Fueled by organic Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate, the board and staff of The Cornucopia Institute gathered in Minneapolis for three energizing days of staff and board meetings. Led by Jonathan Rosenthal, Cornucopia’s new interim executive director, the retreat marked a new chapter for the organization, as well as its unwavering commitment to elevating authentic organic and calling out “faux-ganic” brands.
Rosenthal observed, “The Cornucopia Institute is known for its industry research and outspoken work to protect the integrity of organic agriculture. I am honored to work with this devoted, talented staff and deeply committed board.” While our leadership has changed, our underlying principles continue: Cornucopia highlights the most ethical farmers and agricultural practices, stays abreast of regulatory issues, rallies consumers and producers to action, and investigates and reports on fraud and dubious practices within the industry.
At organic eateries, co-ops (thanks to the Wedge Table for hosting us), and meeting spaces, we discussed our mission, our firm belief that we must support organic farms with deep respect for the soil, and our dreams for the future. With colorful markers, we documented that vision on poster paper, evoking healthy, humanely treated animals; a transparent, fair marketplace; and Cornucopia’s position in the good food movement as an agent for justice, collaboration, and hope.
On the last evening, we gathered in a dining room seemingly tailor-made for the occasion. Illuminated by a dozen candles, the following words by Wendell Berry decorated the expanse of a back wall:
The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope.
Berry’s poetic imploring reminded us why we show up for this work, and why our voice is as bold as ever.
[Pictured above, top row: Helen Kees, Cameron Molberg, Jim Crawford, Goldie Caughlan, Jonathan Rosenthal, Melody Morrell; bottom row: Michele Marchetti, Rachel Zegerius, Marie Burcham, Gayle Nielsen, Jason Cole, Therese Laurdan]