Hydroponics is awesome - 95% water savings, incredible flavor profiles, low food-miles - but one of the biggest knocks against the industry is that the nutrients for these systems are inorganic materials that must be mined. This has forced hydroponics to go without the coveted organic label and has generated criticism about the environmental impacts of extracting these minerals. A reliable source of commercial organic hydroponic fertilizer would revolutionize the industry, the question is - will we ever see it?
Why We Won't
Why We Will
But this is not a call for all hydroponic farms to make the jump - aquaponics has its own set of issues. Instead, the path that I see forward is for enterprising companies to forge a middle ground: extract precise nutrients through bacterial processes and sell those individually. This would allow hydroponic farmers to precisely dose their systems and make the argument for an organic label. Is this even possible? Maybe not with today's technology, but with the advances we're making in understanding the micro-biome, we are getting closer.