The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture History Research Grants

January 16th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: One of Cornucopia’s first policy advisors, Roger Blobaum, a widely respected pioneer in organic farm policy, has been instrumental in collecting papers from leaders in the organic movement to create a new collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The Society has announced the availability of grant funding for researchers and writers interested in exploring the new organic history collection located in Madison, Wisconsin.

This research grant, supported by the Wisconsin Historical Society located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, provides access to the resources of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Archives and other UW campus libraries and supports research and writing on the history of the modern organic and sustainable agriculture movement in the United States. The Wisconsin Historical Society’s Archives has assembled a growing collection of documentation on organic and sustainable agriculture topics including significant individuals and organizations working in the area of organic and sustainable agriculture, organic certification, state and national organic standards development, marketing organic produce, and other related subjects. An updated list of the organic and sustainable agriculture collections in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Archives may be found here: Read Full Article »

Escaped GMO Grass Threatens Oregon

January 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: According to this article, since its first field tests in Oregon in 2003, Scotts’ GMO bentgrass has contaminated fields and wilderness, threatening endangered plants in a 30-mile range. Suspiciously, Scotts has told the USDA it will not commercialize the grass, while still seeking deregulation. The USDA appears prepared to give up oversight, to the dismay of many farmers, regulators, and public interest groups.

GMO grass that ‘escaped’ defies eradication, divides grass seed industry
The Oregonian
by Jeff Manning

After more than a decade of unsuccessful efforts to eradicate the genetically modified grass it created and allowed to escape, lawn and garden giant Scotts Miracle-Gro now wants to step back and shift the burden to Oregonians.

Source: Brent Flanders

The federal government is poised to allow that to happen by relinquishing its oversight, even as an unlikely coalition of farmers, seed dealers, environmentalists, scientists and regulators cry foul. Read Full Article »

Food & Power: The Walmart of Organics? Whole Foods Moves to Centralized Purchasing

January 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: As access to organic food has increased, as mainstream retailers respond to consumer demand, specialty retailers like Whole Foods, which have historically been the go-to outlets for accessing better food are losing out. This has also been true for the nation’s approximately 300 member-owned co-op grocers (the gold standard in organic retail).

It would be a mistake for the higher-quality retailers to shift to more “generic” industrial organic brands rather than to continue to showcase artisan and local producers. For Whole Foods, this could result in the same type of death spiral that retail giants, like Sears, have experienced when not successfully differentiating themselves from the competition.

The following interesting coverage was created by New America.

The Walmart of Organics? Whole Foods Moves to Centralized Purchasing
New America – Food & Power
by Leah Douglas

Source: Masahiro Ihara

Whole Foods’ recent decision to centralize buying for its U.S. stores will likely make it much harder for smaller producers of organic and natural foods to get to market. The move could thus further solidify the control of the corporate food giants currently dominating the organic and natural foods sector.

Zach DeAngelo, a food entrepreneur and CEO of Rodeo Ventures, an investment firm, says the transition to centralized buying will “greatly diminish” the company’s likelihood of “taking bets on small brands,” depriving market newcomers of a crucial base-building opportunity. Read Full Article »

Sliced GMO Apples Coming to Midwest Stores Next Month

January 12th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Apples genetically modified not to brown will hit grocery coolers soon. Cornucopia recommends avoiding them, and the synthetic pesticides they harbor, by buying organic.  The GMO added anti-browning gene adds nothing nutritionally. Rather it is a marketer’s dream, allowing them to sell apples that one wouldn’t eat if you saw the browning.

First GMO apple slices to go on sale in Midwest
Capital Press
by Dan Wheat

Source: Charlotte Tai

A small amount of genetically modified sliced apples will go on sale in 10 Midwest stores this February and March.

The first genetically modified apples to be sold in the U.S. will debut in select Midwestern stores next month.

A small amount of Arctic brand sliced and packaged Golden Delicious, produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits of Summerland, B.C., will be in 10 stores this February and March, said Neal Carter, the company’s founder and president. He would not identify the retailers, saying that’s up to them. Read Full Article »

Big Ag Cries that Dannon Non-GMO Pledge is Not Sustainable

January 11th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: A “who’s who” list of industrial agriculture proponents have written a strongly worded letter, calling Dannon’s non-GMO pledge “marketing flim-flam.” It appears that consumer opinion, and voting with our forks, has gained enough power to sway Big Food, to the dismay of Big Ag. Cornucopia notes that organic is by definition non-GMO and does not allow synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

Farm groups challenge food company’s non-GM pledge
The Western Producer
by Sean Pratt

Yogurt maker Dannon is misleading the public by suggesting non-GM crops are more sustainable than GM crops, say opponents

Farmers and food companies have dropped the gloves in the debate over genetically modified food.

A number of food companies have recently announced they are introducing non-GM product lines. That is making growers antsy because many rely on biotechnology to keep weeds and insects at bay.

The line in the sand for farm groups was when the Dannon Company announced it was converting its Dannon, Danimals and Oikos brands of yogurt to all non-GM ingredients by 2018. Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000