorite Food Store. The future is ours. WE’VE GOT THIS!
Thank You from the bottom of our hearts for following our Newsletters and our Blog. We’re guessing by now you get that we’re on a mission.
This 4-Part Series on the FOOD REVOLUTION has gone way beyond our original concept. This Final Newsletter contains All 4 Parts if you missed one as they all work together to make a complete story. Just go back to the top or click on our Quick Links Section.
Now, we’re going back to working like crazy to get our Aquaponically grown Products into the marketplace; and you’ll be the first to know when they arrive. Ironically, it’s looking like Missouri will be that place; and it’s ironic because that’s right where Monsanto is Headquartered. Life works in strange ways. We’ll tell you more about that project in the August Newsletter and Blog Post.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/Aquaponics World

 

Our Aquaponics USA Fish and Veggie Road Show!


Our Fish & Veggie Road ShowWe just did our first Fish & Veggie Road Show and what an experience that was. Getting our act together to go on the road was a way bigger job than we ever imagined it would be; but the result was impressive. We think we may be the first and only Aquaponics business that is doing shows and now we know why. It’s a lot of hard work. As a multi-media artist, I (Grace) did Arts & Craft Shows for many years selling a hand-crafted jewelry line, photography and even a line of resort wear. So I know what it’s like doing road shows; but I’ve never done a road show that was this challenging. Our set up took us one full day and a night; and our tear down took a full eight hours. EGAD! And “Yes”, we need to make it easier. But the experience was great. We introduced Aquaponics USA’s Food Forever™ Growing Systems to lots of amazed and curious Californians. Below are three photos of the 3 vehicles it took to get our set up to the Los Angeles Design Center. If we keep doing Shows, we’re going to need a big Truck because packing and unpacking these three vehicles was very time consuming.

It’s amazing how many people in California still haven’t even heard the word, Aquaponics; but our aim is to change that; and we started changing that this past weekend, October 12-14, 2012, at the first annual KNOWPHEST in Los Angeles. The KNOWPHEST was billed as the place to go to learn what you didn’t know you didn’t know; and Aquaponics USA fit perfectly into that unusual theme because most of the people who saw our Exhibit had never even heard the word, “Aquaponics”, before they entered our space. The KNOWPHEST featured an eclectic group of Exhibitors and Lecturers including the famous artist couple Alex Grey and Allyson Grey. Alex showed his mural-sized original works from the famed Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. These paintings were awe inspiring as I had only seen them in photos. You may recognize the image below entitled “Praying” as it has been featured in lots of venues.

And we prayed a lot as we traveled up the Interstate 10 to Los Angeles from the High Desert above Palm Springs. Mostly we were praying that our live fish and plants would make the trip and stay that way, alive, as this was our first experience of moving fish and plants in vehicles.

Among the various Exhibitors at the KNOWPHEST who were selling everything from  jewelry to portable saunas, Aquaponics USA was a real phenomenon; and we were thanked and congratulated over and over for being there and introducing the people of Los Angeles to the concept of sustainable food growing systems that can be set up in a backyard, garage, basement or school room. And, of course the stars of our Show were the fish. Below is a photo of our baby Tilapia happily swimming around in their fish tank that is part of our new Plug In & Grow Indoor System, the FFGS-C5. In the second photo below, you see a complete shot of this Compact Indoor Food Forever™ Growing System that comes with a Grow Light, Grow Bed, Fish Tank with heater and miniature automatic fish feeder. The third photo in this series is our Modular FFGS-20  Food Forever™ Growing System that housed our adult Tilapia.

It’s one thing to preach to the choir, which is the same as staying home and waiting for people to become aware of the importance of Aquaponics in whatever way that happens and then Googling the word and discovering us on Page 1. It’s an entirely different thing to go out to Shows and awaken people to the existence of Aquaponics and then educate them on the spot about how important it is to their food security and health. That’s what’s happening in these Shows; and that’s what makes it so exciting. So many people expressed their gratitude about being awakened to this life and environment sustaining way to grow food. They were really excited to discover Aquaponics and we were excited to have an Exhibit that could serve in this way. It was such a win/win experience that it made all the hard work worth while. Below are a series of shots of our Exhibit at the KNOWPHEST starting with our “Welcome” Sign. The second photo is of our new Certification Trademark. We’re creating a way to Certify vegetables and fish that are grown aquaponically; and we’re calling it “Aquaganic”.

