Cornucopia News Archive

“Organic” Hydroponic May Not Be Bound by a Three-Year Transition Period

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Cornucopia reached out to Dr. Jennifer Tucker, the National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator, for further comment on the issues raised by Civil Eats, below.

NOP Deputy Administrator
Dr. Jennifer Tucker
Source: USDA

Tucker stated that she did not feel the context was illustrated well in the article. Her quotes came out of a discussion surrounding hydroponic operations being erected on rooftops or in already established buildings, not greenhouses erected on land. She emphasized to Cornucopia that it was not a blanket statement about NOP policy or an interpretation of the rules as they stand.

Massive hydroponic operations continue to be erected on top of soil. This has a profound effect on the soil integrity, whether or not prohibited substances like glyphosate are applied to the ground beneath. Good soil health has far-reaching benefits, including carbon sequestration, preventing pollution run-off, and water and nutrient storage.

Tucker did note that she shared some of the concerns of organic stakeholders about prohibited substances being applied to the land, but she did not clarify how this rule will be enforced if the three-year transition period is discarded.

The NOP has drafted an official policy statement regarding these concerns that is currently in review. Tucker stated that she does not have a timeline for this official policy’s date of release but made assurances that it is a high priority. There are no current plans to develop standards specific to organic hydroponic production. Read Full Article »

Not Your Grandma’s Curds and Whey

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Cottage Cheese, the Dairy Delight Said to be Making a Comeback

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

by Anne Ross, JD
Director of International Policy at The Cornucopia Institute

In the early 1970s, the average American ate five pounds of cottage cheese per year. Since then, the dairy staple has declined in popularity, often relegated to restaurant salad bars between the gelatin desserts and canned peaches.

Source: AdobeStock

This is a shame because, in its simplest form, cottage cheese is a very nutritious food. It is low in calories and high in dietary protein. One cup of cottage cheese can pack 25 grams of protein, which accounts for over 70% of the calories in cottage cheese.

Fitness enthusiasts and athletes look to cottage cheese for its high content of casein protein. Casein is slow-digesting, which means it feeds cells over a long period of time, and is thought to reduce muscle breakdown.

Like many dairy products, cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus. It is also a good source of B-complex vitamins, which promote heart health, digestion, and metabolic and brain functions. B vitamins are necessary for proper enzyme production and operation, which makes them critical in muscle building, fat loss, immune function, and blood health.

A stroll through your local grocery store will confirm that yogurt is still the queen of dairy (check out our Yogurt Scorecard to find the healthiest options), but you will also likely see an array of flavored cottage cheese.

Recent market data suggests that this once-beloved dairy delight is prime for a global comeback. Food manufacturers have begun to introduce these flavored lines and some that have “mix-ins” of fruits and nuts. Large consumer packaged goods companies are targeting millennials with novel versions of traditionally wholesome cottage cheese.

Which of these products are the protein-packed and calcium-rich curds of cheese people have been eating for health and nutrition for centuries? Read Full Article »

Factory “Organic” Causes Dairy Surplus

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Making It Hard for Small Family Farms to Survive

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

by Marie Burcham, JD
Director of Domestic Policy at The Cornucopia Institute

Patty and Brian Wilson own a 600-acre farm in Vermont where, with the help of family, they have milked a small herd of dairy cattle for 23 years. The Wilson Farm made the transition to organic dairy 15 years ago. The transition was an easy one, because they were already dedicated to grazing as much as possible and using few inputs associated with conventional dairying (e.g., frequent use of antibiotics).

Source: Adobe Stock

After years of financial stability, the Wilsons have now put their dairy herd up for sale. While still milking approximately 45 cows, they fear their future as a family dairy may be coming to a close.

With the recent surplus of organic milk on the market generated by large industrial-organic dairies, small, exemplary grass-based dairies like the Wilsons are coming up short.

Patty spoke frankly about their situation and the problems family farms are facing in the current dairy crisis: “When greed entered the market in the form of large farms, it became hard for small farms to survive.” Read Full Article »

Amid Public Outcry, NOP Backpedaled on Glyphosate Use by “Organic” Hydroponic Operations

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Offered No Further Clarity at the Spring 2019 NOSB Meeting

At the recent spring National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Seattle, Washington, organic stakeholders shared their incredulity and frustration regarding disturbing statements made by National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker, brought to light in April by the Real Organic Project, about the use of prohibited substances in “organic” hydroponic production.

NOP’s Jennifer Tucker, PhD and Paul Lewis
at the spring NOSB meeting

Tucker, along with other NOP officials and staff, faced multiple questions about the use of glyphosate by hydroponic operations during public comments to the NOSB. Emotions ran high on all sides as Tucker claimed her prior statements were taken out of context.

According to Tucker, her previous statement indicating that a hydroponic operation could spray glyphosate or other pesticides on the land just prior to erecting a greenhouse and be immediately certified organic was not a statement of NOP policy. Instead, Tucker contended her comment was made in response to a hypothetical scenario.

“These questions—including whether the three-year transition period applies to all organic operations—are not hypotheticals,” said Marie Burcham, an attorney and Cornucopia’s Director of Domestic Policy, “They are essential questions of the application of law.” Read Full Article »

The Cultivator – Spring 2019

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

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

In it you’ll find:

  • What is My Certifier Hiding?
  • Alchemy by USDA and Certifiers
  • Cornucopia is Grateful!
  • Not Your Grandma’s Curds and Whey
  • Why Don’t You See Organically Labeled Fish?
  • Scuttling of Organic Livestock Welfare Rules Challenged in Court
  • Building Soil and Community

Read Full Article »