Opinion/Editorial Archive

Veteran Organic Grower Questions What Technologies are Appropriate in Organics

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Steve Sprinkel is a certified organic farmer from Ojai, California, where he also operates the Farmer and the Cook, a restaurant and market serving organic fare. He has held numerous leadership positions in the organic movement, including having acted as the board chair of The Cornucopia Institute. He currently sits on Cornucopia’s formal policy advisory panel.

Roiling Sargassos of Plasticene Smoothies
In Season for Edible Ojai, Saticoy and Simi Valley, 6 January 2017
by Steve Sprinkel

Steve Sprinkel testifies at
the spring 2015 NOSB meeting

When consumers want something better than they are being offered, they almost always get their way. You want arugula? How much? How about chocolate grown by people in the Ivory Coast with access to potable drinking water? Local honey? Tangerines with no seeds? Organic ice cream without carrageenan? The strange democracy of the market complies.

Trucks full of Coke are still rolling everywhere because everyone isn’t spooked about the downside claims. People want it, so they get it. Public agencies try to legislate Coke into oblivion but consumers still crave those amber bubbles. Yet, look at all the groovy, healthier, fizzy drinks crowding the display case. Consumers started buying alternatives in small quantities and now you can get rivers of longevity elixirs at Walmart.

Though sometimes it’s not as simple as letting the market place sort the process out. Read Full Article »

Letter from Eliot Coleman

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Through his iconic books, Eliot Coleman has been a mentor to many organic farmers over the years. He was also very generous with his time when I was starting out as a certified organic producer almost 30 years ago.

The antidote for the concerns Eliot articulates in his essay below is the constant vigilance that Cornucopia members underwrite and the economic power we all have in the marketplace when we use the organic brand scorecards we have developed to “vote” for the true heroes in the organic movement.



ecofarmconference-2017When I sat down at my desk this morning, I noticed the EcoFarm brochure on a pile of recent mail. My first thought, because of Friday’s cave-in to hydro at the NOSB [Nov. 18], was that this well-established meeting of devoted organic advocates was the perfect venue for an organic last stand. The EcoFarm conference should have set aside time for a serious discussion of the hydroponic invasion and the future of true organic farming.

But when I opened the brochure it was nowhere to be found. I wondered why. Then I saw that the leading financial sponsor of EcoFarm was Driscoll’s, one of the larger hydroponic invaders, plus sponsorships from other OTA co-opters like Organic Valley. Then I realized that CCOF, once a respected movement leader, is behind the scenes making big bucks certifying the hydro people. Read Full Article »

Biology at Its Best: The Good Food Movement

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Enjoy this editorial from ACRES USA, reprinted with permission. Fred Walters expounds on how the food movement stands apart from other social movements and ideologies.

View from the Country
by Fred Walters

view-from-the-country_logoThe good news is the excitement, vitality and innovation found within the food movement is here to stay. That is for certain.

Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., writing in a brilliant essay in the online publication Independent Science News (www.independent sciencenews.org), recently recited the many reasons the food movement won’t be disappearing anytime soon. While most social movements have a few traits in common, the food movement stands apart, quite different from them all.

He points out that unlike most ideology-based movements, the food movement is a leaderless movement, a grassroots move­ment, international, low-budget, and a movement of many values.

The prime reason the food movement is here to stay, according to Latham, is that unlike other systems of thought, the food movement philosophy is based on a biological understanding of the world. Read Full Article »

A Poisoned Merger

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Monsanto’s GMO seeds and Bayer’s pesticides have already come together in joint projects. The companies’ merger can only mean more toxic products with perhaps better PR.

Monsanto-Bayer: The Year of Merging Dangerously
by Maryam Henein

Source: Liz West

The Big Ag tech giants Monsanto — maker of Agent Orange, genetically modified seeds and weed-whacking chemicals — and Bayer — famed for manufacturing poison gas for  Nazi concentration camp use, heroin, baby aspirin and systemic pesticides — are merging. Food security advocates, consumers and non-zombies worldwide are deeply concerned.

CNN Money declared the Monsanto-Bayer merger “the year’s biggest takeover.” Symbolically, it’s the merger of the century. At $66 billion, it’s also the biggest cash transaction on record. Read Full Article »

Immigration Law Aside, Mexican Farm Workers Harvesting Domestic Produce

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Organics are firmly rooted in attention to and care for the environment, animals and humanity. Farm labor is fraught with complex issues in need of our attention. True sustainability will ensure all farm workers a safer, more well-paid living.

Phantoms in the fields: Mexican workers drawn to harvest California crops, despite hardships and talk of a wall
The Sacramento Bee
by Mark Arax

Source: Damian Gadal

SELMA – There’s a stretch of Highway 99 in the middle of California where the new plantings of almonds at last give way to vineyards. This is where Selma, raisin capital of the world, still lives and dies by the grape. When the berries sugar up fast, as they have this year, harvest comes early.

The season finds the farmer at his most sour, contemplating an age-old question: Can enough workers be rounded up to pick the crop? He knows from empirical evidence that few citizens of the United States are willing to do the work. He knows that Selma’s salvation lies across the border. Read Full Article »