The Cornucopia Institute

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.

Scientists Frustrated by Factory Farms: Scientific Evidence of their Non-Sustainability Mounts

April 17th, 2014

by Jim Lundstrom

A factory dairy near Phoenix, AZ

Professor Robert Lawrence is in a select company of researchers.

“I think the only other group of scientists who probably are more frustrated than we are are the climate scientists,” Lawrence said in a recent telephone call.

Lawrence is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in Baltimore, Md., where he also holds the title of the Center for a Livable Future Professor in Environmental Health Sciences Professor, Departments of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy and Management, and International Health Director. The Center’s mission is to engage “in research, policy analysis, education, advocacy and other activities guided by an ecologic perspective that diet, food production, the environment, and public health are interwoven elements of a single complex system.” Read Full Article »

What Walmart’s Big Organic Announcement Means for Organic Veterans

April 17th, 2014

Could the chain’s entrée into private-label organics cheapen the gold standard in food production?

Rodale News
by Emily Main

wild-oats-marketplace-logoWalmart has just announced that it’s going to throw its massive size and influence behind the organic food movement. By relaunching a historic brand, Wild Oats, which used to be Whole Foods’ biggest rival, the chain is pledging to make organic affordable to all and sell the Wild Oats brand of packaged foods at 25 percent less than its organic competitors.

More organic options at a cheaper price is hardly a bad thing, and the organic industry seems to be taking the huge retailer’s announcement with a grain of cautious optimism. But there are also a lot of potential downfalls: Where will a chain of 3,800 stores get enough organic ingredients to satisfy the 91 percent of shoppers who Walmart claims want organic food? Will organic farms have to compromise on their standards to meet the demand? Read Full Article »

Cornucopia Institute Elects New Leadership

April 16th, 2014

The Cornucopia Institute has elected new leadership following the annual meeting of the organization’s board of directors.  The Cornucopia Institute, a tax-exempt nonprofit, is a national organization focused on agricultural research and education.  The organization acts as a governmental and corporate watchdog on organic food and farming issues.

Cornucopia board members Dave Minar, Kevin
Engelbert, Helen Kees and Roger Featherstone
weigh issues at the 2014 annual meeting.

Wisconsin organic beef and fresh-market produce farmer Helen Kees was elected board president at Cornucopia’s March 22 meeting in St. Paul, MN.  Kees, a third generation farmer, with her husband Bob and daughter Chris, holds the distinction of being Wisconsin’s first certified organic beef producer.  She and her family direct market vegetables and beef (to retailers and at local farmers markets) as well as wholesale to the Organic Valley Cooperative.

New York organic dairy farmer Kevin Engelbert was elected Cornucopia board vice president.  Engelbert, along with his wife Lisa and family, was the nation’s first certified organic dairy farmer.  Their family farm additionally produces a wide variety of organic cheeses, veal, beef, pork, pasture, hay, corn, soybeans, and vegetables.  Engelbert, a fifth generation farmer, is a former member of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the 15-member panel that determines what materials are allowed for use in organic food and farming and advises the USDA Secretary of Agriculture on organic policy matters.

In addition, Dr. Barry Flamm was elected to Cornucopia’s board of directors.  Flamm, who had been a member of Cornucopia’s policy advisory panel, is the immediate past chair of the NOSB with his term concluding in 2012.  He operates a certified organic sweet cherry orchard in Montana.  Flamm previously served on the Montana Governor’s Council helping develop the Montana Department of Agriculture Organic Certification Program, and he was a founder and vice chair of the Montana Organic Association.

Roger Featherstone was re-elected as treasurer of the Cornucopia board.  The long-time environmental activist grew up on a small family dairy farm in Wisconsin that has been continuously operated by his family since 1847.  He currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, and is the director of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.

Replacing Dr. Flamm, The Cornucopia Institute has added a new member to its policy advisory panel, Mitch Blumenthal, the President and Founder of Global Organic/Specialty Source, Inc.  A resident of Sarasota, Florida, Blumenthal purchased ten acres of organic farmland in 1995 and continues to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs, and specialty items at Blumenberry Farms.  In 1999, he launched Global Organic/Specialty Source, now one of the most significant organic distributorships in the Southeast United States.

The board formally recognized long-time board member and past president Steven Sprinkel, recently retired from the board.  The Ojai, California, resident continues to operate an organic vegetable farm and runs an organic grocery and restaurant with his wife Olivia.

With approximately 10,000 members, The Cornucopia Institute is believed to have more organic farmer members than any other similar organization in the U.S.  In 2014, Cornucopia is commemorating its 10th anniversary.


Vermont Senate Votes 26-2 for GMO Labeling

April 16th, 2014

Vermont one step closer to becoming first state to enact such a law

Burlington Free Press
by Terri Hallenbeck

gmo.protest.smMONTPELIER — The Senate gave a decisive 26-2 vote Tuesday for a bill that would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, a strong indication that Vermont could become the first state in the nation to enact such a law.

“We are saying people have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor.

Campbell and other supporters argued that they believe they have written a bill that is legally defensible. They nonetheless created a fund in the legislation to help pay the state’s legal bills, as many assume that food manufacturers will sue. Read Full Article »

Bad News about Pesticides – The Leonard Lopate Show

April 15th, 2014

The Leonard Lopate Show

Credit: NRCS

Reporter Susan Freinkel talks about what happens to brains of children who have been exposed at a young age to pesticides. She’s joined by Lee Fang, who reports on how the pesticide companies have influenced regulations in Washington and at the local level. Both Freinkel and Fang are contributors to The Nation magazine. Freinkel is the author of the book Plastic: A Toxic Love Story and her article Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain and Fang’s article The Pesticide Industry vs. Consumers: Not a Fair Fight appear in the March 31, 2014, issue of The Nation magazine. Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000