Cornucopia News Archive

The Cornucopia Institute Hires Jonathan Rosenthal as Interim Executive Director

Friday, October 18th, 2019

The Cornucopia Institute is thrilled to announce the hiring of Jonathan Rosenthal as the new Interim Executive Director.  With this hire, Cornucopia is moving confidently to evolve into a more sustainable, relevant, and powerful voice in the good food movement. Rosenthal will shepherd the organization through a just, transparent, and collaborative transition while honoring the mission set forth by Cornucopia’s founders and board.

Jonathan Rosenthal

Rosenthal has spent decades promoting sustainable agriculture. In 1986, he co-founded Equal Exchange, which continues to build economically just and environmentally sound trade partnerships that foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers. In 2005, he co-founded and led the first U.S. fair trade fruit company, Oké USA.

More recently he has worked as an executive director, consultant and advisor across fair trade, worker co-op, and new economy movements, helping organizations advocate for economic, ecological and racial justice for family-scale farmers. With experience that spans both the fair trade and organic movements, he is entrenched in a unifying cause: converting the destructive aspects of business into a positive force for people and the environment.

For Cornucopia, Rosenthal will analyze the organization’s structure and processes, provide staff, board, and financial guidance and support and set up a robust process for the hiring of permanent leadership in 2020. “I am thrilled and honored to join the talented team at Cornucopia and to return supporting the vitality of farmers and family-scale farms. Together we can grow the relationships and programs built over the past 15 years, while updating and strengthening the organization’s capacity to move boldly into the future. Over the next six to nine months, we will use this transition as an opportunity to pause, reflect, and develop a sharpened vision, revamped organizational culture, and enhanced capacity for deepening collaboration and impact.” Read Full Article »

Fall 2019 NOSB Meeting – Webinars: October 15 & 17

Friday, October 18th, 2019
Source: Mariah Dietzler, Flickr

Cornucopia’s director of domestic policy, Marie Burcham, JD, attended the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) pre-meeting webinars on October 15 and 17, where the NOSB heard comments from the public.

Our notes from this meeting are below.

Tuesday, October 15

NOSB members present:

Harriet Behar (January 2016 – January 2020) – NOSB Chair
Steve Ela (January 2017 – January 2022) – Vice Chair
Scott Rice (January 2016 – January 2021)
Sue Baird (January 2017 – January 2022)
Jesse Buie (January 2016 – January 2021) (joined late)
Tom Chapman (January 2015 – January 2020)
Lisa de Lima (January 2015 – January 2020)
James R. “Rick” Greenwood (May 2018 – January 2023)
Dan Seitz (January 2016 – January 2021)
Ashley Swaffar (January 2015 – January 2020)
Emily Oakley (January 2016 – January 2021)
Asa Bradman (January 2017 – January 2022)
Dave Mortensen (January 2017 – January 2022)

Not in attendance:
A-dae Romero-Briones (January 2016 – January 2021)

Introductions from Michelle Arsenault. She notes that the ZOOM webinar is being recorded and there will be a transcript provided as well.

Paul Lewis, Director of Standards Division from the National Organic Program (NOP), opens the meeting.

[In Cornucopia staff notes on individual comments below, our staff has included the commenter’s name and affiliation] Read Full Article »

The Cultivator – Fall 2019

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Summer 2019 Cultivator coverThe fall 2019 Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter, is now available online. Download the PDF here.

In it you’ll find:

  • Bird by Bird
  • Import Fraud
  • Conventional Soy Damages the Environment
  • Gatekeepers of Organic Integrity
  • Good Tilth
  • Toxins Found in Conventional Milk
  • Co-creative Culture

Read Full Article »

Renaissance Family

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The Prevailing Winds of Weatherbury Farm

[This article was previously published in the summer issue of  The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Rachel Zegerius, Assistant Director of Development and Communications at The Cornucopia Institute

Nestled in the tightly woven hills of the Washington Valley, 35 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, rest the rolling pastures of Weatherbury Farm, purchased by the Tudor family in 1986. Historically a sheep farm, in the mid-1800s this region produced one-quarter to one-third of all of the wool in the U.S. The Tudors still keep a small herd of 10 to 15 lambs in homage to this agricultural heritage.

It took only one season at Weatherbury for the Tudor family to decide that they wanted to seek out alternative farming practices, in contrast the high-input methods being advocated for by extension.

From Left: Nigel, Nancy, and Dale Tudor
exhibit flours in the mill room at
Weatherbury Farm

Both Dale and Marcy came from multigenerational farm families. They remember the days: their parents didn’t spend a lot of money on fertilizers; they spread manure and made hay—an approach that may be considered “regenerative” farming today. So, in 1988, they stopped using chemical inputs altogether.

Over the next several years, the Tudors raised a family on the farm, built a successful cow/calf operation, and ran a rewarding agritourism business—all while also hosting an on-site, farm education program. Weatherbury offered farm vacation stays as a bed and breakfast for 25 years, from 1992 until 2017.

In large part, the Tudors have kept the farm economically viable over the years because of their unique proclivity to adapt, evolve, and grow access to new niche markets.

This continuous innovation sets Weatherbury Farm apart and is personified earnestly by their son, Nigel. His decision to move back to the farm opened the door for their expansion into grass-fed beef in 2007. Read Full Article »

Certifying Small Farms

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The Challenges and How Consumers Can DIY

[This article was previously published in the summer issue of  The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

Source: Adobe Stock

Farmers markets are in full swing. Whenever possible, we urge consumers to support certified organic farm vendors first. But not all small-scale farmers choose to certify. To help determine if these non-certified farms still meet your standards, Cornucopia released our Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Organic Certification Guide.

Many local farms who sell direct to consumers, either at markets or through CSAs, have chosen not to go through the organic certification process. In some cases, the challenges and obstacles inherent in the certification process are prohibitive and do not serve small farmers.

While Cornucopia advocates unequivocally for organic foods and organic farmers, it is important that we recognize and explore these issues within the certification process. Michael Losonsky, the owner of a small organic vineyard in McMinnville, Oregon, spoke with us to help us understand his situation. Read Full Article »