The Cornucopia Institute welcomes three new members to its staff and leadership. The two new policy advisors and one new staff member will work to uphold organic and local food and farming in the face of mounting organic industry fraud and industrialization.
The Cornucopia Institute is a national nonprofit organization working on food and farm policy issues. Cornucopia has become the country’s most vocal organic industry watchdog, shining a spotlight on industry and regulatory collusion that unfairly advantages “factory-farm” and agribusiness interests to the detriment of authentic organic and local food producers.
Anne Ross, J.D., joins Cornucopia in the staff position of farm and food policy analyst. Ross brings an advanced law degree in Agricultural & Food Law from the University of Arkansas to her new position. At Arkansas, her studies focused on the federal regulation of pesticides and food labeling. She has also been trained as an organic certification inspector.
Before pursuing her passion in organic policy, Ross worked as a corporate litigator and also has experience in healthcare administration and regulatory affairs. Her combined interests in public health and the environment culminated in her thesis research, which focused on the health effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides and the inadequacies in the laws governing the use and regulation of dangerous pesticides in both the United States and Europe.
At Cornucopia, Ross will be working on projects that focus on investigating the recent increase of imported organic corn, soybeans, wheat, and other commodities and food ingredients and evaluating the adequacy of regulatory oversight across international supply chains. She will also contribute to analysis on the environmental and health impacts of agrichemicals.
Ross believes access to organic and sustainably produced food is the most important public health issue of our time. Safeguarding the integrity of the organic label is the only way consumers can be confident in the nutritional quality of their food and in the practices used in its production. “To protect the organic consumer is to protect the family-scale farms that are producing organic food from unfair competition,” said Ross. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on agricultural policies that promote access to authentic organic food and that also protect high-integrity farmers.”
“We are delighted that Anne has joined the staff at Cornucopia,” said Will Fantle, the organization’s codirector. “Her past analysis of endocrine disruptors and her rigorous research and investigative skills are a real asset to our growing organization at a time when organic and local food and farming needs the strongest public advocates they can get.”
In addition, Cornucopia welcomes two new members to its formal Policy Advisory Panel: Anais Beddard and Kendra Kimbirauskas. Cornucopia’s volunteer policy advisors provide advice and direction for the organization on regulatory issues affecting the organic community across the country.
Anais Beddard grew up in Pennsylvania growing organic vegetables on her parents’ Lady Moon Farms. After graduating with a degree in business and working in California’s wine industry, Beddard returned to the family farm to help run what has become the largest organic vegetable operation east of the Mississippi with 2,600 acres in three states.
Lady Moon Farms employs more than 200 year-round employees and provides fresh organic produce to supermarkets across the east. Beddard is passionate about continuing her parents’ highly successful legacy, pioneering workers’ rights, and preserving the integrity of the organic label.
Kendra Kimbirauskas is an Oregon-based farmer raising heritage livestock and the Chief Executive Officer of The Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP). She leads the national nonprofit in its grassroots advocacy, organizing, and informational campaigns to hold factory farms accountable for the pollution, public health threats, and environmental destruction they create in rural communities across the nation.
Kimbirauskas grew up on a Midwestern dairy farm, and her anti-factory farm work has taken her to rural communities in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Kimbirauskas is committed to her lifelong work helping communities threatened by industrial agriculture.
“Kendra and Anais bring a deep wealth of knowledge and fresh perspective on the issues facing working farm families and the organic industry at large. We are grateful that these accomplished farmers and community leaders have chosen to develop their legacies in part by volunteering with Cornucopia,” said Fantle. “Our Policy Advisory Panel is critical to our mission defending the economic justice of family-scale farms, and we know that Kendra and Anais will be consequential advisors helping in this important work.”