We even had a Literature Table with five informative double-sided flyers besides our Brochure. One of the flyers entitled “Why Aquaponics? Why Now? has a full back page explanation of what Aquaponics is and why it’s so important in the 21st Century. On the small table behind the literature table is our flat-screen TV where we continuously ran DVD’s of our YouTube Videos.

This Show wanted to attract the Los Angeles Night Scene so we were open quite late at night . Here is a shot of our Exhibit at night.

We had to make a 2 1/2 hour drive to get to the KNOWPHEST (while keeping our fish well aerated using an inverter and in-tank aerators), which were in the back of the Honda Pilot.

Before going on to our next Show, we want to extend a special “Thank You” to Caleb Bartlett and Allen Sovory II, promoters of the KNOWPHEST, for inviting and encouraging us to do this Show. Without your encouragement and the KNOWPHEST venue, we never would have put this Exhibit together and discovered how fun and exciting it is to be the clarion callers for Aquaponics USA out there on the streets and in the Convention Halls of America. Thank You, guys, for putting on a great Show and being so accommodating and helpful.

Our next adventure to Mesa, AZ will be a little more challenging as we’ll be traveling for over six hours while keeping our fish and our plants alive. This Show is happening at the Mesa, AZ Convention Center on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 & 27. It’s called the Self Reliance Expo and is a first year Show in that location and one of a series being promoted under this title in various locations across the Nation. If you’re in Arizona, tell your friends to come out and see a phenomenon whose time has come–an Aquaponics USA Road Show.

See you at the Self Reliance Expo in Mesa, AZ and thank you for following our blog and visiting our virtual first Road Show. We’re so pleased to be able to share this adventure with you.

Aquaponics USA “Chef’s Special Living Lettuce” FOR SALE!


In our last post, we showed you all the lettuce we were growing in our Greenhouse. Here’s another view of how much lettuce we’re talking about.Grace with Cooler Full of Chef's Special Living Romaine Lettuce

Grace is holding up a Cooler full of lettuce; and this is the first Cooler full. So far we’ve delivered two of these Coolers full of lettuce all packaged up real fancy to none other than the best Health Food Store in the high desert. That’s right–Sue’s Health Food Store. Sue’s Health Foods has been selling healthy food since 1984 and is dedicated to their customer’s good health while offering service with heart. They’ve just started a facebook page where they’ll be posting all kinds of fun and exciting adventures around health.Sue's Health Foods Store Front

If you’re lucky enough to live in the high desert above Palm Springs in Morongo, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree or 29 Palms go on over to Sue’s Health Foods Store and pick up a head of delicious Living Counter Romaine, Butter Lettuce or Red Romaine. They’re in her Cooler next to the Bunny Love Organic Carrots.Chef's Special Living Romaine Lettuce in Sue's Cooler

As far as we know, Aquaponics USA is the only company offering Living Red Romaine Lettuce and Counter Romaine Lettuce. There’s even one head of Living Red Oak Lettuce in that cooler for all you Red Oak Lettuce lovers. There are several companies offering Living Butter Lettuce. Our Living Butter Lettuce is so beautiful it could be a Bridal Bouquet in a Greenie June Wedding. So what’s “Living Lettuce”? Living Lettuce is lettuce that is still attached to the roots, which means it’s about as fresh as it gets.

When we introduced Sue to the concept of Aquaponics, she was really taken by it. Seems Aquaponics affects people that way. They either get it or they don’t. When they get it, it makes a real impression. There are a lot of people “getting” Aquaponics these days. Once Sue tasted our Lettuce, the deal was sealed. Even bolting lettuce grown aquaponically (we call it “Aquaganic™”) still tastes good. But because she practices what she preaches and is really concerned with her customer’s health, she made a site visit to check out our growing environment and, of course, see the live fish that make it all possible.

