Cornucopia News Archive

Cornucopia Institute Elects New Leadership

Wednesday, 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.


Leaving a Sour Taste: Conventional “Yogurt” Masquerades as Health Food While Organic Keeps It Real

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

This article is based on Cornucopia’s forthcoming yogurt report and scorecard. Find both later this spring on our website.

yogurt-spoon-iStock_000013610937smYogurt, made the traditional way, is one of nature’s many health foods. Milk from organic grass-fed cows, rich in calcium, protein, beneficial fats and other healthy nutrients, is fermented using live cultures, resulting in a wholesome, live food teeming with beneficial microorganisms.

Yet giant food corporations, led by General Mills (Yoplait) and Groupe Danone (Dannon), and now joined by others including Walmart and PepsiCo, have managed to turn this health food into junk food.

Many yogurt products on store shelves today are marketed as healthy, but a close inspection of the ingredients list and a look behind the scenes at how the ingredients are produced—the food’s “fine print”—paint a very different picture.   Read Full Article »

Cornucopia’s Comments on FDA Proposed “Phase Out” of Antibiotics

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Please read Cornucopia’s comments on Draft Guidance for Industry #213 (Docket No. FDA-2011-D-0889-0155) below. More information on this draft guidance is available here.

The FDA needs to hear from you about what you think of the draft guidance. Please click here to comment.


To Whom It May Concern:

The “judicious use” principles outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in GFI #209 and their planned implementation, as described in GFI #213, are inadequate responses to this threat.Thank you for the opportunity to comment on draft Guidance for Industry (GFI) #213.  As a stakeholder in the fight to improve the safety of our food supply, The Cornucopia Institute believes it is imperative that antimicrobials be used responsibly in food animal production to help slow the development of antimicrobial resistance that has emerged as a major threat to human and animal health. Read Full Article »

No Fences

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

By Elizabeth Wolf, Communications & Development Director, The Cornucopia Institute

Image courtesy of Coonridge Dairy

When Nancy Coonridge says she lives with her goat herd in the “wilds of New Mexico,” she’s not exaggerating. Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese Dairy perches at 8,000 feet elevation in the dry, rim rock country of western New Mexico, near the Continental Divide. The mailbox is two hours away by dirt road. The year’s water comes from rain and snow captured from the roof, electricity from solar panels. Cell phones don’t work here.

“When we say our goats are ‘free range’ we do not mean they have a pasture, however large. We mean there are no fences and no human neighbors for miles and miles,” Coonridge explains. Read Full Article »

Citizen-Lobbyists: Testify at Spring NOSB Meeting!

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Texas.USDACan you help stand up for organic food and farming in San Antonio, Texas? The Cornucopia Institute needs citizen-lobbyists to testify at the National Organic Standards Board this April 29-30 in San Antonio. You need not be an expert—only dedicated to organic integrity. And your appearance will be brief. Each speaker gets one to four minutes. We will provide you with background information on the issues the Board is considering, testimony, and assistance with logistics.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping out and lives near San Antonio, please consider helping us make the case for organic integrity. Contact Jason Cole at cole(at) or (608) 625-2000 by April 7. Read Full Article »