Can I donate via PayPal?
Please allow PayPal to share your contact information with Cornucopia, enabling us to send you our quarterly newsletter and other periodic communications.
Do you take bequests or other types of gifts?
For information on recognizing Cornucopia in a bequest, or for gifts of stock and other appreciated assets, please feel free to contact us.
Where can I find Cornucopia’s financial statements?
Our financial information is available on the bottom of our About page.
Do I have permission to repost, redistribute or use your graphics, photographs or written materials?
All of the materials we create (not including news articles authored by others and posted on our site, or images belonging to others) are available for others to use. Reposts cite original sources and authors at the top of the post. We ask for proper attribution of our original material, so please reference “The Cornucopia Institute.”
We also appreciate knowing where our materials appear, and would appreciate a quick note (please email us at [email protected]) to let us know where our materials are published.
Please note that the ‘Who Owns Organic?’ material originates from Professor Phil Howard, and his permission will be needed to reuse this data. His email address is available at https://philhoward.net/.
What rating criteria do you use to rate brands in your scorecards?
Each scorecard includes a link to “rating criteria” which explains the criteria we use and how we tabulate each brand’s score.
How do you verify information sent in from scorecard participants?
A company or farm’s score is based on their answers to a comprehensive survey we developed. We also visit farms as possible to verify their claims. When we are not able to visit the farms in person, we ask participants to send photographs or video of their outdoor space and barns.
Sometimes we enlist the help of colleagues to make unannounced visits, use satellite imagery, and have hired pilots for aerial photography.
Do you rate Canadian brands?
We have received an increasing number of requests to work in Canada but we don’t have the staffing or resources to do so at this time.
How often are your scorecards updated?
Our scorecards are updated continually, as new producers are added to the scorecard or existing producers change their production practices. We strongly encourage consumers to contact companies that are rated low, and share your thoughts with them. If they did not participate in the Cornucopia study, please urge them to do so (they can contact The Cornucopia Institute to obtain a survey).
Do you have an app for your scorecards?
No, but our scorecards are mobile-friendly.
I just received your action alert. Wouldn’t it be easier to start online petitions rather than encourage citizens to submit comments directly to elected officials or regulatory agencies?
As electronic petitions have become more popular, their value has decreased in the eyes of many policymakers. Most petitions, unless they have millions of signatories, are pretty much ignored. However, a giant stack of letters is not as easily dismissed.
When you submit your comments through the federal government website, your thoughts become part of the public record and are posted where other citizens can also see them. It takes some extra effort, but we highly recommend submitting comments directly to government officials through regulations.gov to comment on federal rulemaking.
Likewise, proxy letters take more time and effort. A letter with a penned signature, especially with a handwritten personal message, has a real impact.
We once had a meeting in the Washington office of the USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture. When we put a giant stack of proxies in front of the officials, one of the big shots slammed his palm against his head and said, “Oh God! We have to enter all these into our computer system.” There was no way they could ignore the magnitude of public input.
Can I trust the organic label?
The organic label is the most stringently regulated and trustworthy label on foods in the marketplace. The majority of participants in the organic community have high integrity.
It’s a shame that the USDA’s accreditation program has yet to hit its stride and guarantee the authenticity of all organic food. In the meantime, we encourage you to consult the scorecards on The Cornucopia Institute website so you can support authentic organic farmers.
There are few alternatives to certified organic food, and fighting for the authenticity of the organic label is worth all of our efforts.
I emailed a company that produces foods containing soy protein and is listed as using hexane-extracted soy on your shopping guide. They claim there is no hexane in their products. Could your shopping list be wrong?
When consumers email companies with concerns, it is not unusual for the customer service representatives to respond with vague statements designed to mislead customers. In the case of hexane and soy protein, some companies respond with statements such as “we do not use hexane in the direct production of soy protein.” This does not mean that the soybeans were not processed with hexane. The soybeans are processed with hexane in one of the initial processing steps, usually by a major agribusiness supplier such as ADM or Cargill (so technically, to say “we do not use hexane” is correct – in the same way that “we do not use pesticides” does not mean that no pesticides were used in the production of the ingredients that go into their products).
For more information regarding hexane, please read our report.
I emailed a company that uses carrageenan, and they claim that they use only food-grade carrageenan, which is safe.
Since 1969, researchers have found that food-grade carrageenan is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, ulcerations and lesions. Several studies with food-grade carrageenan found it to be a promoter of colon tumors in laboratory animals.
The only studies that conclude that food-grade carrageenan is safe to consume have been funded or commissioned by carrageenan suppliers or the food industry. Studies pointing to harm have been funded by independent or government sources, including the National Institutes of Health. The statement by some food processors that “food-grade carrageenan is safe” is based on a handful of self-serving, industry-funded studies.
Please read our report for more information.
What does the USDA’s pasteurization requirement mean about the raw almonds I purchase?
California growers (nearly all US almonds are grown in California) must pasteurize their almonds prior to selling them “raw” to markets in the US, Canada, and Mexico. In almonds, pasteurized means they are treated with either a toxic fumigant classified as a possible carcinogen or propylene oxide, or heated with steam.
There are two exceptions to the raw almond pasteurization mandate:
1. Exports of raw almonds to foreign countries (excluding Canada and Mexico) do not have to be pasteurized.
2. Farmers can sell untreated raw almonds, in maximum lot sizes of 100 pounds, directly to consumers from their farmsteads or at a farmers market.
What is Cornucopia’s position on omnivorous diet v. vegetarian/vegan diets, raw diets or raw milk?
The Cornucopia Institute is neutral in terms of people’s dietary choices. Our work has been found useful by omnivores, vegetarians who consume dairy and eggs, vegans, and 100% raw eaters.
Some of our supporters produce and market raw milk and dairy products.
We believe that people should have access to the healthiest and most nutritious food, and that the farmers who produce it deserve to be fairly compensated. No matter what your dietary choice, purchasing authentic organic food should be of paramount importance.
While we remain neutral on the health attributes and/or risks of raw milk, we will aggressively defend the rights of dairy farmers to produce and market raw dairy products and the rights of consumers to make informed purchasing decisions in the marketplace.
Corporate agribusiness partnering with government is endangering everyone’s ability to purchase truly authentic and nutritionally superior food in the marketplace. The concentration of our food industry, and dependence on industrial-scale livestock production, endangers human health and the environment.
Where can I connect with local food producers?
Your local farmers market and member-owned food cooperatives (if there are any in your area) are two excellent resources, along with the websites eatwild.com and localharvest.org. The Weston A. Price Foundation local chapters are a good resource as well. You may also try a web search specific to your state or city.
Where can I learn more about organic farming practices and local food systems?
Here are some excellent resources on organic growing:
The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA)
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)
Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
National Young Farmer Coalition’s Vegetable Farmer’s Guide to Organic Certification
National Organic Program (NOP)
The University of Minnesota Extension Office offers resources to support communities in any stage of building community food systems. Resources are intended for farmers and producers, community organizations, and Extension Educators but may interest anyone in community and local foods.
Also, Michigan Good Food is a good website for information on building a sustainable food system.