Below is a picture of Sue standing behind the Grow Bed we featured in our last post, the one full of Red Romaine Lettuce. This is the lettuce you saw in the Cooler above and the lettuce we packaged up to send to her Health Foods Store.Sue of Sue's Health Foods Store behind Grow Bed #4 verticle

Now, you’ll recognize her when you see her in the store, which is often so say “Hi” and tell her how photogenic she is. And remember to hurry down to her store to pick up your head of Aquaponics USA Chef’s Special Living Lettuce.Chef's Special Living Lettuce Bouquet

Because we’re not high volume growers (far from it), our brand will not always be available at Sue’s Health Food Store, so get it while you can. You can’t miss our patriotic packaging and our Logo with the Chef and Live Tilapia on it.  Tell them we sent you.

See you at Sue’s Health Foods Store.

What’s Happening in the Aquaponics USA Greenhouse


It’s been a while since we’ve shared pictures and stories of what’s happening in our Greenhouse; and right about now, things are really starting to pop.  The picture below shows Grow Bed #4 full of Red Romaine Lettuce. In the background, you can see some basil drying and a blurred image of our packaging Logo.Red Romaine in Grow Bed #4 Greenhouse

Below are close ups of a couple of those heads of beautiful Red Romaine. They are really delicious and ready to harvest. They are sitting next to our Automatic Fish Feeders that feed our Tilapia four times a day.

Besides Red Romaine, we’re also growing another kind of Romaine Lettuce called Counter Romaine. It’s pictured in the photo below. Counter Romaine has been adapted especially for Greenhouse growing and is heat tolerant. Since we’re in the desert, we can always use heat tolerant veggies, so we thought we’d try it. It’s doing really well and tastes delicious. Even the stems are sweet. On the left side of the photo is some Butter Lettuce mixed in with the Counter Romaine. Our Butter Lettuce is also doing really well and growing like weeds in our Food Forever™ Growing Systems.Butter Lettuce, Counter Romain and Corn in Grow Bed #5 Greenhouse

Besides Lettuce, we’re also growing some corn; and you can see it in the back of Grow Bed #5 in the above picture. We didn’t intend to grow corn in our Greenhouse as we felt it would be too tall. But while we were waiting for our protective screening to be put around our outdoor garden, which is next to our Greenhouse, we temporarily placed the corn seedlings into this Grow Bed so they would survive. They’ve survived alright and are now growing up to the roof. I’ll show you more pictures of the corn in a future post. We’re curious as to how well it will do; and will probably just leave it in the Grow Bed even though our protective screening is almost up.

If you’re familiar with the high desert, you know there are a lot of critters here, which add to the charm of our magical desert world. When we first moved here (and before we were adopted by two feral cats), we befriended and fed the wild ones. The picture below is one of many that we’ve taken of the wild ones including grey squirrels, antelope squirrels and cotton tails. Lunch date Bunny and Squirrel

But once we got the cats and then started gardening, the wild ones became a bit of a nuisance, especially the grey squirrels. They pretty much destroyed our outdoor garden last year. Hence the new protective fence.

In Grow Bed #2 below, we have that famous group of Pepper Plants that just keep putting out Peppers season after season. They have pretty much over taken that Grow Bed.Peppers in Bed #2 Greenhouse

Except, as you can see below, some Basil managed to squeeze it’s way into that bed this spring.Basil in Bed #2 Greenhouse

Last season’s eggplant came back to life and is putting out lovely fruit. Speaking of Eggplant, I think I’ll make Eggplant Parmesan tonight.Egg Plant, Basil and Peppers in Bed #2 Greenhouse

In that case, I need to wind up this post and get picking and cooking. Thanks for visiting. We really appreciate your support. My next post is going to tell you where you can go to purchase our delicious aquaponically grown Lettuce that we call “Aquaganic™”. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the little high desert towns above Palm Springs, CA. you’ll recognize this store right away. We can only supply one store, so we chose the best. Bet you can’t guess which one it is?

Until then, Get Growing!

It’s a Complete Indoor System ready to PLUG-IN & GROW!


