Opinion/Editorial Archive

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 »

Conventional Dairy Image Belies Toxic Reality

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: The image of tranquil cows gladly giving their healthy milk is only PR spin hiding the reality of many conventional cows living on concrete and eating toxins. Consumers’ first choice should be organic dairy.

Will Allen & Michael Colby: Dairy Marketing vs. Reality
VT Digger
by Will Allen and Michael Colby

cowsEditor’s note: This commentary is by Will Allen and Michael Colby, who are co-founders, along with Kate Duesterberg, of Regeneration Vermont, a new nonprofit educational and advocacy organization that is working to halt the catastrophic consequences of Vermont’s adoption of degenerative, toxic and climate-threatening agricultural techniques.

The great divide between the well-marketed image of Vermont dairy farming and its stark and toxic realities is becoming harder and harder to ignore. The marketing shows healthy cows grazing on lush pastures. But the reality is cows on concrete, being fed a diet of GMO-corn and the toxic residues from the hundreds of thousands of pounds of herbicides sprayed annually on the corn and hay fields.

Instead of addressing the toxic legacy of the very non-organic dairying that dominates our agriculture, Vermont’s two giant diary corporations, Cabot Creamery and Ben & Jerry’s, and the state’s agricultural agency that acts more as their protector than regulator, continue to hide behind the myth and the marketing. Read Full Article »

Former Biotechnology’s “Governor of the Year” to Oversee GMO Labeling

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Consumers can currently be certain that their food is non-GMO by buying organic. However, some language in the new GMO labeling bill could dilute the definition of “bioengineered” in organic regulations as well. Lawsuits are already pending. Stand by to help keep organics truly non-GMO.

Genetically modified food: New law a disaster
San Diego Union-Tribune
by David Schubert

Source: CT Senate Democrats

[Early this month], President Obama signed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, a deceptive document that will put the U.S. population at risk for generations.

This bill creates a situation in which a shopper who wishes to know if a food contains genetically modified (GM) products will likely be required to use a smart phone, make a phone call, or employ a bar code decoder.

In addition, the bill forbids states from labeling foods, gives all of the power to the secretary of agriculture to regulate GM food labeling and even redefines the actual meaning of GM. Read Full Article »

Leading Organic Industry CEO Condemns GMO Labeling “Sell-out”

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Criticizes the Organic Trade Association and Some of Its Powerful Members

David Bronner

Cornucopia’s Take: David Bronner, CEO at Dr. Bronner’s, has been an activist and a leading voice for the real labeling of GMO foods. He also happens to be a long time member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). He is harshly critical of how the OTA, and some of its most powerful members, secretly worked to “sell-out” the GMO food labeling movement and enable the recent passage of the toothless GMO food labeling bill signed into law by the President last week.

Although the OTA defended their position as being pragmatic, as the best compromise that they could broker, it gave, primarily Democrats, the political shelter to go ahead and switch their votes in support of the giant agribusiness lobby that favored the bill. Without a radical change in Washington, this will, for the foreseeable future, end any debate about legitimate/substitute GMO labeling.

This legislation was opposed, on the record, by The Cornucopia Institute and approximately 275 nonprofits involved in food and agriculture, along with a handful of ethical businesses like Dr. Bronner’s. Besides for the organic industry lobby, the OTA, Organic Valley and Stonyfield, only two nonprofits supported the legislation: Just Label It and The Environmental Working Group who both receive funding from the aforementioned businesses.

Dear All:

OTAOTA’s betrayal of the movement to mandate labeling of GMOs in America is now complete, with Obama signing into law Friday the Stabenow Roberts legislation requiring only electronic disclosure via QR code or an 800 number of “bioengineered” content, that forever preempts Vermont and all other states from mandating disclosure of GMOs on packaging. Apparently Executive Director Laura Batcha and board chair Missy Hughes, with support from Organic Valley CEO George Siemon, decided to act unilaterally and endorse the Stabenow Roberts legislation, without OTA board review. Read Full Article »

A Farmer’s Thoughts on 100% Grass Fed Dairying

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

by Jack Lazor
Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont

Source: Butterworks Farm

One hundred per cent grass fed dairy products (aka “grass milk”) has been a relatively recent arrival to the dairy section of most natural foods outlets. The health benefits of 100% grass fed dairy have long been espoused by The Weston A. Price Foundation and others. When cows live on a diet from which grain has been eliminated, the omega 3 fatty acid profile increases in their milk. Grass fed beef has become quite popular because of the presence of conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) in the meat. Higher CLAs reduce one’s risk of cancer and other diseases. These same nutritional advantages hold true for 100% grass fed milk products.

We here at Butterworks Farm have long been interested in no grain dairy farming. For the past forty years we have been grain growers as well as hay producers. Cereals (oats, wheat and barley) and row crops like corn and soy have fit neatly into our crop rotation with grasses and legumes. The straw byproduct of the grain is just as important to us for bedding our animals as the grain is for feeding them. We grind the grain into a dairy ration and feed our cows grains from our own farm as opposed to buying it from the “mill.” Read Full Article »