The Cornucopia Institute will engage in educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural issues, The Cornucopia Institute will provide needed information to consumers, family farmers, and the media.

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Mark Kastel is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a progressive farm policy research group based in Wisconsin and director of its Organic Integrity Project.

For almost 20 years prior to its launch he was president of M. A. Kastel and Associates, Inc. His professional practice included political consulting, lobbying work on behalf of family farm groups, and business development work benefiting family-scale farmers. Mr. Kastel has played a key role in a number of cooperative ventures designed to empower farmers in the marketplace. His development work has focused on creating sustainable farmer-owned businesses with an emphasis on dairy production and marketing.

Kastel played a key role in the farm community’s response to the introduction of rBGH. His watershed research, published while doing policy work for the Farmers Union, brought great media scrutiny when he revealed the fact that cows were dying and whole herds were suffering from serious illnesses soon after they were injected. He has been intimately involved at numerous stages during development of the bill to regulate organic farming in Congress and the subsequent rulemaking process at the USDA.

Kastel, who worked for agribusiness giants International Harvester and J.I. Case before making the paradigm shift to sustainable farming, lives on a 160-acre organic farm in the rugged hills of southwestern Wisconsin, near the tiny burg of Rockton.

Will Fantle is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a progressive farm and food policy research group based in Wisconsin. He is the organization’s Research Director.

Mr. Fantle’s previous professional experience is varied but always with a focus on the environment. He has worked in both the public and private sectors developing and promoting renewable energy technologies. Fantle has been a respected consultant in the area of recycling, focusing on municipal and industrial waste generators. For much of the past 25 years, he has regularly written feature articles on environmental, resource, food, and health issues for national magazines and urban weekly papers. He is a 2001 recipient of an award from Project Censored for his story, “Plutonium Pancakes.” Mr. Fantle has also worked as webmaster for the Wisconsin Stewardship Network, a coalition of the state’s hunting, fishing and environmental groups.

Mr. Fantle graduated with honors from the UW-Eau Claire with degrees in Economics and Political Science. He has been a longtime environmental activist, has served on the boards of several environmental organizations active in Wisconsin, and was recently elected to the Eau Claire County Board. He is married and resides with his wife Francie in Eau Claire.