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.

CSAs Band Together to Develop a Charter

February 22nd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: CSAs allow you to purchase a share in a local farm and receive a weekly portion of the farm’s harvest throughout a season in exchange. Most CSAs are owned and operated by a farmer directly, but some are aggregators who re-sell food from multiple, not necessarily local, farms for profit. This charter is an excellent step towards transparency among CSAs.

Launch Date Approaches for Historic CSA Farm Charter in the USA and Canada
by Elizabeth Henderson

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms across the United States and Canada are setting roots more deeply in the land as they unite under a community-developed CSA Charter that provides a clear definition of what CSA is all about.

With 30 years of history and development, over 7,500 healthy, sustainable community farms have been established in the US, and many thousands more in Canada. These sustainable farms are directly networked with hundreds of thousands of households in the towns and cities where they are based and provide weekly shares of fresh, healthy, locally-grown food.

Together, regional networks and independent CSAs in the USA and Canada are banding together to launch an innovative and strengthening Charter for CSAs.  The Charter will be inaugurated on CSA Sign-up Day, February 24, 2017. Read Full Article »

EU Report Says Organic Diet Reduces Harmful Pesticide Exposure

February 21st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: A report commissioned by the European Parliament states that people eating an organic diet are subjected to fewer, and lower levels of, harmful pesticides. The report recommended organic food for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Antibiotics, which are a growing concern in the age of super-bugs, are restricted in organic livestock, and organic crops contain less of the heavy metal cadmium. This report confirms, again, what is common knowledge among people who eat organic food: Organic agriculture provides a haven from dangerous pesticides.

Organic food: panacea for health? The Lancet editorial touts EU organic food diet study
Sustainable Food News


Organic food is embraced by many as part of a healthy lifestyle, according to an editorial in The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals.

“This month’s vegetable shortages and price increases in the United Kingdom were attributed to bad weather in Spain, outlining how important sustainable agricultural policy is to health with the changing availability of food sources,” the editorial said. “Currently, the European Union accounts for 24 percent of the world’s organic land, with the global organic market expected to increase by 2.5 times to $200 billion by 2020.” Read Full Article »

Attorneys Allege EPA Colluded with Monsanto

February 20th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Non Hodgkin lymphoma sufferers have sued Monsanto for covering up evidence concerning Roundup’s relationship to cancer. The plaintiff’s attorneys have submitted a 2013 letter from an EPA scientist to a top-ranking EPA official, accusing the official of favoring the industry and intimidating staff.  All too often, the regulated control what the regulators do.

Questions about EPA-Monsanto collusion raised in cancer lawsuits
The Huffington Post
by Carey Gillam

Source: USDA

Now it’s getting interesting.

A new court filing made on behalf of dozens of people claiming Monsanto Co.’s Roundup herbicide gave them cancer includes information about alleged efforts within the Environmental Protection Agency to protect Monsanto’s interests and unfairly aid the agrichemical industry.

The filing, made late Friday by plaintiff’s attorneys, includes what the attorneys represent to be correspondence from a 30-year career EPA scientist accusing top-ranking EPA official Jess Rowland of playing “your political conniving games with the science” to favor pesticide manufacturers such as Monsanto. Rowland oversaw the EPA’s cancer assessment for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s weed-killing products, and was a key author of a report finding glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic. But in the correspondence, longtime EPA toxicologist Marion Copley cites evidence from animal studies and writes: “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.”

Read Full Article »

Important Pet Food News

February 20th, 2017

In light of the recent discovery of pentobarbital (a drug used for euthanasia ) in select lots of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food, Cornucopia has temporarily suspended the Evanger’s rating on our Pet Food Guide, pending further investigation.

While this brand did meet our initial criteria for a very positive rating, we feel that this situation raises questions about the quality of their ingredients sourcing and integrity and we await the results of an ongoing FDA investigation. None of their organic products are currently a part of the recall. Read Full Article »

Showdown at the Organic Corral

February 15th, 2017

Dueling Corporate Interests Wait to See What the New Trump/Perdue Administration Will Do with the Pending Updates to Organic Animal Welfare Standards

 Industry watchdog releases detailed analysis of pending rule

One of the pending regulations released in the final days of the Obama administration, and put on hold by the Trump White House, was an already controversial rule that pits legitimate family-scale organic farmers against the operators of “factory farms” that had already been accused of violating existing organic animal welfare standards.  A newly released analysis by a prominent organic industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, explains what is at stake and why economically powerful forces in organics are squawking, principally, over new space requirements proposed for chickens.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule was published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, and amends current organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The new rule adds provisions for livestock handling, avian living conditions, and transport for slaughter, and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices.  It includes mandates for the care of cattle, hogs, and poultry.

“The new rulemaking was in response to a more than decade-long controversy about concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, confining as many as two million laying hens on a single ‘farm’ without the legally mandated access to the outdoors,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.  “This rule neither solves the problem nor makes any faction in the industry happy,” Kastel added.

Herbruck’s “organic” poultry operation in Saranac, Michigan

Read Full Article »

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