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.
Cornucopia’s Take: As our climate changes, many species are disappearing from their native habitat, and sugar maples are one that is in danger. Sap farmers are tapping other trees for syrup now, including the more hardy red maple. Many people are planning adaptations to the changing climate, and more study and discussion on the subject is needed.
Cornucopia’s Take: Judith Schwartz’s book, Cows Save the Planet, and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth, is based on real-life solutions to loss of top soil and desertification. She champions holistic management and describes a method of livestock management that actually helps build top soil in the interview below.
Asked & Answered: Repairing the Earth World Ark Magazine
Interview, photos and video by Erik Hoffner, World Ark contributor
Think for a moment about the pressing challenges the world faces: poverty, hunger, political instability, war and climate change. Loss of topsoil is seldom included in that list, even though it plays a lead role in all of them. Some experts estimate that this thin life-giving layer of the planet is in danger of disappearing within 60 years due to erosion and desertification, and with it, our ability to grow food. Statistics like this drove author Judith Schwartz to write Cows Save the Planet, and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.
Cornucopia’s Take: One third of food is wasted worldwide, representing a tremendous loss of natural resources and money used to grow and transport the food. It also fails to address the needs of the hungry across the planet. This informative video by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations details the scale of the problem and offers some suggestions for allaying it.
Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia petitioned the National Organic Program for more rigorous certification, oversight, and testing of imports in July due to the lax enforcement we were then aware of at the U.S. border. Cornucopia has been digging into the import fraud issue for 10 years. USDA’s Office of Inspector General released their critical audit of USDA’s handling of organic imports this week.
Bogus ‘organic’ foods reach the U.S. because of lax enforcement at ports, inspectors say The Washington Post
by Peter Whoriskey
Bogus “organic” products may be reaching the United States because of lax enforcement at U.S. ports, according to a new audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, a finding that helps explain previous reports that millions of pounds of fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans had reached American ports.
The USDA lacks procedures to check that a shipment meets organic standards, the report found.
The USDA “was unable to provide reasonable assurance that … required documents were reviewed at U.S. ports of entry to verify that imported agricultural products labeled as organic were from certified organic foreign farms,” according to the report released Monday. “The lack of controls at U.S. ports of entry increases the risk that nonorganic products may be imported as organic into the United States and could create an unfair economic environment for U.S. organic producers.” Read Full Article »