Cornucopia News Archive
[This story originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of The Cultivator, The Cornucopia Institute’s quarterly print publication available to members and online.]
Many of us have had an aha! moment or moments that sparked our decision to farm, garden or eat organically. In this issue, Cornucopia board member Amanda Love tells how a cross-country journey awakened her to an organic lifestyle. Today she offers workshops, classes and retreats on how to prepare delicious, nourishing meals and live a harmonious life.
by Amanda Love, Board Member, The Cornucopia Institute
Was it my grandmother who owned a health food store in New Mexico long before they were popular or my health-conscious mother? Was it reading Emerson and Thoreau in high school that opened my mind to new expanses? Or the college study-abroad trip to Italy, where I experienced real food, real family values and la dolce vita?
I’m not sure which of these had the most influence on me or if they all converged to make me begin to question my way of life and start doing things differently. But I do know that the real turning point for me came the summer of 1997, when I rode my bicycle across the country. This trip unequivocally changed my life. Read Full Article »
We need your help (confidentially) to identify all current candidates for appointment to the National Organic Standards Board.
Congress set up specific stakeholder representation on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to assure that corporations and their lobbyists do not dominate organic governance. However, the seats the law designates for independent farmers, scientists, retailers, etc. have frequently been given instead to corporate executives and consultants. (This abuse has occurred during both the Bush and Obama administrations.)
In the interest of transparency, during one past nomination cycle the USDA Secretary made the names of all nominees public. This was an excellent move because it gave organic stakeholders the opportunity to comment, favorably or negatively, on prospective representatives of the organic community. If the USDA Secretary was truly interested in appointing the best and brightest to serve on the NOSB, you would think he or she would welcome input from the most knowledgeable individuals in our industry. Read Full Article »
by Pamela Coleman, PhD
Organic seed should be free of genetically engineered (GE) DNA, because organic regulations prohibit genetic engineering. Unfortunately, organic crops are threatened by inadvertent contamination from GE crops. In response to the threat, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) published a workbook, Protecting Organic Seed Integrity: The Organic Farmer’s Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing. 
Although the workbook itself is geared primarily to seed growers, the integrity of our seed supply is important to all of us. Contamination of seed planted by organic farmers will result in GE DNA in organic food and feed. This is an economic loss for the farmer, because buyers may refuse to purchase contaminated seed. Wide-scale contamination of our seed supply can destroy the genetic purity of seed varieties used by organic farmers. The workbook claims “OSGATA’s membership believes that contamination of organic seed by GE seed constitutes irreparable harm to the organic seed industry by undermining the integrity of organic seed.” Read Full Article »
Latest Push for Check-off by Powerful Organic Lobby Group
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has launched the next phase of its push for an organic check-off program. The industry lobby group, funded by the likes of General Mills, WhiteWave, Organic Valley and Smucker’s, has been working the phone lines, robo-calling thousands of organic farmers across the country and urging them to watch their mail for informational materials detailing the purported benefits of the check-off and why the program’s assessment would be in the farmer’s interest.
The OTA, with hired help from a well-connected Washington lobbying and public relations firm, the Podesta Group, was able to insert a provision in the Farm Bill recently passed by Congress in February permitting creation of a USDA market order to assess participants in the organic industry for promotion/marketing campaigns and research projects. The OTA estimates that the proposal would raise $40 million to fund such efforts. The creation of an organic check-off requires a vote by industry participants with a two-thirds majority necessary for consideration of the marketing order by the USDA. Read Full Article »