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.

A Seat at the Table

July 27th, 2017

Healthy Farmers Beget Healthy Food at Lady Moon Farms

[This article was previously published in the summer issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Rachel Zegerius
Communications and Development Associate at The Cornucopia Institute

Anaïs Beddard grew up at Lady Moon Farms playing in farm fields, working in the old oak grove packing shed, and cultivating genuine friendships with farm employees and their families.

Source: Greig Cranna

Each employee is part of the family at Lady Moon Farms. With a team of nearly 300 workers, the Beddard family can’t fit them all at the dinner table these days. If they could, they certainly would.

From the time Chris and Tom Beddard embarked on this journey together nearly 30 years ago, they have prioritized the lives of their farmworkers as highly as the soil.

What started as five acres and a dream is now the largest organic vegetable operation east of the Mississippi, with nine farms in three states (Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida) and over 2,600 tillable acres.

This year, Tom will receive the Rodale Institute’s esteemed 2017 Organic Pioneer Award—recognition of their successful path. Read Full Article »

Does Your Favorite Ice Cream Contain Glyphosate?

July 27th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Longtime organic dairy farmer Will Allen wrote this piece below about Ben & Jerry’s empty promises to farmers and consumers. Because Ben & Jerry’s is made from conventional milk, The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) recently found glyphosate residue in the ice cream. Sign OCA’s petition to Ben & Jerry’s CEO telling them to go organic.

Cornucopia recommends eating only certified organic ice cream and offers shoppers this organic dairy scorecard to find the best brands in your area.


Will Allen: Time’s up on the Ben & Jerry’s charade
VT Digger
by Will Allen

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Will Allen, who is the co-founder of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford and Regeneration Vermont www.regenerationvermont.org , collaborating with Kate Duesterberg and Michael Colby to promote regenerative farming systems as a solution to environmental and economic problems in Vermont.

Source: Organic Consumers Association

You can’t blame Ben & Jerry’s for feeling surrounded – it is. After years of letting its marketing outpace its reality, its claims of “social responsibility” are ringing hollow, especially when it comes to its foundational product: milk. While the spotlight shines brighter on the economic, environmental and animal welfare calamities of Vermont’s industrial dairy industry, Ben & Jerry’s has been having it both ways: ignoring the farm injustice and pollution while reaping the economic benefits of the cheap milk. Consider this, while dairy farmers are paid less than it costs them to produce their milk and Vermont taxpayers are being asked to pony up a couple billion dollars to clean up the waterways befouled by the mega-dairies, Ben & Jerry’s is aiming to be a billion-dollar-a-year corporation by 2020, growing by more than $100 million a year. Read Full Article »

Cornucopia’s Kastel on the Organic Standards

July 26th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Codirector Mark Kastel was recently interviewed by Public Radio’s Bonnie North for her program, Lake Effect. Enjoy this 15 minute recording of their conversation below discussing organic standards for food and agriculture.


Defining and Maintaining Organic Standards
WUVM, Milwaukee Public Radio
by Bonnie North

Listen to the interview at WUVM by clicking on the blue arrow.

Mark Kastel

Entering a grocery store, buyers are often bombarded with seemingly all-important yet ill-defined terms; words like “organic”, “sustainable”, or – perhaps the most pernicious culprit – “natural.”

But what do these terms actually mean? And how can consumers know if the foods they’re buying – usually at a premium – were grown or raised in an organic environment?

The US Department of Agriculture, or USDA, is tasked with setting minimum organic standards that farms of all sizes must meet, and then ensuring compliance with those standards.

“Starting in 2002, federal regulations were governed to create a minimal standard for organic. So in a nutshell it means: for a minimum of three years before having the right to use that label, a farmer must shun almost all use of toxic agrochemicals. In terms of caring for their animals, it means there are no antibiotics and many other drugs, like synthetic parasiticides, poisons that might end up in the tissue of the animal, or the milk, or the meat, or eggs. And certainly no genetically engineered organisms, either in the feed for the animals or pharmaceuticals,” explains Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute. Read Full Article »

Pro-Industry Journalism Casts Doubt on Real Science

July 26th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: When scientific findings have regulatory consequences, the science is all too often subject to corporate spin. In this case, herbicide manufacturers have a vested interest in a regulatory conclusion that glyphosate is safe when used per label directions. The independent science says otherwise. For a good explanation of the corporate methodology and mythology at play, Cornucopia recommends the film Merchants of Doubt.


Reuters vs. UN Cancer Agency: Are Corporate Ties Influencing Science Coverage?
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
by Stacy Malkan

Reuters reporter Kate Kelland
(LinkedIn)

Ever since they classified the world’s most widely used herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a team of international scientists at the World Health Organization’s cancer research group have been under withering attack by the agrichemical industry and its surrogates.

In a front-page series titled “The Monsanto Papers,” the French newspaper Le Monde (6/1/17) described the attacks as “the pesticide giant’s war on science,” and reported, “To save glyphosate, the firm [Monsanto] undertook to harm the United Nations agency against cancer by all means.”

One key weapon in industry’s arsenal has been the reporting of Kate Kelland, a veteran Reuters reporter based in London. Read Full Article »

Hydroponic Lobby Seeks to Rewrite Organic Rules

July 25th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Giant “organic” hydroponic growers, alongside “organic” CAFO operators, are pressing for relaxed regulations. They have called for technological advancements in organics while they refuse to disclose what they fertilize their plants with. Cornucopia stands firm with organic farmers: organic is rooted in soil. For more, visit Can a Soil-less Growing System be “Organic”?


Coalition For Sustainable Profits declares war on National Organic Program at US Senate
Keep the Soil in Organic
by Dave Chapman, Long Wind Farm

Theo Crisantes says it is time to limit the power of the NOSB.

Anne MacMillan, in red, was Deputy Chief of Staff
to former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,
and she deserves a raise.
Source: USDA

Another blow against Real Organic came last week with the Senate testimony of the misnamed Coalition For Sustainable Organics, which I will henceforth refer to as the Coalition for Sustainable Profits. Only through the extraordinary success of their latest and most expensive lobbyist, Anne MacMillan, was the Coalition able to testify before Congress twice in the last month.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Roberts said at the hearing that the federal National Organic Standards Board and organic regulations were rife with “uncertainty and dysfunction,” and asked “producers” for recommendations on how to improve the advisory board. Read Full Article »

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