PLUG-IN & GROW Indoor Mini Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing SystemWe’re so excited about this newly designed Mini Indoor Plug-In & Grow Food Forever™ Aquaponics System, the FFGS-M5, that we can’t wait to announce it even though we’re not quite ready to sell it yet. What are we waiting for? We want to do a test run on it and actually see beautiful heads of butter lettuce and other leafy greens growing in it before we put it on the market even though we know this new system is going to work like a charm because we’ve already tested the Fluorescent Grow Light we’re using.FFGS-M5 fluorescent Here’s a picture of that T5 Fluorescent growing out lettuce in our Growroom.T5 Fluorescent Growing Lettuce in our Growroom

Of course, we’ve already tested our syphon; but our standard syphon in this new system acts like a Rapid Cycle Syphon which means it siphons about every 7 minutes instead of every 15 minutes. A Rapid-Cycle Grow Bed allows for a greater amount of dissolved oxygen to be present in the grow bed without the need of extra aerators and air pumps. This added dissolved oxygen helps with processing and conversion that creates plant nutrients. Here’s a picture of the DO (Dissolved Oxygen) count in this new Mini System’s Fish Tank.DO Meter Reading the level of Dissolved Oxygen in the Mini FFGS-M5 Fish Tank

We’ve also created a whole new growing system we are calling the Hydro-Foam Hybrid Growing System; and you’re seeing it here for the first time the day after it debuted on our website last night.FFGS-M5 Hydrofoam No one else is using this ultra efficient way to grow leafy greens. Hydro-Foam marries a Hydroton flood and drain system with a Raft system in the same Grow Bed. Traditional Raft Systems float polystyrene on top of a continuously flooded grow bed, often with plants in net pots placed in the raft. A traditional Hydroton deep media grow bed runs a flood and drain cycle through the media in which the plants are planted. The Hydro-Foam Hybrid floats a polystyrene board designed with optimally spaced holes and filled with net pots on top of the Hydroton, which is at precisely the right height to insure the water wets the roots of your plants. Hydro-Foam reduces evaporation of the water in the bed; and once your plants start growing leaves, the Hydro-Foam protects them from exposure to wicked up water that causes bottom leaves to become moldy. Here is a picture of a Hydro-Foam Hybrid Grow Bed growing lettuce in our Growroom Lab right now. We are using LED’s now in our Growroom Lab, which is why the color of the leaves appears to be purple. Hydro-Foam Hybrid Growing System growing LettuceAbsolutely everything is included in this PLUG-IN & GROW Mini Food Forever™ Aquaponics System. The Deep-Media, EZ Reach, Rapid Cycle Hybrid Grow Bed features over 5 sq. ft. of growing area and comes with it’s EZ-Clean Bell Syphon, a highly efficient Water-Delivery System, a Hydro-Foam Hybrid Growing System with Hydroton and all Bulkhead Fittings and Valves. The 30 Gallon Rectangular Translucent Covered Fish Tank is made of food grade polyethylene and is 22″ deep. It comes with pre-installed Bulkheads, a Submersible Pump and Plumbing, an Air Pump and Aerator, a Jet Back Aeration Sprayer, a digitally controlled 200 watt Heater and a Fluorescent Fish Tank Light. The included T5 Fluorescent Grow Light comes with a a Timer that can also run your Fluorescent Fish Tank Light. The Grow Bed sits above the Fish Tank and both sit on a reinforced multi-level Stand with a handy top self. The Accessories Kit that is also included has an API Fresh Water Test Kit, Starter Bacteria, Water Cleaning Solution, a Fish Net, 90 Days of Tech Support and an Assembly and System Start-up Manual.

We’ve added a Light Reflecting Shroud to the top of the system to keep the important growing light in while keeping it out of your eyes. This is a Complete Indoor Mini System, which has been designed for the interior of a home or schoolroom. The black and white neutral colors of the FFGS-M5 have been chosen to blend with other home appliances like stoves and refrigerators. To make the FFGS-M5 even more home decor friendly, we are even offering 13 different custom colors and designs for the trim around the Light Reflecting Shroud. You are seeing one of those 13 pattern and color choices below. This one is #1.FFGS-M5 Shroud Trim

If you’ve been thinking about trying Aquaponics; this is the perfect starter system with which to do it. There is absolutely no guesswork involved. When we make our Buy Button live on our website page, this system will be fully tested and ready to go to work growing lettuce, spinach, basil, cilantro and other leafy green vegetables right in your kitchen, dining room or “edible schoolroom”.

To get in on our Introductory Sale in which we will be offering the first six FFGS-M5 Systems for less than the listed retail price of $1495,   just email us at:

urbanfarmer@aquaponicsusa.com

These six FFGS-M5 Systems will be using the T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights that we used in our Growroom Lab for about three months. Start growing your own healthy, organic leafy greens right in your own home or schoolroom with the FFGS-M5; and thank you for following our Aquaponics USA Blog.

