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.
October 9th, 2015
by Dave Chapman
This is my effort to keep you up to date on what has been happening. Our efforts to keep hydroponic produce out of organic certification continues. There are now several lawsuits against the NOP (National Organic Program), brought by a number of national organizations that fear we are losing the integrity of the national standards. As the USDA continues to water down the organic standards, customers continue to lose confidence in the organic label.
In September the USDA created a Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force. I was selected to serve on this task force. The stated intention is to “explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with USDA organic regulations.” Miles McEvoy, head of the NOP, has said several times that he hopes that the task force will be able to clarify the language of the 2010 NOSB recommendation banning hydroponic, which he said was too unclear for him to make a rule on.
The task force was originally limited to people with at least 3 years of experience in “hydroponic organic” growing. Later the NOP responded to a public uproar, and opened it to all interested people. A number of highly qualified volunteers with lots of experience in organic farming were not selected for the task force, including organic greenhouse growers David Miskell from Vermont and Ken Kimes from California. I am one of the five members of the task force selected who I know represents the values of traditional organic farming. Read Full Article »
October 9th, 2015
by Barbara Lewis
Nineteen EU member states have requested opt-outs for all or part of their territory from cultivation of a Monsanto genetically-modified crop, which is authorized to be grown in the European Union, the European Commission said on Sunday.
Under a law signed in March, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for genetically modified cultivation across the 28-nation EU.
The law was introduced to end years of stalemate as genetically modified crops divide opinion in Europe.
Although widely grown in the Americas and Asia, public opposition is strong in Europe and environmentalists have raised concerns about the impact on biodiversity. Read Full Article »
October 8th, 2015
by Arthur Neslen, Brussels
Bid for exclusion by 14 countries and three regions would make two-thirds of Europe’s population and arable land GM-free
Half of the European Union’s 28 countries and three of its regions have opted out of a new GM crop scheme, in a blow to biotech industry hopes.
Under new EU rules agreed in March, 15 countries have now told Brussels they will send territorial exclusion requests to the big agricultural multinationals including Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer.
Applications from Latvia and Greece have already been accepted by the firms and if that pattern is extended, around two-thirds of of the EU’s population – and of its arable land – will be GM-free. Read Full Article »
October 8th, 2015
The Athens, Wisconsin organic farm finds ways to grow while remaining a local, family business.
by Mitchell A. Skurzewski
ATHENS — Tony Schultz returned to Athens to find it much different than when he was in school. He was coaching the Athens junior varsity basketball team when something struck him.
“When I grew up and went to grade school, half the kids in my class were 50-cow, dairy-farm kids,” Schultz said. “When I came back from college (in 2004), one player from a team of 30 was from a farm like mine. I find that sad.”
Schultz, along with his wife, Kat Becker, decided to take back at least part of the countryside with Stoney Acres Farm. In 2006 they bought the 120-acre farm, which is located about eight miles northwest of Athens, and sold community-supported agriculture or CSA shares. In the farm’s second year of doing CSAs in 2008, they doubled shares from 72 customers to 145. Business has grown steadily from there.
Schultz and Becker grow more than 170 varieties of fruits and vegetables, raise 100 percent grass-fed cattle, meat and egg chickens and pastured pigs. They grow mushrooms, tap maple syrup and most recently, in 2012, added a weekly pizza night. Read Full Article »
October 7th, 2015
by Marianne Lavelle
Philadelphia immigrants are transforming blighted lots into gardens, bringing nature back to the city, putting down roots, and providing food.
PHILADELPHIA—In a lush pocket of greenery studded with orange flowers, Len Rem beams from beneath her straw hat. She shows off a basket of herbs she picked that morning: It’s chin baung, one of the most popular tastes in her home country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
For Rem, an essential part of putting down new roots in South Philadelphia has been the chance to grow the beloved sour leaves here, in a four-by-ten-foot bed among the tangled stalks and vines of more than a hundred other urban gardeners.
Pope Francis has written eloquently about the human need for green space: “We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass, and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.” Read Full Article »