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.

A Step Towards Truly Raw Almonds

July 21st, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Since 2007 the USDA mandate for pasteurized raw almonds has meant that California-grown raw almonds are no longer truly raw. They must be treated with a toxic fumigant classified as a possible carcinogen (propylene oxide) or heated with steam. Newly introduced radio frequency technology may be a game-changer for growers and consumers.

Organic raw almond producer first to use new pasteurization process
Sustainable Food News

Source: I_Nneska

California’s 2016 almond crop forecast to yield 2 bil’ lbs.

The Almond Board of California (ABC) has approved a non-roasting bulk pasteurization process for raw almonds at Sran Family Orchards, a producer of organic and conventional almonds in Kerman, Calif.

The ABC’s Technical Expert Review Panel (TERP) has certified RF Biocidics’ APEX 85 chemical-free, pasteurization system that uses radio frequency technology to significantly reduce the level of harmful pathogens in raw almonds. Read Full Article »

Major Food Brands Paying Farmers to Transition to Organic to Meet Consumer Demand

July 21st, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: The growing consumer hunger for organics has made organics a $43 billion a year business. As shortages appear, more farmers look to transition to organics. While they wrestle with changing agricultural practices, corporations are scrambling to find supplies – sometimes in the U.S. and increasingly from abroad.

Paying Farmers to Go Organic, Even Before the Crops Come In
The New York Times
by Stephanie Strom

Source: Oregon Dept. Of Agriculture

DENAIR, Calif. — The last time Wendell Naraghi tried to make money from organic nuts, in the 1980s, he failed miserably.

“Basically, we stopped because no one paid me,” said Mr. Naraghi, whose father started the family’s large nut orchards here in the Central Valley in the 1940s. “There just was no market premium for organic.”

Today, the problem is turned upside down: Companies can’t get enough organic ingredients to satisfy consumer desire for organic and nongenetically modified foods. The demand for those crops outstrips the supply, leaving farmers like Mr. Naraghi racing to convert their land to organic production, an arduous and expensive process. Read Full Article »

Barren Fields Inoculated with Healthy Soil Can Heal

July 20th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Small amounts of healthy soil can help revive barren land. What processes cause the increase in nematodes, bacteria, and fungi remain unclear. The study reaffirms the importance of soil in organic production.

Soil ‘booster shots’ could turn barren lands green
by Elizabeth Pennisi


Want to make your barren yard lush again? Just add a bit of soil from your local meadow. A new study reveals that the addition of foreign soil—and more importantly, the organisms it contains—can shape which plants will grow in the future. Such “inoculations” could even help bring back fallow farmlands and turn deserts green.

“This is a really cool and remarkable study,” says Harsh Bais, a root biologist at the University of Delaware, Newark, who was not involved in the work. “Dirt matters.” Read Full Article »

Checkoff Programs May Have Some Checks and Balances

July 20th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Bloated administrative expenses, lack of accountability, and a failure to produce tangible benefits for farmers are longstanding concerns with commodity checkoff programs. These failings and abuses are among the reasons that Cornucopia and other organizations oppose the proposal by the Organic Trade Association for an organic checkoff program.

Senators Introduce Bill To Halt Anticompetitive Activities Of USDA Checkoff Programs
by Nancy Fink Huehnergarth

Egg JackHaskell
Source: Jack Haskell

July 14, 2016 – Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) this morning introduced the Commodity Checkoff Program Improvement Act of 2016 that would require a new level of transparency and oversight for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) checkoff boards. The bill would prohibit checkoff programs from engaging in anticompetitive activities or disparaging rival products or commodities. Read Full Article »

GMOs: The One Thing You Can Do While Obama Considers Vetoing Non-Labeling Legislation

July 19th, 2016

[Read the letters calling for a presidential veto below.]

Veto DonkeyHotey
Source: DonkeyHotey

President Obama has yet to sign the toothless GMO food labeling bill passed by Congress.  If you already called the President, or signed one of the “unofficial” petitions, urging him to veto the bill you still have one more chance to influence him.  Please sign the official We the People petition to the White House today urging President Obama to veto this bill.

Since Friday, pressure has been mounting for a veto.  These include:

  • A letter from the National Organic Coalition (including Cornucopia) calling for a veto.
  • A letter from 286 groups and organizations (including Cornucopia) urging a veto.
  • A letter from Jesse Jackson and Rainbow/Push asking for a veto.
  • More than 200,000 names (maybe including yours) on the other organizations’ petitions calling for a veto.

Act today.  Make sure the President knows that you want him to veto the toothless GMO food labeling bill.  If we get this up to 100,000 signatories, the president has committed to respond. Let’s put him on the spot!

sign petition button

We need about 30,000 more folks immediately! Please sign the White House petition before he signs the agribusiness/biotechnology-friendly legislation that does away with our ability to choose our food.

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