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.
October 16th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: In response to the co-option of the word “sustainable” and the increasing threats to the integrity of the organic label, Rodale and a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists, and brands are creating an “add-on” certification. The ‘Regenerative Organic Certified’ label will go beyond the current organic standards to ensure that consumers have access to foods that were produced with the integrity they are looking for. It remains unclear whether additional labels in this label-heavy industry will be well-understood.
A New Food Label Is Coming Soon and It Goes ‘Beyond Organic’
by Ronnie Cummins
Conscious consumers won’t have to wait much longer for clear guidance on how to buy food and other products that are not only certified organic, but also certified regenerative.
On Wednesday, the Rodale Institute unveiled draft standards for a new Regenerative Organic Certification, developed by Rodale and a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists and brands.
When finalized, the certification will go “beyond organic” by establishing higher standards for soil health and land management, animal welfare and farmer and worker fairness.
Organic Consumer Association and our Regeneration International project, fully embrace this new venture to make organic more climate friendly, humane, just and environmentally positive. As we’ve said before, when it comes to food and farming—and as we veer toward climate catastrophe—”sustainable” doesn’t cut it anymore. And certified USDA organic, though far better than GMO, chemical and energy-intensive agriculture, doesn’t go quite far enough. Read Full Article »
October 16th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: This article first appeared in the NODPA News, published by the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, and is written by its executive director Ed Maltby. His essay is a comprehensive overview of the current environment in organic agriculture. As Ed notes below, if we work together and educate ourselves, we can more effectively work within the regulatory process to preserve the integrity of the organic label.
Organics Under Attack
by Ed Maltby
The integrity of the USDA Organic program is currently in a precarious position. It is under attack from Congress, the NOP, and from organic advocates. The organic dairy pay price, and subsequently family farm income, is collapsing under the strain of a surplus brought on by poor supply management by milk buyers, poor implementation of existing regulation by the NOP and certifiers, and the failure of the NOP to pass regulations to uphold the integrity of the organic standards. The unique process of organic certification that has held consumer confidence and allowed organic products to stand out in the marketplace is also under attack and the results could well be more long-term and devastating than a drop in pay price.
The threats come from three distinct areas: the 2018 Farm Bill; from the bureaucratic inertia at the NOP; and by single-issue organic advocates who are looking to bypass the established process and change regulations through Congressional action. This article will explore how and why these areas of threat are so important because the defense of organic integrity and the changes to Federal regulations happen in many different ways and we all need to understand how an action in one area will affect a possible solution in another. Read Full Article »
October 13th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: Organic apples are healthy for your family and the planet – and you may be able to buy them from a local farmer! You can look for farmers near you on Local Harvest’s website.
5 Reasons You Should Always Buy Organic Apples
Rodale’s Organic Life
by Stephanie Eckelkamp
More antioxidants, less toxic pesticides, and better flavor, for starters.
It’s peak apple season—that magnificent time of year when we come home with bushels of Cortlands, Empires, and McIntosh and morph them into everything from apple butter and sauce to pies and crisps (in addition to eating them in their delicious, unadulterated glory, of course).
But depending on how they’re grown, apples can have a dark side—for one, conventional apples are one of the most pesticide-loaded crops out there. (Learn why the apples we eat today are nothing like the ones our grandparents enjoyed.)
So before you choose any old bag of apples at your grocery store or farmers’ market, or a pick-your-own orchard, consider the fact that organic apples are not only a superior choice for your personal health, but the health of the planet. Read Full Article »
October 13th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: Carey Gillam has been reporting on agricultural pesticides and Monsanto for two decades. Her new book, Whitewash, is the culmination of her years of investigation into Monsanto and their cornerstone pesticide, Roundup.
Monsanto’s ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Deception Exposed in ‘Whitewash’
by Stacy Malkan
Carey Gillam’s new book is available now from Island Press: Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science.
Gilliam’s Whitewash is a hard-hitting investigation into the most widely used agrichemical in history, based on 20 years of research and scores of internal industry documents. For decades, glyphosate has been lauded as the chemical that’s “safe enough to drink,” but a growing body of scientific research ties glyphosate to cancers and a host of other health and environmental threats.
Whitewash is a “must-read,” sayid Booklist. Kirkus Reviews called Whitewash a “hard-hitting, eye-opening narrative,” and a “forceful argument for an agricultural regulatory environment that puts public interest above corporate profits.”
Q: Carey, you’ve been reporting on pesticides and Monsanto for nearly 20 years. As a journalist, why was it important to write a book about the topic? Why now?
A: Health experts around the world recognize that pesticides are a big contributor to a range of health problems suffered by people of all ages, but a handful of very powerful and influential corporations have convinced policy makers that the risks to human and environmental health are well worth the rewards that these chemicals bring in terms of fighting weeds, bugs or plant diseases. These corporations are consolidating and becoming ever more powerful, and are using their influence to push higher and higher levels of many dangerous pesticides into our lives, including into our food system. We have lost a much-needed sense of caution surrounding these chemicals, and Monsanto’s efforts to promote increased uses of glyphosate is one of the best examples of how this corporate pursuit of profits has taken priority over protection of the public. Read Full Article »
October 12th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: Bioversity International’s new report describes how biological diversity of food can help nourish the world, rather than just feed the world. This distinction is becoming increasingly important as scientists and consumers question the nutrient density of our food.
Tutwiler: “Agrobiodiversity holds the key to future food security
Bioversity International released a new report analyzing how agrobiodiversity, or the biological diversity of food, can improve food system resilience, sustainability, and nutrition. Titled “Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems,” the 200-page report outlines how biodiversity can help us produce foods that are both nutritious and sustainable.
“Agrobiodiversity—the edible plant and animal species that feed each and every one of us—holds the key to future food security,” said Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International, “But we are failing to protect it, and tap into its potential to transform our food system for the better.”
Bioversity International is a research-for-development organization focused on preserving agricultural and tree biodiversity as a means of improving nutrition security, promoting sustainable agriculture, and adapting to climate change. They are a CGIAR Research Center, part of a global food security research partnership. Bioversity works with partners in low-income countries to disseminate scientific evidence, management practices, and policies that protect biodiversity. The report focuses on healthy diets (nutrition), production (sustainability), seed systems (food security), and conservation (resilience). Read Full Article »