I’m not sure that they aren’t. I was able to find a link to instructions on three ways to grow organic-hydroponic vegetables. These three methods are called hydro-organics, aquaponics and bioponics. For more information see the hydroponic secion of this website http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/ghveg.html#hydro
This is probably a regulatory holdover from when no organic hydroponic farming systems were available, and hydroponic farming was exclusively chemical. It could also have something to do with the difficulty of monitoring and inspecting hydroponic systems for “cheating”–using chemical fertilizers. In soil, chemical fertilizers leave traces that can be detected by testing. In a hydroponic system, all they’d have to do is flush the system thoroughly before inspection to eliminate evidence of chemical fertilizers.
I answered this question before I started working at an organic aquaponic farm in California. We have large fish tanks, and the water is circulated through long troughs with floating mats of lettuce on them. Bacterial biofilms on the sides of the troughs convert ammonia from the fish waste into nitrites and then nitrates. The lettuces filter the nitrates out of the water that gets pumped back into the fish tanks, so it doesn’t become toxic to the fish.
It’s a certifide organic operation, and we grow some of the best lettuces I’ve ever seen–and I’ve been growing lettuce organically for 27 years.
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