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.
June 30th, 2016
by Alana Semuels
As men in agriculture grow older and die without male successors, their wives and daughters are learning to run the business.
WOODSTOCK, Ill.—The face of the American farmer today may look a little bit like Diane Henry Freutel’s. She is wearing pearl earrings, a blue hard hat, a denim shirt, jeans, and running shoes as she saws down a small tree on the farmland she inherited from her parents. Later she will drag the tree, along with other scraps and weeds, into a pile, and burn it. It’s all part of managing the 100 acres of farmland that unexpectedly became hers when her father and brother died in rapid succession two years ago.
“I like it too much to sell it,” says Freutel, 62, who worked in television in Chicago for most of her career. “But all of the things you don’t think about that are normal day-to-day operations on a farm are overwhelming for people like me.” These are things like maintaining the cluster of buildings on the farm, which includes a chicken coop, a house, a barn, and dealing with broken pipes, collapsed barn roofs, jammed lawnmowers, dilapidated doors, dead coyotes in the bushes, and fields of overgrown weeds. Freutel remembers days of crying in frustration when she first inherited the farm, because she didn’t know how to fix anything that broke. Read Full Article »
June 30th, 2016
|Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)and Pat Roberts (R-KS)
A national coalition of consumer, food safety, farm, environmental, and religious groups along with several food corporations sent a joint letter to all members of the Senate urging opposition to a discriminatory and deeply flawed GMO labeling bill being offered by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The coalition of 70 groups includes The Cornucopia Institute.
The Senate bill that has come forward occurred without any hearings or testimony. Instead, it was the result of behind doors dealing between the Senators Roberts and Stabenow, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and other industry groups.
The coalition opposing the poorly drafted bill warns that it “exempts major portions of current and future GMO foods from labeling; is on its face discriminatory against low-income, rural, minorities and elderly populations; is a gross violation of the sovereignty of numerous states; and provides no enforcement against those who violate the law.” Read Full Article »
June 29th, 2016
The Huffington Post
by Joseph Erbentraut
When it comes to organic farming, many in the agricultural industry are on board in theory, if not in practice. And that’s largely because of low crop yields.
For many years, the prevailing perception has been that organic farming — which avoids synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, antibiotics and GMOs, and aims to preserve natural resources and biodiversity — cannot produce the sort of yields needed to provide food for the world’s population.
While a new report from researchers at the Friends of the Earth admits that crop yields are, on average, currently smaller with organic farming than industrial farming, that doesn’t have to be the case.
The report, released Tuesday by the D.C.-based environmental advocacy group, goes on to argue that crop yields shouldn’t be the only metric by which we should evaluate any given crop’s success. Read Full Article »
June 29th, 2016
Vows to do ‘Everything I Can to Defeat This Bill’
WASHINGTON, June 28 – Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement days before Vermont’s first-in-the nation GMO labeling law takes effect:
“On Friday, Vermont will become the first state in the nation to require GMO labeling. This is a triumph for ordinary Americans over the powerful interests of Monsanto and other multi-national food industry corporations. We cannot allow Vermont’s law to be overturned by bad federal legislation that has just been announced. I will do everything I can to defeat this bill, beginning by putting a hold on it in the Senate.
“The agreement announced by Sens. Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow would create a confusing, misleading and unenforceable national standard for labeling GMOs. It would impose no penalties for violating the labeling requirement, making the law essentially meaningless.
“This isn’t controversial. The overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling. People have a right to know what is in the food they eat.” Read Full Article »
June 28th, 2016
Food & Power
There’s a battle happening in organic farming, and it’s not about labeling or the setting of standards. In May, the Organic Trade Association submitted a revised proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose a special tax on organic farming. Called a “checkoff,” this tax would apply to all organic farmers, handlers of organic goods, and food processors with sales over a certain threshold. According to the proposal, money collected through the tax would be used for the promotion of organic products.
But not all organic farmers are happy with the idea. A new coalition of farmer organizations has gathered to oppose the tax. Some farmers are concerned that the new tax will repeat a pattern seen in other commodity checkoff programs, in which funds intended for marketing and research are instead used largely or mainly to support the interest of large corporate producers. Read Full Article »