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.

Stop Dow Chemical’s “Agent Orange” Crops

August 18th, 2014

Pesticide.NRCSOver a hundred million additional pounds of toxic pesticides associated with cancers and birth defects are coming to a field near you. UNLESS YOU STOP IT!

“Agent Orange” crops are genetically engineered by Dow Chemical to promote the use of 2,4-D, one of the herbicides in the toxic mixture Vietnam veteran’s know as Agent Orange. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is on the cusp of approval, even though they acknowledge the use of this toxic pesticide will skyrocket.  The USDA has opened one last comment period before its final approval of corn and soybeans genetically engineered with resistance to Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo™herbicide combo of 2,4-D and glyphosate.

There is a 30-day public comment period and it MIGHT BE OUR LAST CHANCE to stop this chemical assault – Sign the petition today!  We’ve posted a link to the USDA’s comment page from the Center for Food Safety.

The comment period closes Sept. 8, 2014.

And here’s a link to the formal comments filed with the USDA earlier by Cornucopia.

Invader Batters Rural America, Shrugging Off Herbicides

August 15th, 2014

New York Times
By Michael Wines

WHEATFIELD, Ind. — The Terminator — that relentless, seemingly indestructible villain of the 1980s action movie — is back. And he is living amid the soybeans at Harper Brothers Farms.


Image Source: Travis Legleiter, Purdue University

About 100 miles northwest of Indianapolis, amid 8,000 lush acres farmed by Dave Harper, his brother Mike and their sons, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of weeds refuses to die. Three growing seasons after surfacing in a single field, it is a daily presence in a quarter of the Harper spread and has a foothold in a third more. Its oval leaves and spindly seed heads blanket roadsides and jut above orderly soybean rows like skyscrapers poking through cloud banks. It shrugs off extreme drought and heat. At up to six inches in diameter, its stalk is thick enough to damage farm equipment.

“You swear that you killed it,” said Scott Harper, Dave Harper’s son and the farm’s 28-year-old resident weed expert. “And then it gets a little green on it, and it comes right back.”

Botanists call the weed palmer amaranth. But perhaps the most fitting, if less known, name is carelessweed. In barely a decade, it has devastated Southern cotton farms and is poised to wreak havoc in the Midwest — all because farmers got careless. Read Full Article »

USDA Clips Wings of Misleading Organic Marketers

August 14th, 2014

CORNUCOPIA, WIS: The USDA, today, announced to industry stakeholders that it would rein-in misleading language on organic packaging that all too often has been suspected of confusing consumers.

usda logoSpecifically, the agency addressed companies marketing food products that have the word “organic” or “organics” in their brand-name.

“Unless a food product is certified organic it cannot display, overtly, the word ‘organic’ on the front panel of the product,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector at The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog.

Some companies, such as Newman’s Own Organics, have been selling products that do not qualify for the use of the word organic on the front panel and are getting away with misleading messaging to consumers because they have used the word organic in their trade name.

In 2010 Cornucopia filed a formal legal complaint against Newman’s for selling such products as ginger cookies, using a lesser labeling category regulated by the USDA: Made with Organic Ingredients. The USDA dismissed this complaint without explanation.

At that time staff from Cornucopia also briefed USDA Deputy Administrator, Miles McEvoy, who heads the National Organic Program (NOP) on the organization’s concerns, in this matter, and also briefed members of the National Organic Standards Board. Read Full Article »

In the Whole World There’s Only Two Kinds of Power….

August 14th, 2014

In the whole world there’s only two kinds of power … Money and People.

And we have the People!

CI_100kFacebookLikes_1aPlease help Cornucopia crack the coveted 100,000 milestone by becoming a friend on Facebook and sharing our Facebook page with your friends, family and colleagues.

Together, farmers and consumers are the only antidote to corporate greed when it comes to protecting the organic label, organic food and organic agriculture.

Although the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and other prominent news outlets have all carried the work of The Cornucopia Institute, people power (social media) is so important.

Of our almost 100,000 Facebook friends, our collaborators are consistently sharing information from Cornucopia’s Facebook page with 50,000 to 150,000 of their friends each week.

And they, in turn, share our information with other friends. Last week we had a “reach” of 1.4 million Facebook users. Meaning, 1.4 million citizens had something from the Cornucopia Institute on their Facebook pages that week!

As important as it is appearing in the pages of the more liberal New York Times, or the more conservative Wall Street Journal, farmers and consumers are deciding on their own what information is of value — and we are all connected!

The Cornucopia Institute, like the organic farming movement itself, has supporters from all sides of the political spectrum. What we all agree upon is that organic food pays tremendous dividends to society and that authentic, nutrient-dense food protects and nurtures our families — and that’s worth protecting!

Would you please join with thousands of others in amplifying the voice of The Cornucopia Institute by connecting with us and promoting our Facebook page? Together, we can keep the organic label from being hijacked by giant corporations, and a complacent USDA, that seek to exploit its true meaning in pursuit of greater profit.

Sincerely yours,

Will Fantle, Codirector

SF Approves California’s First Tax Incentive for Urban Ag

August 13th, 2014

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager

Image Source:  John Sullivan

Image Source: John Sullivan

On July 29, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that created California’s first urban agriculture incentive zone. The new law allows a tax break for SF property owners who dedicate their land to agricultural use for at least five years. For more background on the legislation, see our earlier blog post.

The final legislation included a few important amendments and changes:

A threshold for revenue loss 
To ensure that the program doesn’t lead to large revenue losses for the city, the Board of Supervisors created a new threshold for review.  If a proposed contract would push the combined annual revenue loss from all incentive zone contracts over $250,000, the contract must go to the Board of Supervisors for review. This threshold is in addition to a $25,000 per parcel Read Full Article »

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