Opinion/Editorial Archive

Monolithic Grocers Sell Monolithic Labels

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia strongly supports co-ops and other independent grocers who stock truly local and organic food, pay their staff a fair wage, and grow communities. Many consumers have a choice when it comes to food shopping, and choosing to support a member-owned co-op rewards family-scale farmers and gives you access to the healthiest food. Journalist and creator of the Deconstructing Dinner podcast, Jon Steinman, hopes you’ll consider the impact that grocery stores have on our food landscape.

Who Owns Your Grocery Store?
The Tyee
by Jon Steinman who is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to support the development of the book, Grocery Story – The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants. Jon is also the writer and host of the Deconstructing Dinner television and radio series.

In the age of monolithic grocery giants, food co-ops offer a promising alternative.

People’s Food Co-op
Source: Robyn Kingsley

Who owns the grocery store you shop at?

I love this question. It’s a bloody important one, a solid entry-point into a much deeper inner dialogue about the type of food system we choose to invest in each time we pass through the grocery checkout. If you’re like most Canadians, your investment is probably not so much a choice but an exercise in necessity, habit or convenience. Most of us, after all, are sorely limited in choosing which among the country’s grocery giants our food dollars will support.

The national market share of Canadians’ grocery dollars is telling, with 30 per cent of us investing our food dollars in Loblaw Companies Ltd., 26 per cent in Sobeys (Empire Company Ltd.), and 25 per cent in Metro, Walmart or Costco combined. That’s right, over 80 per cent of Canada’s grocery dollars end up in the pockets of only five companies. Read Full Article »

Does Your Favorite Ice Cream Contain Glyphosate?

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Longtime organic dairy farmer Will Allen wrote this piece below about Ben & Jerry’s empty promises to farmers and consumers. Because Ben & Jerry’s is made from conventional milk, The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) recently found glyphosate residue in the ice cream. Sign OCA’s petition to Ben & Jerry’s CEO telling them to go organic.

Cornucopia recommends eating only certified organic ice cream and offers shoppers this organic dairy scorecard to find the best brands in your area.

Will Allen: Time’s up on the Ben & Jerry’s charade
VT Digger
by Will Allen

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Will Allen, who is the co-founder of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford and Regeneration Vermont www.regenerationvermont.org , collaborating with Kate Duesterberg and Michael Colby to promote regenerative farming systems as a solution to environmental and economic problems in Vermont.

Source: Organic Consumers Association

You can’t blame Ben & Jerry’s for feeling surrounded – it is. After years of letting its marketing outpace its reality, its claims of “social responsibility” are ringing hollow, especially when it comes to its foundational product: milk. While the spotlight shines brighter on the economic, environmental and animal welfare calamities of Vermont’s industrial dairy industry, Ben & Jerry’s has been having it both ways: ignoring the farm injustice and pollution while reaping the economic benefits of the cheap milk. Consider this, while dairy farmers are paid less than it costs them to produce their milk and Vermont taxpayers are being asked to pony up a couple billion dollars to clean up the waterways befouled by the mega-dairies, Ben & Jerry’s is aiming to be a billion-dollar-a-year corporation by 2020, growing by more than $100 million a year. Read Full Article »

Hydroponic Lobby Seeks to Rewrite Organic Rules

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Giant “organic” hydroponic growers, alongside “organic” CAFO operators, are pressing for relaxed regulations. They have called for technological advancements in organics while they refuse to disclose what they fertilize their plants with. Cornucopia stands firm with organic farmers: organic is rooted in soil. For more, visit Can a Soil-less Growing System be “Organic”?

Coalition For Sustainable Profits declares war on National Organic Program at US Senate
Keep the Soil in Organic
by Dave Chapman, Long Wind Farm

Theo Crisantes says it is time to limit the power of the NOSB.

Anne MacMillan, in red, was Deputy Chief of Staff
to former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,
and she deserves a raise.
Source: USDA

Another blow against Real Organic came last week with the Senate testimony of the misnamed Coalition For Sustainable Organics, which I will henceforth refer to as the Coalition for Sustainable Profits. Only through the extraordinary success of their latest and most expensive lobbyist, Anne MacMillan, was the Coalition able to testify before Congress twice in the last month.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Roberts said at the hearing that the federal National Organic Standards Board and organic regulations were rife with “uncertainty and dysfunction,” and asked “producers” for recommendations on how to improve the advisory board. Read Full Article »

2018 Farm Bill May Include “NOSB Reforms” Benefiting Industrial Organics

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Natural Grocers’ Alan Lewis recently visited Capitol Hill to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill with lawmakers. He shares his experience, insight, and disturbing commentary below about what this may mean for organic food and agriculture.

Will Coming “Reforms” at the USDA Spell the End of Organic?
by Alan Lewis

Source: Douglas Simkin

Back Room “Reform” of the National Organic Standards Board May Be a Direct Threat to Organic Integrity.

I spent a week on Capitol Hill recently, during which I spoke with over two dozen congressional staffers and lawmakers about the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. With about 400 days to go before the 2012 Farm Bill funding ends, everyone in the food/agriculture/nutrition arena is focused on negotiating to protect their favorite programs. Senator Roberts (R-KS), the dean of farming in the Senate, has stated there will be no added funding. If you want something new, then first find something someone else can do without. The Trump Administration has, of course, threatened a budget with hefty reductions in spending for both rural safety net (crop insurance, price supports) and urban safety net (SNAP, school nutrition) spending.

In May, the USDA began an agency reform initiative to cut out unnecessary spending and streamline regulation. These appear to be a code phrases for dismantling many longstanding programs that big agriculture can do without, but that smallholders are too disorganized and powerless to fight for. Read Full Article »

NODPA Responds to Washington Post Article on Fake Organic Milk

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Ethical family-scale organic dairy farmers are concerned that the Aurora Dairy scandal will tarnish, in the eyes of consumers, the organic milk they produce in accordance with federal organic standards.  Dairy farmer Liz Bawden airs her concerns here. As a consumer, you can find the best organic brands in the grocery store using our dairy scorecard as a guide.

I am an organic dairy farmer and I want to tell my story

Liz Bawden, New York organic dairy farmer and President of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Liz Bawden
Source: NODPA

A consumer reads “Why Your Organic Milk May Not Be Organic” on the front page of their newspaper.  That might be the end consumer for the milk from my farm.  And that person is sitting in front of a bowl of cornflakes wondering if she has been scammed all this time.  Just a little doubt that the organic seal may not mean what she thought it meant.  That is real damage to my farm and family income.  And I want to tell my story to that consumer; I want to tell her about our pastures, and soil fertility ideas, and how we know each cow by name, and how we source organic seeds, feed, and herbal remedies.  Because she needs to know that there is value and integrity in the organic product we provide. Read Full Article »