Promoting Economic Justice for Family-Scale Farming

NEWS FROM THE CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE

News From the Cornucopia Institute

June 28, 2016

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Call Your Senators: No to the Bipartisan DARK Act

Source: Alexandra E Rust

Source: Alexandra E Rust

Last week the Senate Agriculture Committee reached a “compromise” on GMO labeling, selling out consumers’ rights to know what’s in their food. The bill offers no penalties for non-compliance, would not go into effect for two years, calls for the use of QR codes, 800 numbers, and websites to inform consumers, and redefines genetically engineered food to exclude most of the GMO products on the market. In a new development, Just Label It and the Organic Trade Association have offered their inexplicable support to this toothless monstrosity.<br><br>Call (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator’s office. Tell them you want mandatory GMO labeling in plain language on the package, and that you support the state laws voted on by the people.

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Removal of Carrageenan from Organics Uncertain Due to Industry Lobbying

Source: Adobe Stock

Source: Adobe Stock

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will determine this fall whether carrageenan, a widely-used emulsifier and thickener derived from red seaweed, will continue to be allowed in organic food. Cornucopia and public interest groups testified against carrageenan, noting decades of independent research demonstrating its role in inflammation, colitis, cancer, and diabetes, but carrageenan industry representatives lined up to assure NOSB members that their product is safe. The NOSB member leading the “independent” carrageenan review parroted industry propaganda in her summary.  To avoid foods with carrageenan, consult our carrageenan report and buyers’ guide.

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Organic Seed Producers Needed

Source: Thiago Locks

Source: Thiago Locks

Organic farmers are required by the National Organic Program to use organic seed when commercially available, but organic seed supply continues to lag behind the growing market. According to Organic Seed Alliance’s (OSA) new report, most organic farmers still plant conventional (not genetically engineered) seed. Although more organic farmers use organic seed than three years ago, the largest organic farms continue to use little organic seed, and certifiers appear to have weakened enforcement of the organic seed requirement in the last five years. OSA’s report recommends more investment in seed research, training organic farmers to grow seed, and increasing certifier enforcement.

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North Dakota Supports Small Farmers

Source: Kevin Chang

Source: Kevin Chang

A 1932 law prohibiting corporations from farming and ranching or owning farm or ranch land in North Dakota remained intact until 2015 when the North Dakota Legislature passed SB 2351, creating an exemption allowing corporate-owned swine and dairy operations in the state. Family farming advocates argued that local farms would not be able to compete with corporations, and the North Dakota Farmers Union unanimously voted to bring the legislation to referendum. This month, SB 2351 was overturned by more than 70% of North Dakota state voters, keeping North Dakota free of corporate farms.

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Who Invented Cherry Tomatoes?

Source: BarbBarbBarb

Source: BarbBarbBarb

Gastropod investigated a questionable Israeli claim that Israel invented the cherry tomato, and uncovered the history of this once uncommon fruit. South America is the birthplace of the tomato, and genetic evidence suggests cherry tomatoes preceded the huge varieties we eat today. Still, cherry tomatoes were rarely available until the late 80s, when their popularity grew out of consumer dissatisfaction with rubbery supermarket tomatoes. Listen to the podcast to learn how the cherry tomato was brought to markets everywhere.

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The Cornucopia Institute

is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to family farmers, consumers, stakeholders involved in the good food movement, and the media.

P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
TEL: 608-625-2000 | FAX: 866-861-2214 | www.cornucopia.org