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.

Consumers Tasked with Telling Truth from Propaganda

January 22nd, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: As the organic industry continues to grow, Big Ag has an ever-greater stake in casting organics as elitist, foolish, and even dangerous. U.S. Right to Know outs propagandists, helping the public understand the major issues in the food industry. Cornucopia offers scorecards, on the scorecard tab at the top of this page, to guide consumers in supporting the highest-integrity organic farms.

Fighting “Fake News” About Organic Food
Public News Service
by Trimmel Gomes

Source: LexnGer

As if dredged out of the pages of the tobacco industry’s marketing playbook, an investigative journalist and author says there’s a robust campaign underway to downplay the benefits of organic agriculture.

Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the group U.S. Right to Know, says so-called fake news is being generated about organic foods, and big corporations in agriculture are engineering some of their own facts about the long-term impacts of genetically-modified foods.

Malkan says the results leave consumers at risk.

“And a lot of times, they’re really attacking scientists, consumer groups, media reporters – anyone who’s really presenting the information about the risks associated with this kind of farming,” she states. Read Full Article »

Government Shutdown Closes National Organic Program

January 22nd, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The latest round of politics in Washington, DC has led to a government shutdown. The entire organic program is currently suspended. Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency offices are either closed or offering only partial services to farmers who are planning for next season. Farm loans and other governmental financial assistance are unavailable to farmers as well.

Government shutdown: Here’s what’s open, closed in USDA
by AgDaily Reporters

USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue
Source: USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has outlined what USDA services are available during the government shutdown.

“USDA is committed to safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide – and should the government shut down, we will continue to do just that,” said Secretary Perdue. “I am proud of each USDA employee for everything they do to benefit the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our services. It is their mission each day to fulfill our USDA motto, ‘Do right and feed everyone.’”

While you may click HERE to view USDA’s lapse in funding plans, background information on USDA services available in the event of a government shutdown are below: Read Full Article »

Walmart Sued for Selling “Organic” Factory-Farmed Eggs

January 19th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Walmart has been sued for selling eggs that purport to come from hens with access to the outdoors when the hens actually only have limited access to cement-floored, screened porches. Cornucopia has filed several formal complaints about operations using these porches as outdoor access. Use our organic egg scorecard to determine which eggs in your grocery store were produced with the highest integrity.

Is Walmart defrauding consumers into spending more for “organic” eggs?
The New Food Economy
by Lynne Curry

While the USDA wavers on organic egg laws, consumers are taking matters into their own hands with a new lawsuit against the retail giant.

Cal-Maine’s Kansas operation,
screened porches visible
(click on image to enlarge)

For a year, Pittsburg, California resident Donnie Lee Gibson regularly bought organic eggs at his East Bay Walmart store. At $3.97 a dozen, the Organic Marketside brand cost him about a dollar more than cage-free Marketside. The difference was that the organic label stated that the laying hens were raised “with outdoor access.” Like the growing number of eaters concerned about farm animal welfare, Gibson paid attention to the labels and chose to pay a premium for the organic eggs.

Only it wasn’t true, at least not in the way most of us would understand outdoor access. Produced for Walmart’s private label by Cal-Maine Foods in Chase, Kansas, the hens lived in industrial, multi-story barns with tiny portholes and long ramps to access enclosed porches. No soil or vegetation. No fresh air or sunshine. Read Full Article »

Cornucopia at the MOSES Conference, February 22 – 24 in LaCrosse, WI

January 19th, 2018

The MOSES Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin is the largest organic farming conference in the country, taking place February 22-24:

The MOSES conference attracts thousands of participants and includes keynote speeches, 66 workshops, music/dances/socializing, organic meals and, most importantly, the ability for us all to rub shoulders where a lot of good knowledge and information rubs off.

Workshops run the gamut of interesting topics, including one on fraudulent organic imports with John Bobbe of OFARM, Thea O’Carroll of YieldOrganic, Carmen Fernholz of A Frame Farms, and Bob Stuczynski of Stuczynski Family Farms.

A number of key Cornucopia staff members will be in town from around the country (Colorado, California, Mississippi and Michigan – not to mention Minnesota and Wisconsin) they would enjoy and benefit from meeting you and hearing your stories and questions.

Cornucopia will have a booth in the trade show (#312), and we hope to see our friends there! Read Full Article »

Pesticides Allowed by Pruitt Endanger Salmon and Humans

January 18th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: New research shows that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are washing into streams and rivers and making wildlife sick. Based on years of research by the EPA, chlorpyrifos was to be banned from agricultural use, until the Trump administration reversed the decision. These pesticides are prohibited in organic agriculture.

Government Scientists Say A Controversial Pesticide Is Killing Endangered Salmon
NPR – The Salt
by Dan Charles

Source: USFWS Alaska

The federal government’s top fisheries experts say that three widely used pesticides — including the controversial insecticide chlorpyrifos — are jeopardizing the survival of many species of salmon, as well as orcas that feed on those salmon.

It’s a fresh attack on a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency was ready to take off the market a year ago — until the Trump administration changed course.

Chlorpyrifos is widely used by farmers to protect crops like strawberries, broccoli and citrus fruit from insect pests. In recent years, though, scientists have found evidence that exposure to chlorpyrifos residues can harm the developing brains of small children, even in the womb.

Two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposal that would have stopped farmers from using chlorpyrifos. The final decision, however, fell to the Trump administration, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to keep the chemical on the market while the agency continues to study its risks.

Read Full Article »

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