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.

Don’t Water Down Organics — Keep Soil in Organic Agriculture

October 19th, 2017

Sign the Petition Opposing Approval of Industrial Hydroponics by October 30

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is considering a proposal at its meeting at the end of this month that would allow the organic certification of hydroponics and its use in container growing.

“Feed the soil not the plant.”
The long-time mantra of founding organic farmers

Current regulations, based on federal law, require careful stewardship of the soil as a prerequisite for granting organic certification to farmers.  This approach adds organic matter to the billions of organisms living in healthy soil ecosystems, who then feed and nurture plants that give us superior taste and nutrition.

Hydroponic greens grown in solution
Source: Horticulture Group

Big money and powerful corporate lobbyists want their piece of the growing organic pie. They are pushing for allowance of a hydroponics environment for producing your fruits and vegetables.  This scheme is barred from organic certification in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union — yet they are shipping their hydroponic produce here, and the USDA is allowing them to label it organic! Read Full Article »

U.S. Certified Organic Agricultural Production Up 23 Percent in 2016

October 18th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Consumer’s hunger for good food produced with more meaning continues to grow.

2016 Sales of U.S. Certified Organic Agricultural Production Up 23 Percent from Previous Year

California continues to lead in certified farms, acres, sales

Sales of organic agricultural production continued to increase in 2016, when U.S. farms produced and sold $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show that 2016 sales were up 23 percent from $6.2 billion in 2015. During the same year, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15 percent to 5.0 million.

Visit the USDA – NASS website to view a larger version of this image

Read Full Article »

Pruitt’s EPA Considering Dicamba Ban

October 18th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: According to the article below, 3.5% of all soybeans planted in the U.S. were harmed by dicamba this season. The harvest is not yet in to see the effect on yields. The EPA has threatened to ban the herbicide, leaving uncertainty about the future of dicamba and dicamba-resistant crops.

Ban of Herbicide Could Benefit Agriculture Prices
Bloomberg View
by Shelley Goldberg

Source: Scott Robinson

Soybeans and cotton would be big winners if dicamba is deemed harmful to crops.

A debate over the weed killer dicamba could end up limiting the use of agriculture herbicides and result in winners and losers among chemical companies and farmers.

Efforts to ban the herbicide could benefit the prices of agriculture products such as soybeans and cotton. At the same time, equities of chemical companies could face downward pressure. But no matter the outcome, the more likely winners will be non-genetically modified organics and owners of non-GMO farmland. Read Full Article »

An Update on Frey Vineyards

October 17th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The Frey family has been a longtime leader in the organic and Biodynamic communities. They were an important voice in responding to powerful elements in the wine industry who wanted to change the federal regulations banning artificial preservatives in organic wine (sulfites).

The family has lost their homes but certainly not their spirit to continue, and we are so happy that none of them were killed or injured in the terrible fires that have burned north of San Francisco.

From Katrina Frey:

We would like to share an update on Frey Vineyards. All of our family members and winery staff are safe.

This vineyard suffered about 10% loss
Source: Travel Nevada

Our beautifully rustic office buildings, tasting room, and bottling line have burned, but the main house and the insulated warehouse holding our case goods are unscathed. Our stainless steel wine tanks and the majority of the crush pad are also fine. Although vineyards typically don’t burn, with the intensity of this firestorm we did lose about 10% of our estate vineyards along the peripheries of the ranch. In addition to the home ranch, we have 300 acres of satellite vineyards scattered throughout Redwood Valley and Potter Valley that are in great shape.

Fortunately, we broke ground two months ago for our new winery site on West Rd in Redwood Valley, and this land is untouched. We are mourning the loss of many of our grand oak trees that provided summer shade and a diverse wildlife habitat, but at the same time we are grateful that healthy stands of oaks are thriving at our new location. Read Full Article »

‘Regenerative Organic’ Label Coming Soon

October 16th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: In response to the co-option of the word “sustainable” and the increasing threats to the integrity of the organic label, Rodale and a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists, and brands are creating an “add-on” certification. The ‘Regenerative Organic Certified’ label will go beyond the current organic standards to ensure that consumers have access to foods that were produced with the integrity they are looking for. It remains unclear whether additional labels in this label-heavy industry will be well-understood.

A New Food Label Is Coming Soon and It Goes ‘Beyond Organic’
by Ronnie Cummins

Conscious consumers won’t have to wait much longer for clear guidance on how to buy food and other products that are not only certified organic, but also certified regenerative.

On Wednesday, the Rodale Institute unveiled draft standards for a new Regenerative Organic Certification, developed by Rodale and a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists and brands.

When finalized, the certification will go “beyond organic” by establishing higher standards for soil health and land management, animal welfare and farmer and worker fairness.

Organic Consumer Association and our Regeneration International project, fully embrace this new venture to make organic more climate friendly, humane, just and environmentally positive. As we’ve said before, when it comes to food and farming—and as we veer toward climate catastrophe—”sustainable” doesn’t cut it anymore. And certified USDA organic, though far better than GMO, chemical and energy-intensive agriculture, doesn’t go quite far enough. Read Full Article »

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