The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.
CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — A decade ago, a couple running a dairy business in Northern California visited a Mennonite farm where the owner had used a flock of laying hens to teach his children business principles and instill values like responsibility and care for nature.
They returned home and bought 150 hens for their boys, Christian and Joseph. “My parents told us, you and Joseph are in charge of keeping these 150 birds alive,” recalled Christian Alexandre, who now heads the family’s egg business.
What started as a parental effort to instill solid values has become the mainstay of Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms. Within five years, Christian and Joseph were tending 1,500 hens and had a deal in place to supply eggs to Whole Foods stores in Northern California. Christian remembers Walter Robb, co-chief executive of the grocery retailer, showing up at one of his football games.
The rusty red chickens foraging in the fields outnumber the cows 10 to 1 — and the roughly five million eggs they will produce this year command prices that make organic milk look cheap. “The egg business has kept the dairy going for several years,” Blake Alexandre, Christian’s father, said. Read Full Article »
Greg Jackmauh holds a Harvard degree in biology and owns a Vermont organic dairy farm. He’s a longtime member of The Cornucopia Institute.
My name is Gregory Jackmauh. I am a resident of Barnet, Vermont and live on an Organic pasture-based, intensive rotational grazing dairy farm that has been certified since 2003.
I graduated from Harvard College with an Honors degree in Biology and am a member of The Cornucopia Institute.
My premise is simple: The word “Organic” has a meaning that has existed long before the USDA began to consider the term.
In my 1924 edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary it says “organic” means “acting as an instrument of nature” and “forming a complex, self-determined, unity”. To me and to many others here today and watching from a distance this definition is quite easily understood. “ORGANIC” means a naturally occurring relationship between land, plant, micro-organism, and animal that is harmoniously in balance and self-sustaining.
Modern agricultural processes have gotten away from following an “organic” model throughout the decades and centuries, and there are those of us who passionately feel that returning to an “organic” approach to agriculture is a critical step to stabilizing our environment and our planet. Read Full Article »
One of the most prestigious prizes in sustainability, the Fuller Challenge, has been awarded to a commercial fisherman turned entrepreneur who once worked on factory trawlers pillaging the seas of fish. Following hurricanes Irene and Sandy, Bren Smith, founder of the ocean farming non-profit GreenWave, said he had a change of heart and began to search for a more sustainable form of fishing seafood.
“I had to adapt and reimagine how I was going to grow for this new era of climate change … what species do I pick, what technologies do I use,” he said.
Enjoy this clip from Marketplace of Bren Smith, interviewed by David Brancaccio, produced by Shana Daloria and Beidi Zhang:
Scientists are trained to express themselves rationally. They avoid personal attacks when they disagree. But some scientific arguments become so polarized that tempers fray. There may even be shouting.
Such is the current state of affairs between two camps of scientists: health effects researchers and regulatory toxicologists. Both groups study the effects of chemical exposures in humans. Both groups have publicly used terms like “irrelevant,” “arbitrary,” “unfounded” and “contrary to all accumulated physiological understanding” to describe the other’s work. Privately, the language becomes even harsher, with phrases such as “a pseudoscience,” “a religion” and “rigged.”
The rift centers around the best way to measure the health effects of chemical exposures. Read Full Article »
It seems a sensible solution to urban space constraints and a desire for increased local food production: transform abandoned warehouses into indoor farms, or construct purpose-built vertical food factories.
But Louis Albright, an emeritus professor of biological and environmental engineering who helped pioneer controlled-environment agriculture, warns that these “high in the sky” proposals intended to reduce food miles and rejuvenate communities may prove to be “pie in the sky” concepts with detrimental impacts on the environment.