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 Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule Still Not in Place

November 17th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: After yet another delay of the proposed organic animal welfare rule, Representatives Pingree (D-ME), DeFazio (D-OR), and Kind (D-WI) released the statement printed in full below. Big Organic, and their bureaucratic and governmental supporters, have worked hard to stop the rule’s inception. While Cornucopia raised concerns about several inadequacies in the rule, it is difficult to condone the political campaign to stop its enactment and overrule the extensive review conducted by the National Organic Standards Board.

Reps. outraged at 3rd delay of organic rule
Morning Ag Clips

Rep. Chellie Pingree
Source: USDA

“This rule has already undergone over 10 years of public process and debate.”

U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Ron Kind, D-Wis., recently released the following statement on the third delay of USDA’s Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule:

We are outraged that USDA has delayed the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule for a third time. This is not regulation for regulation’s sake. This rule has already undergone over 10 years of public process and debate.

During USDA’s most recent public comment period on this rule, USDA asked commenters to choose one of four options: implement, suspend, delay or withdraw the rule. By USDA’s own admission, over 40,000 of the 47,000 total commenters supported implementing the rule immediately. Only one commenter suggested the rule should be delayed — yet, that is the option that USDA is moving forward with.

It is overwhelmingly clear that consumers expect high welfare standards for animals raised under organic practices. It is also clear that organic farmers need clarity and a level playing field. We should be doing everything we can to preserve integrity in the organic label, not jeopardizing consumer confidence by refusing to let OLPP take effect. We urge USDA to listen to the public and implement the rule immediately.

— The Offices of:
U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, Peter DeFazio and Ron Kind

Read Full Article »

American Prairies and Grasslands Disappearing Faster than Amazon Rainforest

November 17th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Conventional meat requires vast plots of feed, often grown using the most soil- and water-damaging agricultural practices ever used. Fertilizer runoff now taints the water of more than half of the U.S. population and is responsible for the largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone in history. Time to support organic farming – and take a minute to pressure Tyson, the largest purveyor of conventional meat in the country, to change its farming practices.

Tyson Foods Linked to the Largest Toxic Dead Zone in U.S. History
by Shana Gallagher / AlterNet

America’s largest meat producer must clean up its act.

Source: IITA

What comes to mind when you think of Tyson Foods? A chicken nugget? A big red logo?

How about the largest toxic dead zone in U.S. history? It turns out the meat industry—and corporate giants like Tyson Foods—are directly linked to this environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, and many others.

Industrial-scale agriculture to support America’s livestock is the number one source of water pollution in the country. But while industrial agriculture to feed animals raised for meat is currently resource-intensive and ecologically destructive, it doesn’t have to be. Solutions exist which, if adopted, would allow the meat industry and agricultural corporations that sustain it to reduce their impact on water and the planet.

That’s why Mighty Earth has launched the Clean It Up, Tyson campaign in order to hold this industry accountable to our communities and the environment. Corporations can and should respect the health and well-being of their customers, and the landscapes that allow them to profit. Considering America’s current political climate, and the increasing severity of environmental problems across the globe, collective action and corporate-targeted campaigns like this one have never been more urgent. Read Full Article »

Organic Pioneers Consider Leaving the Label

November 16th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: A spokesperson for hydroponic organics from the Recirculating Farms Coalition is quoted in the article below, describing the lack of vote against hydroponic growing in organics as “inclusive, not exclusive.” We heard this same language from National Organic Standards Board members during Cornucopia’s coverage of their meeting. This is a matter of discernment and not inclusivity: Hydroponics are a part of agriculture but not a part of organic agriculture.

Pioneers of organic farming are threatening to leave the program they helped create
The Washington Post
by Caitlin Dewey

The pioneers of the sustainable farming movement are mourning what they call the downfall of the organic program, following a Wednesday night vote by a group of government farming advisers that could determine the future of the $50 billion organic industry.

Pioneers of organic farming heading to a rally to “keep the soil in organic”
at the recent NOSB meeting in Jacksonville, Florida

At issue was whether a booming generation of hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic farms — which grow plants in nutrients without using soil, frequently indoors — could continue to sell their produce under the “organic” label.

In a series of narrow votes, an advisory board to the U.S. Department of Agriculture voted to allow the majority of these operators to remain a part of the organic program, dealing a blow to the movement’s early leaders.

Organic pioneers have argued that including hydroponic produce under the label has undermined the integrity of the program they fought decades to establish, and at a time when it is already under intense scrutiny. Some have said they will consider leaving the USDA-regulated program entirely. Read Full Article »

Demand Real Organic Food from Real Organic Farmers

November 14th, 2017

[Download the proxy here.]

Sign the Proxy Asking Major Retailers to Offer Genuine Organic Choices 

We need the stores we shop at to quit trying to sell us fake organic food from inhumane livestock factories, masquerading as organic, or hydroponic vegetables fertilized with conventional soybeans and grown in ground up coconut waste … or even ground up recycled plastic!

Top retailers like Whole Foods Markets, Costco, Target, Safeway, Walmart, and Kroger must be convinced to provide choices in their grocery aisles for authentic, nutrient-dense organic food grown in rich, carefully stewarded soil.

If the nutrients are not in our soil, they are not in our food …. and they are not in our families! Factory farm meat, dairy and egg production, and fruits and vegetables grown without soil rich in humus result in inferior flavor and nutrition.

Increasingly, grocery aisles are filled with faux organics brought to consumers by corporations that are selling out the true meaning of organics.  Read Full Article »

California Seeks to Protect Children at School from Pesticides

November 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: A new law in California prohibits agricultural chemical spraying within a quarter mile of any school from 6AM to 6PM during school days, beginning in 2018. A local Farm Bureau spokesperson claims that there needs to be more consideration about where schools are placed moving forward. The pesticides of concern are not allowed for use in organic agriculture.

California bans use of some farming pesticides near schools on weekdays
Los Angeles Times
by Associated Press

Source: Steve Langguth

California will restrict farmers’ use of certain pesticides near schools and day-care centers under a new rule announced this week that regulators said is among the toughest in the U.S.

Under the new rule, California farmers will be prohibited from spraying pesticides within a quarter of a mile of public K-12 schools and licensed day-care centers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school week, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation said in a statement.

The new regulations take effect Jan. 1 and apply to crop dusters flying over fields, air blasters spraying orchards and fumigants along with most dust and powder pesticides that could be blown onto school grounds by the wind.

“These rules will help to further protect the health of children, teachers and school staff from unintended pesticide exposure,” Brian Leahy, the department’s director, said in the statement. Read Full Article »

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