First in a Series called: It’s An “Edible Schoolroom”


It’s happening. Schoolrooms right along with Schoolyards are becoming edible. Here are some heart-warming chronological pictures of what’s happening with Aquaponics (called AquaBioPonics) at Davis Bilingual Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona where Aquaponics USA built, installed and tested one of it’s FFGS-40 Food Forever™ Growing Systems over the Christmas break.

When we last posted about this installation, there were no Grow Lights, no Fish and no Vegetables. Look what’s happening now.Davis Bilingual Elementary School students gather around Aquaponics USA Grow Beds

The above photo shows children gathered around Grow Beds #3 & #4 to see plants growing in the Hydroton. The Hydroton is the Grow Bed media that takes the place of dirt. It’s made from fired clay, and is produced by a German company named Okotau. It was originally designed for Hydroponics (hence the name Hydroton); but works great in Aquaponics systems. This photo also shows Florescent Grow Lights hanging over the Grow Beds. These lights are crucial to the growth of the plants. No light–no plant growth.

This next series of pictures shows the arrival of the fish that are also crucial to an Aquaponics System because the fish create the fish waste that is turned into valuable nutrients for the plants through a process known as the Nitrogen Cycle, which the Davis Bilingual Elementary school students are also learning about.Davis Bilingual Elementary School place their gold fish into their Aquaponics USA Food Forever™ Growing Systems

Right now Davis is using gold fish in their Aquaponics systems. The above picture shows the gold fish going into the system.Davis Bilingual Elementary students watch their new gold fish swim in their 320 gallon Aquaponics USA tank.

The above picture shows students watching their gold fish swim around in their 320 gallon fish tank.Blackboard shows the Nitrogen Cycle of an Aquaponics System

The teaching of Aquaponics begins with a renowned instructor, Dr. D’Silva, Consultant and Professor. Dr. D’Silva is CEO of Moura Enterprises and a worldwide reference in Integrated Sustainable, AquaBioPonics and AquafuelPonics Systems and Humanitarian programs. Right now he is being a Humanitarian and helping the Davis Elementary School Teaching Staff and students learn all about the Nitrogen Cycle, which runs these systems and how to cycle their Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing Systems, which he calls “AquaBioPonics”. Since Davis Elementary is a Bilingual school, you’ll notice that some of the words on the board are in Spanish. Below, Dr. D’Silva in the white shirt stands next to one of the Davis Bilingual Staff members.Dr. D'Silva stands next to a Davis Bilingual School Staff Member

As the learning continues, Dr. D’Silva instructs members of the Davis Bilingual Elementary School staff on how to use their Water Quality Kit that came with their Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing System. Below, two of the staff members hold up tubes containing yellow-colored water indicating they have measured the Ammonia level in the system. The card with the colored rectangles on it is used to determine what that Ammonia level is. If the Ammonia goes up too high in an Aquaponics System, the system becomes toxic to both the plants and the fish. The third staff member standing next to Dr. D’Silva is the Librarian for Davis Bilingual Elementary, Cheryl Schrader-Gerken. She graciously welcomed us into her Library when we installed this system over Christmas and has taken on this amazing “Edible Schoolroom” Project (in her case it’s an Edible Library) with much joy and enthusiasm.

Davis Bilingual Elementary Staff learn how to measure Water Quality

This final photo below shows an up-close look at how the Water Quality Kit that is included with a Food Forever™ Growing System works to help you keep your water quality at safe, healthy levels. The three tubes all contain the same water taken from the system. The fist tube tells you what your Ammonia levels are. The second tube tells you what your Nitrite levels are and the third tube tells you what your Nitrate levels are. To get lots of detailed information about Water Quality go to our Water Page and read all about it. You can also see all the fun and excitement that the students at Davis Bilingual Elementary School are having by visiting their facebook page at Gardening & AquaBioPonics at Davis Elementary.Testing the Water Quality using the Kit that's included with a Food Forever™ Growing System

We’ll be doing more posts on these “Edible Schoolrooms” in the near future as we return to see what’s happening at the other two schools where our Food Forever™ Growing Systems were installed. Those schools include Manzo Elementary and Drachman Montessori Elementary. So stay tuned.

