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.

‘Organic’ Disappears From Some Menus

July 24th, 2014

Market research shows organic claims have dropped on restaurant menus, which may reflect the profusion of other claims in the food industry.

‘Green noise’ confuses consumers, research finds

Capital Press
By Mateusz Perkowski

Credit: Zigzag240

Restaurateurs are reducing organic claims on their menus in favor of claims related to geography, allergens and other features, according to market research.

The term “organic” remains the top ethical claim on restaurant menus but its usage has dropped 28 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to the Mintel market research firm.

Meanwhile, menus are more likely to contain claims like “gluten-free” that provide nutritional information or details about where products were grown, according to Mintel. Read Full Article »

Lack of Transparency Fuels Corruption Allegations in Organic Governance

July 23rd, 2014

USDA Asked to Make Public All Nominations
to National Organic Standards Board

 Industry Watchdog Releases List of Known NOSB Applicants

usda logoThe Cornucopia Institute has called upon USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to make public all candidates for appointment to fill the four vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  The NOSB, a 15-member board of organic stakeholders representing farmer, consumer, environmental, retail, scientific, certifying and organic food processing interests, was established by Congress to advise the USDA on organic food and agriculture policies and review materials allowed for use in organic food production and processing.

Past investigations by The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, found that prior appointments, during the Bush and Obama administrations, violated the letter of the law, and congressional intent, by appointing agribusiness executives to fill slots on the NOSB reserved for farmers and other independent stakeholders.  Public interest groups have suggested that these extra agribusiness representatives on the board have voted in favor of weakening the organic standards.

“Transparency has been a hallmark of organic food and agriculture.  We think that letting the organic community know who has applied for the vacant positions will allow for feedback and help the Secretary make the best possible appointments,” said Cornucopia’s Will Fantle, the organic industry watchdog organization’s Codirector.  Read Full Article »

Organic Seed Survey

July 23rd, 2014

National Organic Coalition

Credit: KoS

The National Organic Coalition (NOC) encourages your participation in a national seed survey conducted by Organic Seed Alliance. This survey is conducted every five years to monitor organic seed availability and use, challenges in sourcing organic seed, and organic plant breeding needs, among other topics that inform the organic community’s understanding of the barriers and opportunities in improving organic seed systems in the U.S. If you are a certified organic crop producer, please take this survey.

Your responses are voluntary and will be held confidential by Organic Seed Alliance. NOC will not see your responses. Your responses will not be identified by individual or farm. All responses will be compiled and analyzed as a group. You can access the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QQ73TMW. Read Full Article »

Walmarting Organics: Will the Growth of “Big Organic” Lower Food Quality, Weaken Standards, and Destroy Farmers’ Livelihoods?

July 22nd, 2014

Commentary by Mark Kastel

walmart low prices b&wAs Yogi Berra said, “It seems like déjà vu all over again.” In 2006 The Cornucopia Institute released a report accusing Walmart of cheapening the value of the organic label by sourcing products from industrial-scale factory farms and developing countries, including China.

At the time, Walmart announced that they would greatly increase the number of organic products they offered and price them at a target of 10% above the cost for conventional food. They failed miserably at that first attempt, eventually removing many of the organic items from their stores.

This past May, Walmart announced they will once again enter the organic arena, in earnest, with the goal of eliminating the premium price for organic food.

Since the announcement, Cornucopia has received numerous press inquiries asking if Walmart’s organic expansion is “good news or bad news” for the industry. My stock answer has been, as it was in 2006: If Walmart lends their logistical prowess to organic food, both farmers and consumers will be big winners by virtue of a more competitive marketplace. However, if the company applies their standard business model, and in essence Walmarts organics, then everyone will lose. Read Full Article »

Monsanto Visits Local School for 47 Minute Propaganda Presentation

July 21st, 2014

Natural Society
by Christina Sarich

Credit: Lexie Flickinger

As if the mis-education of our youth wasn’t already a huge issue, guess what your tax dollars are now paying for? Monsanto is visiting local schools to tell twelve year olds all about the ‘good’ they are doing in the world as an ‘agricultural leader.’ As NaturalBlaze puts it, we’re not mentioning this to ‘attack’ schools for allowing Monsanto to ‘infiltrate’, but rather to let you know that Monsanto could very well be coming to a school near you.

One parent filmed his son when he returned from school recently to report that Monsanto had taken over his gym class, showed a power point presentation and passed out a deck of playing cards to students with the Monsanto logo emblazoned on it. Each card had a contrived fact on it, one stated, “the US produces 30% of the world’s soybeans.” Obviously there were no cards that told the truth about what Monsanto does – namely illegally profiting by taking over seed production all over the world and sewing genetically altered crops that require ever-increasing amounts of cancer-causing glyphosate to grow. Read Full Article »

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