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How do you find food (esp tomatoes) grown without plastic mulches?

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This is way way more important than organic vs nonorganic and just came to my attention via edx\

There is no doubt that MP accumulation saps energy/vitality, the only question is how much, and how to slow it down


Edited by InquilineKea
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  • InquilineKea changed the title to How do you find food (esp tomatoes) grown without plastic mulches?


Allowed Mulches on Organic Farms and the Future of Biodegradable Mulch

All farmers know that conventional polyethylene (aka: plastic) mulch is widely used for crop production because it controls weeds, conserves soil moisture, increases soil temperature, improves crop yield and quality, has a relatively low cost, and is readily available. Conventional mulch is also widely used on organic farms although organic farmers and others have questioned its use because it is often non- recyclable, and is generally made from non-biodegradable based materials.

At this time, no biodegradable mulch is allowed for use on organic farms. None of the commercially available biodegradable mulches have been proven to meet the requirements of the National Organic Standards.

In this document we answer common questions about the currently allowed mulches on organic farms and the potential of using biodegradable mulches in the future.

How does the National Organic Program define “mulch”?

7 CFR 205.2
The National Organic Program (NOP) states that mulch is any non-synthetic material, such as wood chips, leaves, or straw, or any allowed synthetic material such as newspaper or plastic that serves to suppress weed growth, moderate soil temperature, or conserve soil moisture.

What specifically can organic farmers use now for mulching?

7 CFR 205.601
Currently allowed options for mulching are:

  • Non-synthetic, untreated materials such as wood chips, leaves, or straw

  • Newspapers or other recycled paper, without gloss, glossy inks, or color inks

  • Plastic mulches and covers provided they are removed from the field at the end of the

    growing season, and they are petroleum-based, but not polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

  • Biodegradable bio-based mulch film - provided that it complies with the requirements

    and restrictions of the USDA organic regulations, and Policy Memo 15-1 in the NOP Program Handbook. HOWEVER, no such mulches are currently approved for organic farming.


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