Cornucopia News Archive

Research Details Deluge of Spending by Opponents of GMO Labeling

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Final Infographic Spotlights Dueling Food Brands on Colorado and Oregon Initiatives

For the third election cycle in a row, biotech corporations and large agribusinesses narrowly defeated statewide citizen initiatives that would have mandated the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients on food packages. This time the electoral showdowns took place in Oregon, where it was narrowly defeated, and Colorado where the loss was decisive after labeling backers chose to focus their resources on Oregon.

As in past campaigns in California (2012) and Washington (2013), the votes sparked a high-stakes bidding war pitting consumer and farmer advocates against multi-billion-dollar biotechnology interests and food industry giants.

Corporate opponents of labeling contributed unprecedented amounts of money in Oregon to narrowly push the No vote, ever so marginally, over the 50% mark.

The Cornucopia Institute has released an updated infographic that examines the final dollar totals spent on the state referendums.  Read Full Article »

Organic Industry Watchdog Expands Membership Base and Staffing

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

The Cornucopia Institute Adds Jérôme Rigot, Ph.D. as Policy Analyst

Jérôme Rigot, Ph.D.

The Cornucopia Institute announced that it has added to its staff Dr. Jérôme Rigot, a Maine-based agricultural researcher and organic certification professional, with broad experience in organic farming, specialty crop production, composting and the culinary arts. Dr. Rigot holds a doctorate in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from the University of California at Davis. The focus of his dissertation was soil bioremediation. He did postdoctoral research at Ohio State University, where he worked on the optimization of the composting process and led a project looking at the microbial diversity in conventional versus organically managed soils. Dr. Rigot’s strong scientific background and his rich and varied experience adds to Cornucopia’s diverse knowledge base in farm and food policy and agricultural economics. Read Full Article »

Leading Wisconsin Farm Group Rejects Industry-Led “Organic Check-off”

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Grassroots Farmers Rebuff “Robin Hood in Reverse” Proposal
from Corporate Lobby Group

WFUlogoWisconsin Farmers Union members overwhelmingly voted no on the proposed organic check-off program at their recent annual convention, held in Eau Claire, Wis.  The scheme, being advocated by the industry’s largest lobby group, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), would create a mandatory tax on farmers, food processors, distributors and retailers engaged in organic commerce.  Although estimates vary, the $20-$40 million revenue generated would be earmarked for research and promotion related to organics.  The Farmers Union rejection is noteworthy because it comes out of the state with the second largest number of organic farmers and the greatest number of organic livestock producers in the country.

If the OTA is successful in convincing the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, that there is widespread support for their proposal, the check-off would be put to a vote of organic stakeholders requiring approval by two-thirds of organic farmers and other industry participants.  However, the recent Farmers Union vote, in Wisconsin, casts doubt over whether widespread support truly exists in the farming community.  Read Full Article »

Remembering Jerry Brunetti

Monday, January 12th, 2015

jerry-kittensMany people have been touched by Jerry Brunetti’s educational work on soil health and animal nutrition (and their impact on human health) over the years.

Jerry was a long time Cornucopia member, supporter and a friend.

Someone Jerry was very close to, and a mutual friend, Will Winter DVM, has written an eloquent, short tribute to Jerry that, if you knew him, I’m sure you will want to read.  We have also put together a slideshow that, I think, captures a modicum of Jerry’s oversized love of life, animals and other people.  Click here for the tribute and slideshow.

If you are interested in doing so, a link at the end of the article will enable you to contribute to a memorial fund in Jerry’s name benefiting PASA.

Mark A. Kastel
Codirector – The Cornucopia Institute Read Full Article »

Tribally Supported Agriculture

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

By Melody Morrell

It is likely you have heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), but how about Tribally Supported Agriculture (TSA)? The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) in Minnesota started planting their Wozupi (“garden” in Dakotah) in 2010, providing certified organic, locally grown whole foods to the surrounding community using fair labor practices and environmentally sustainable methods.

Wozupi Tribal Gardens has 12 acres
under organic cultivation.

Today, there are 12 acres under cultivation, providing heirloom and tribally significant crops including vegetables, herbs, and fruit through their TSA, farmers market, and natural food market, Mazopiya. Bees, goats, and chickens thrive, and maple sap becomes syrup.

“Wozupi is seen as a community service,” says Director Rebecca Yoshino. The gardens provide produce at deep discounts to the tribe’s casino restaurants and all community-operated departments (Educare, Education, Health and Wellness, and Mazopiya). They donate TSA shares to Scott County Native American families identified by SMSC’s Family and Children Services department, and make weekly donations to the local food shelf. A prescription fruit and vegetable program is also being discussed. Read Full Article »