The Cornucopia Institute defends and promotes the integrity of certified organic food. We exist to protect the USDA organic seal as one solution for many of the economic, environmental, and human health challenges of our time. Organic agriculture offers an economic lifeline for community-scale farms, affords consumers food choices that align with their values, and provides an ethical supply chain for independent retailers committed to building a viable alternative to the harmful and extractive practices of conventional agriculture.

The organic movement faces numerous challenges, from international trade issues and fraud to greenwashing and political headwinds. As the industry’s premier watchdog, Cornucopia’s board of directors vigorously advocates to level the playing field so authentic organic agriculture can compete in a marketplace wrought with deceit. In 2022, Cornucopia’s Board of Directors seeks three hands-on board members to help us evolve and diversify to meet the challenges of the current time.

The board of directors of the Cornucopia Institute is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction, and fiduciary oversight. Experience in board governance and fundraising is strongly preferred. An understanding of the USDA National Organic Program is preferred. The Cornucopia Institute Board of Directors is covered by Directors & Officers (D&O) liability insurance.

Core Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of each board member to perform the following functions:

  1. Fiduciary Duty
    • Steward assets and provide proper financial oversight.
    • Review and approve annual and periodic financial statements and information.
    • Review and approve arrangements with external auditors.
    • Assist in the development of the annual budget and ensure proper financial controls are in place.
  1. Support and Evaluate the Executive Director 
    • Develop and maintain a job description for the Executive Director and undertake a diligent search to find the most qualified individual for the position when vacant.
    • Ensure the Executive Director has the moral and professional support needed to further the goals of the organization.
    • Conduct an annual evaluation of the Executive Director in a manner that promotes trust and candid communication, ensures that the Executive Director understands the board’s expectations, and provides constructive performance feedback to the Executive Director.
    • Establish and approve annual and just compensation for the Executive Director.
    • Replace and/or select the Executive Director when required.
  1. Establish and Execute the Strategic Plan
    • Periodically review and establish, when needed, the organization’s strategic plan.
    • Create and periodically review a Statement of Mission and Purpose that articulates the organization’s goals, procedures, and primary constituency served.
    • Monitor programs and services to ensure they align with the strategic plan.

Other Responsibilities

  1. Build and Maintain a Competent Board

Develop criteria for new board candidates and conduct ongoing recruitment and orientation of new directors. Annually evaluate the board’s own performance.

  1. Monitor and Strengthen Programs and Services 

Determine which programs are consistent with the organization’s strategic plan and mission and monitor their effectiveness.

Director Expectations

Attendance: Attend and participate in meetings on a regular basis, including the annual in-person board retreat. Members are expected to participate in at least 75% of meetings.

Preparedness: Prior to board and committee meetings, review agendas and supporting materials, and ask clarifying questions of fellow board members and staff.

Engagement: Join and actively engage in a minimum of one standing board committee.

Awareness: Keep current on developments within the organic industry and broader community.

Promote: Clearly articulate the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.

Support: Support Cornucopia at a giving level that is meaningful to you and assist in securing adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. The organization will provide instruction and support for regular and appropriate fundraising activities.

The average time commitment is 5 hours monthly, but may be up to 12 hours monthly during board development training, strategic planning, and other activities that the board deems necessary.

Approved expenses are eligible for reimbursement.

Submit this application form by July 1 to apply.