Cornucopia News Archive

New Farm Bill Weakens Organic Regulatory Oversight

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Congress Agrees with Cornucopia: USDA Undermined Organics and Violated Law

The 2018 Farm Bill is one of the biggest pieces of legislation of the year—but getting it off the ground has been a challenge for the divided Congress. With many Farm Bill programs already expired, or set to expire by the end of the year, the passage of the legislation was time-critical.

Signing the Conference Report
for the 2018 Farm Bill
Source: House Agriculture Committee Democrats

The final text from the conference committee was released Monday, December 10. By Wednesday, both houses of Congress had passed the legislation, by strong bipartisan margins, and sent it to the President’s desk for his signature.

In addition to perennially contentious funding for food stamps and farm subsidies, the bill contains most of the logistics that keep the USDA wheels turning.

In an affront to the organic farming community, this Farm Bill codifies a number of contentious changes to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). These provisions weaken and confuse the NOSB’s ability to represent the public and advise the USDA Secretary on organic matters. Read Full Article »

Weeding the Organic Garden: Ferreting Out Corruption

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

New Guide Separates Hydroponic (Soil-less) “Organic” Produce From the Real McCoy

A prominent organic industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, just released a report on “organic” hydroponics, exposing a rapidly accelerating trend in organic fruit and vegetable production: the shift to growing produce in industrial settings, with nutrients primarily coming from a liquid fertilizer solution, instead of rich fertile soil, as required by federal law.

In addition to the report, Cornucopia also published a mobile-friendly, companion buyer’s guide, lifting the veil on the brands that clandestinely market hydroponic production as organic.  Hydroponic produce is explicitly prohibited from being labeled as organic in Canada, Mexico, and most other developed countries. The European Union recently voted to close a loophole that was permitting a few northern EU states to label hydroponics as “organic.” Many countries where growers are prohibited from marketing hydroponic produce as organic, such as Holland, are major exporters to the U.S.

“With hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of venture and equity capital being invested in industrial-scale greenhouses the size of football fields, parking lots filled with thousands of containers with drip irrigation, or ‘vertical farms’ in cities, consumers and wholesale buyers need a way to discern which certified organic fruits and vegetables are truly nutrient-dense and produced according to the law,” said Mark A. Kastel, Executive Director of The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group. Read Full Article »

Do You Care Too? Organic Food/Farming Under Threat

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Dear Friends,


I was blown away by the outpouring of generosity from people who deeply care about the best food and best farms across the country — last week on Giving Tuesday Cornucopia exceeded the one-day fundraising record we set in 2017. Seeing all the online donations come in was a big morale boost for our entire staff— we are humbled!

This is the second year we have a challenge grant from the same family foundation (doubling your contributions).

With about a dozen staff members here at Cornucopia, it’s exciting for us to connect with all of the passionate advocates across the country who join with us in this work morally and financially.

From all of us—a huge THANK YOU!

Like my decades-long friend, Cornucopia’s cofounder Will Fantle, said last year after setting the aforementioned record: “They may have the lobbyists, but we have the people power!” Read Full Article »

The “Organic Pasture Rule”: How the Law Sets Minimum Standards for Grazing

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

by Marie Burcham, JD
Farm and Food Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute

Introduction to Organic Livestock and Grazing Requirements

How organic livestock are produced is covered by specific regulations—the only such federal regulations concerning a food product that address how the animal was raised and not just the qualities of the final product.

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), published regulations, guidance from the USDA, and certifier inspections all play a part in how organic livestock are produced. However, the regulations form the basic structure for how everything plays out in the “field”; those regulations will be the focus of this article. Read Full Article »

Your Vote Will Encourage Charity Navigator to Evaluate and Rate Our Success

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

For a decade and a half, Cornucopia has been at the forefront of the fight to uphold the integrity of local and organic food and agriculture. As a tax-exempt public charity, we rely on the passionate moral and financial support of organic advocates from across the country.

Cornucopia is proud to report that we have achieved the Platinum Level rating by Guidestar, the world’s largest online source of nonprofit information and a leader in advancing transparency in the nonprofit sector. This is the highest rating given by Guidestar and demonstrates our commitment to nonprofit transparency and accountability, so that all good food advocates can feel confident about their contributions supporting this critical work.

To further indicate our commitment to steward all donations responsibly towards accomplishing our collective mission, and in response to member feedback, Cornucopia is now pursuing an evaluation by Charity Navigator, an alternative charity watchdog similar to Guidestar.

The past few years have been our most productive building years yet, and we want to share our efforts with as many people as we can. You can help us tell everyone about our grass-roots effectiveness by putting us on Charity Navigator’s radar. Charity Navigator selects organizations to evaluate based upon the number of votes they receive, which is why we need YOU!

Simply go to this link and vote for Charity Navigator to evaluate The Cornucopia Institute. You’ll need to register with Charity Navigator at the Sign in/Register link at the top right of the webpage after hitting Vote Now. Registration is free and allows you access to look deeper into many charities. When you are finished, tell your friends and family to vote for us as well.

We welcome all members to take a closer look at our service and believe all nonprofits should invite inspection, and generous people like you should demand accountability from the charities you support.

If enough people vote, Charity Navigator will have no choice but to evaluate our organization, and we are confident that they will like what they see.

Read Full Article »

In the spirit of the 2018 giving season, a generous Cornucopia member has offered to DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS made in support of authentic and local food from true family farms. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to increase your impact with a gift to Cornucopia.

Donate Today