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.

Corporate Definitions of ‘Natural’: How Consumers are Being Deceived

April 22nd, 2014


Corporate “natural” definitions vary widely. Generally, “natural” means the absence of artificial ingredients, commonly referencing preservatives.  However “natural” does not signify that the ingredients are grown and processed in ways that avoid such “unnatural” inputs as synthetic pesticides and genetically engineered organisms. Various companies’ definitions of “natural” highlight its inferiority to the organic label.

Companies also can blur the line between “natural” and organic with promotional materials for their “natural” labels. They fail to mention that ingredients excluded from the “natural” foods—such as high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors—are prohibited in organic foods. Consumers may believe, therefore, that “natural” foods offer something special, when in truth organic foods offer all those benefits and much more.

One thing is clear, however: Consumers are extremely confused about organic and “natural” labels on foods, too often believing that “natural” claims imply the absence of pesticides and genetically engineered organisms. Recent public opinion poll results, conducted by various research firms, confirm this growing problem. Read Full Article »

New Prague Farmers to Face Off with Power Line Builders in Court

April 22nd, 2014

This trial will determine the fate of the organic dairy operation.

Star Tribune
by David Peterson

For decades, County Road 2 has represented a tranquil rural existence on the edge of the metro area to Dave and Florence Minar.

Not anymore.

Today, a row of steel towers 15 stories tall marches down that road and across the land near New Prague that has been in Dave’s family since 1926, casting a shadow the Minars contend clouds the future of one of the state’s leading organic dairy farms.

The 450-acre Cedar Summit Farm has been organic since 1974, and in addition to the herd of about 130 cows, includes a retail store and a commercial dairy that ships nostalgic cream-on-top milk bottles all across the Midwest.

In Scott County District Court this week, the Minars, who are both in their 70s, will describe their fears that the high-voltage power lines could cause health problems for their cows and scare customers away from visiting the bucolic and pastoral patch of the county. Read Full Article »

How New Legislation in Boston Gave Fresh Life to Urban Farms

April 21st, 2014

Modern Farmer
by Heather Hansman

Locally grown will soon take on new meaning in Boston, especially in predominantly low-income neighborhoods like Roxbury and Dorchester. As in, grown on your very block. This spring, the city is starting the most comprehensive transactional urban agriculture system in the country.

Boston_skyline_at_earlymorningby Y.Sawa
In December, as one of his last tasks in office, former mayor Thomas M. Menino signed Article 89 into law. The new ordinance means farmers will be able to grow – and, importantly, sell for profit — within the city limits. Read Full Article »

Syngenta’s Next Target: Jackson County, Oregon

April 21st, 2014

PAN North America
by Paul Towers

stop-poison-childLast week, Swiss-based pesticide corporation Syngenta dumped tens of thousands of dollars into a county election in Southern Oregon. Sound familiar? It should. Still reeling from their recent defeat in Kaua’i, Syngenta and the rest of the “Big 6″ don’t want to lose any more fights around pesticides and GMOs.

But Oregononians are holding their ground. Led by a group of farmers dubbed Our Family Farms Coalition, these residents put an initiative on the ballot that would restrict the planting of genetically engineered crops. The vote will be on May 20.

While Syngenta may try to paint them as “out of touch,” this organized group of family farmers notes that the law would provide protections for them and other farmers. The initiative would ensure farmers in Oregon aren’t exposed to increased pesticides use; don’t lose business — including potential losses of market exports — from contamination of their crops; and aren’t vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits brought by the likes of Syngenta and Monsanto for so-called “patent infringement.” Read Full Article »

Plant Breeders Release First ‘Open Source Seeds’

April 18th, 2014

The Salt – NPR
by Dan Charles

1000x300xossi_header.png.pagespeed.ic.nA5aiDXWtlA group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They’re releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new “open source pledge” that’s intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

It’s inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone’s proprietary product. Read Full Article »

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