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.

New Prague Organic Dairy Affected by CapX2020 Closes

January 15th, 2015

Star Tribune
by Emma Nelson

MinarsCedar Summit Farms is closing after winning a suit requiring that utilities buy farmland.

Cedar Summit Farm, a family-run dairy famous for its creamy organic milk from grass-fed cows, is closing.

The Minar family, which farmed the land in New Prague since 1926, had been locked in a lawsuit with a utilities coalition that planted power lines across their dairy farm. The Minars argued the CapX2020 power lines would ruin the dairy, and in August a judge said the utilities coalition needed to buy the whole farm if the Minars wanted out.

Other farms along the power line had been watching the case and may follow suit, invoking Minnesota’s “Buy the Farm” law. Read Full Article »

Anti-GMO Measure Qualifies for May Ballot

January 14th, 2015

Corvallis Gazette-Times
by Bennett Hall

Benton Food Freedom

Voters in the May election will be asked to determine the future of genetically engineered crops in Benton County.

An initiative that would ban the planting of genetically modified organisms or patented seeds has qualified for the May 19 ballot.

Backers of the anti-GMO ballot measure, known as the Local Food System Ordinance, turned in initiative petitions with more than 3,000 signatures last month, and Elections Supervisor Jeff Doty has ruled that 2,658 were valid.

Under state election law, supporters needed the signatures of at least 2,171 Benton County voters, or 6 percent of the number who cast a ballot in the last gubernatorial election, Doty said. He added that the measure would be assigned a number on Friday. Read Full Article »

GMO Potatoes Have Arrived. But Will Anyone Buy Them?

January 14th, 2015

NPR
by Dan Charles

Source: The Daily Call

On the face of it, the new potato varieties called “Innate” seem attractive. If you peel the brown skin off their white flesh, you won’t find many unsightly black spots. And when you fry them, you’ll probably get a much smaller dose of a potentially harmful chemical.

But here’s the catch: Some of the biggest potato buyers in the country, such as Frito-Lay and McDonald’s, seem afraid to touch these potatoes. Others don’t even want to talk about them because they are genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The potatoes aren’t yet on the market (more about that later). So to get a sneak peek at them I paid a visit to Michigan State University and its top potato breeder, David Douches.

Douches is a lean and focused man, in constant motion. He’s been working with potatoes for most of his adult life. It is, you might say, a committed but high-maintenance relationship.

Douches fell for the potato 32 years ago, when he was in graduate school. It seemed like “a beautiful plant to work with,” he says. It also feeds a lot of people. According to the International Potato Center, the potato is the world’s third-most-important food crop. “I felt that when I work on something like this, it could have a large impact,” Douches says. Read Full Article »

A Young Generation Sees Greener Pastures In Agriculture

January 13th, 2015

NPR
by Jennifer Mitchell

Source: In My Backyard Misty Hollow,
Sally Hammerman

America’s heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 — and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.

Overall, fewer young people are choosing a life on the land. But in some places around the country, like Maine, that trend is reversing. Small agriculture may be getting big again — and there’s a new crop of farmers to thank for it.

Fulfilling Work, Noble Work

On a windy hillside just a few miles from Maine’s rocky mid-coast, it’s 10 degrees; snow is crunching underfoot. Hairy highland cattle munch on flakes of hay and native Katahdin sheep are mustered in a white pool just outside the fence. Not far away, heritage chickens scuttle about a mobile poultry house that looks a bit like a Conestoga wagon. Read Full Article »

U.S Organic Dairy Politics: Animals, Pasture, People and Agribusiness

January 13th, 2015

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan– a division of St. Martin’s Press (in the US)

A review by James Goodman

DairyBookGraphicBruce Scholten’s in-depth and thoughtful analysis of U.S. organic dairy politics begins with his own memories of growing up on a Washington State dairy farm. From what was common in his childhood, small dairy farms operated by multi-generational family labor, pasturing their cattle, building the soil and supporting local communities, Scholten shows the reader how things have changed over the past five decades.

Scholten exposes the system that has come to control and victimize the farmer (both conventional and organic), the animals, the environment and the consumer. Noting that “Get big or get out” — the exhortation of Earl Butz — set the stage for the shift of agriculture from small family dairy farms to “mega-dairies,” Scholten clearly explains how this shift was made using government policy, driven by corporations that have taken control of markets, of seeds and even of the simple ethical principles that had been a safeguard for the environment and the animals with whom we are so interdependent. Read Full Article »

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