And be sure to check out the two videos we recently posted to YouTube on our Aquaponics USA TV Channel where we show you the full installation of this very system at the Davis Bilingual Elementary School. It is Part 1 of a four-part series that shows these installations in the three Tucson Elementary Schools. Parts 1 & 2 are posted and Parts 3 & 4 are coming.

Until next time, GET GROWING!

The Continuing Case of the Mystery Vegetable? Actually, it’s turned into two Mystery Vegetables!


A few days ago, I wrote a post asking for help identifying a mystery vegetable that grew like a weed in one of our Greenhouse Grow Beds, tasted delicious in salads, worked great steamed and in stir fries. One thoughtful person answered our call for help; and just like I had already done, she identified this vegetable to be Turnip Greens. With that one piece of back up evidence, I felt pretty confident we had Turnip Greens in our Grow Bed; but now I’m thinking we were wrong.

Today, I went over to my local Home Depot to do a search in the seed section of their Garden Dept; and I was successful as a seed package came up with a picture on it that looks exactly like the vegetable in our Grow Bed. Now, even though Turnip Greens were quite foreign to me, I had at least heard of them before. This vegetable is a complete unknown to me; and I have never even heard its name. Our helper, Fred, said he’d planted cabbage; and it turns out he’s still right. It’s Chinese Cabbage; and it’s called Michihli. Here’s that seed package.Chinese Cabbage, Michihli

You can go back two posts to see Michihli growing in one of our Grow Beds. According to the package, it grows easily and loves cool weather, which explains why it grew so well in our Greenhouse when it was in winter mode and night temperatures were in the 30’s F outside sometimes while the Greenhouse stayed  around 60 degrees F. As of today, I’m feeling like Michihli is the mystery vegetable.

Now, I have to share another confession, the same thoughtful person who identified the mystery plant as Turnip Greens also told us in a comment that she didn’t think the Spinach on the other side of the same Grow Bed was actually Spinach. This vegetable was also planted by our helper, Fred, and he couldn’t remember the name of that plant either. I cooked some of that Spinach-like plant up; and I have to admit it doesn’t taste like Spinach because it’s much milder. So, now, we have another mystery plant on our hands; and the package that describes that plant didn’t come up today. Our helpful reader thought the un-Spinish side of the Grow Bed might be Broccoli before it actually grows the Broccoli stocks. But there is no sign of Broccoli stocks on this new mystery plant.

So once again we’re asking for help in identifying a plant that grew like crazy in cool temperatures and looks a lot like Spinach. The picture of that plant is one post back. I was feeling like a real dufus in regard to this Grow Bed that got away from us until I found this interesting Image.food-variety-tree

The numbers on this Giff Image are telling you how many different species of vegetables existed in each vegetable category in 1903 (the top thicker bars) and then in 1983 (the bottom skinny bars). When you look at the green colored Cabbage Family bar in 1903, you see it was the largest vegetable family in the sample list of ten crops with 544 different species of Cabbage in it. So when I first looked at this Image, I thought no wonder I don’t know all the species of Cabbage because there are so many.

But that’s actually not the case; and I’m back to being a dufus. Because this Image shockingly shows that by 1983, those 544 species of Cabbage became a mere 28 species. What’s happening to the diversity of our vegetables? One of the things that is happening (and it’s been happening at greater and greater speeds since the mid nineties) is there has been a consolidation of seed companies leading to a corporate domination of our food supply. And the one corporation that has been buying up more seed companies than all the others put together is non other than Monsanto. This pdf, “Seed Industry Structure 1996-2008”  shows eye-opening proof of that statement.

As you most likely already know, Monsanto is one of the main corporations behind the proliferation of GMO’s, which is about genetically modifying seeds and then placing a patent on those seeds followed by a pay-to-play business model. Farmers who use Monsanto’s seeds are forbidden to harvest the seeds they already purchased from Monsanto and must re-purchase new seeds every season.

It appears that in buying up as many seed companies as they can, Monsanto is trying to create a monopoly in which eventually only their patented GMO seeds are available on the seed market. Before they pull the plug on all the natural seeds they now control, Monsanto can pretend to be the good guys who are also interested in marketing natural non-GMO seeds. I’m not buying it; and I’m not buying any seeds from a Monsanto controlled company either.

