Cornucopia News Archive

Gathering of the Agrarian Elders

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Reflections from the Country’s Best Local Farmers

[This article was previously published in the summer issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Linley Dixon, PhD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute

Source: 2-Dog-Farm

The Elders gathered for a second time this past January. They were joined by 13 “Youngers” to exchange ideas and information with the next generation of farmers and discuss the future of organic and sustainable farming.The “Agrarian Elders,” a group of legendary organic farmers, first formally met in January of 2014 at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA with the goal of sharing and preserving the wisdom from their combined 800 years of growing experience.

Many of us are seriously concerned about the future of agriculture. However, the Agrarian Elders have already provided us with a roadmap toward a locally based, truly sustainable food system. In defiance of the status quo, they have courageously modeled their lives around hard work, a sense of place, innovation, and forward-looking ideas. Read Full Article »

Agribusiness Interests and the USDA Scramble Organic Eggs

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Lobbyists Conspired to Confine Chickens to Factory Farms
Consumers Fight Back through Marketplace Activism

CI_EggReportIndustryFraud_1Reacting to the close of a 90-day public comment period on July 13, the nation’s preeminent organic industry watchdog harshly criticized the USDA for what they called a “giveaway” to factory farm interests masquerading as organic. The Cornucopia Institute suggested that consumers reaffirm their support for organic family-scale farmers by “taking the law into their own hands” and seeking out truly authentic organic eggs, produced humanely.

The rule elicited comments from over 5,000 citizens, lobbyists and organic stakeholders. The animal welfare rule has been one of the most prominent controversies in the history of the organic movement, sparked by USDA inaction that allows as many as two million “organic” birds to be confined on giant concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Advocates assert that federal law clearly requires “access to the outdoors.”

Cornucopia policy experts and scientists claim that the options presented in the USDA’s draft rule could confine birds to as little as one square foot indoors and only require farms to provide two square feet of “pasture” outdoors, half of which could be covered with concrete. Read Full Article »

Call Your Representative to Vote NO on Toothless GMO Food Labeling Compromise

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Phone MartinCathraeThe House of Representatives will likely vote on this bill tomorrow, so please take action now to express your opposition!

You can reach your Congressional Representative at 877-796-1949
. Tell him or her to VOTE NO on Bill S.764.  Let them know that you want mandatory, on-the-package GMO food labeling — not QR codes.  And let your representative know that you support the state laws voted on by the people.

More specifics on what is in this “compromise” by the Senate, and now coming before the House, can be found here.

Organic Hooligans

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Organic Farmers, Nonprofits Maligned by Government Officials/Corporate Lobbyists

[This article was previously published in the summer issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

Mark Kastel

by Mark Kastel, Codirector at The Cornucopia Institute

I’m not sure what is worse; being dubbed an organic “hooligan” or an organic “purist.” There’s no doubt that the recent semiannual meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in Washington, D.C. was uncomfortable for many organic stakeholders present, for different reasons.

As six new members of the NOSB took their seats for the first time at a public meeting, having been screened by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) Staff Director Miles McEvoy and appointed by Secretary Thomas Vilsack, the question was: “Would the balance on the board continue to be skewed towards favoring corporate agribusiness, or shift towards true organic integrity?” Read Full Article »

Good Food Movement Opposes “Bipartisan DARK Act”

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
and Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Source: USDA

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 »