The seed packet above of the Chinese Cabbage, Michihli, is by a company called FERRY-MORSE; and as I trace the ownership, I find FERRY-MORSE is owned by a French company called Limagrain. FERRY-MORSE does not appear in the already mentioned “Seed Industry Structure Map”; but there is a place where there is a crossover between Limagrain and Monsanto. That’s enough to stop me from buying another package of FERRY-MORSE seeds. I guess you could say I’m personally boycotting any seed company connected to Monsanto.

We are presently buying our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Paramount Seeds and Humble Seed. All three of these companies are, or originated from, family owned US based businesses that emphasize quality, nutrition, health and above all, non-GMO natural seeds. We are actually featuring and selling Humble Seed right on our Aquaponics USA website. Just go to our “Aquaponics and Gardening SEEDS” page to check out these great seeds packaged in long-term unique packaging that maintains the seeds life force.

Hopefully, someone will come forward and help us identify the mystery Grow Bed as both veggies in that bed are still in question. We’ve definitely learned our lesson about the importance of identifying our vegetables. It’s always good to know what you’re eating and from where it’s originating.

Hope this post has been helpful and informative. Until next time, GET GROWING!

Want to see the other side of yesterday’s mystery Grow Bed?


It looks like the mystery Veggie from yesterday is solved, thanks to Usona Asher (hope you don’t mind my giving you credit here, Usona). So far Usona is the only person who has responded to our call for help to identify a vegetable that was unfamiliar to us; and she agrees with my basically wild guess based on pictures from the internet that the mystery veggie is none other than Turnip Greens.

So now all I have to do is get back on the internet, connect to an heirloom seed supplier and order some Turnip Greens post haste as we’re about to start a major seed sprouting project over here. Think I’ll order some Bok Choy along with the Turnip Greens.

This time we’re going to sprout our seeds the tried and true (albeit more time consuming) way, which means I’ll be planting the seeds into a Seed Starting Kit that consists of a black seedling tray with a multi pargro rockwool cube pack with 98 one and one half inch cubes in it and topping the planted tray off with a protective, humidifying 3″ dome cover. This Seed Starting Kit is offered on our website with two different dome sizes.

I’ll be doing a post to show this seedling sprouting process in the near future so stay tuned. Now, on to what this post is all about. I want you to understand that yesterday I only showed you one side of the 11 sq. ft. Grow Bed that is housing the now identified Turnip Greens. As you can see by looking at yesterday’s post, there are a lot of Turnip Greens in that Grow Bed. But what’s really amazing is this:Greenhouse Spinach on the other side of the Grow Bed with the Turnip Greens

This is Spinach, which was planted at the same time as the Turnip Greens on the other side of the same Grow Bed. This Spinach is also delicious and seems to be milder than store bought spinach so it’s looking like aquaponically grown Turnip Greens and Spinach are both milder than their soil cultivated counterparts; and do they ever grow fast and thick in our Food Forever™ Growing Systems.

Here’s some interesting information about Spinach from the website I introduced you to yesterday, “the world’s healthiest foods“. A new category of health-supportive nutrients has been found in Spinach called “glycoglycerolipids”. Recent studies show that glycoglycerolipids (they sure can come up with some convoluted words to describe nutrition) from Spinach can help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage, especially damage related to the big baddy called inflammation.

Here’s another reason why Popeye ate so much Spinach. Out of all the cruciferous vegetables (see yesterday’s post for more information on cruciferous veggies), Spinach is the only one that showed evidence of significant protection against aggressive prostate cancer defined as cancer in stage 3 or 4. It seems Spinach contains certain unique cancer fighting carotenoids called (here comes another one of those impossible to spell or remember words) “epoxyxanthophylls” (spell-check doesn’t even know how to spell it); nevertheless, it’s a really good guy.

So take Popeye’s advice and “eat your Spinach”.

Just to make sure you get the picture of how much vegetable growth is possible in one 11 sq. ft. Grow Bed, this picture is worth a thousand words. It shows both sides of the Grow Bed we’re discussing side by side. Now, do you see what’s so remarkable about growing vegetables in a Food Forever™ Growing System? The veggies just love the living fertilizer that they are getting compliments of happy Tilapia swimming in tanks nearby. Grow Bed with Turnip Leaves and Spinach

Until next time, GET GROWING!