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.

Even NRCS Understands that Organic is Soil

February 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The National Organic Program should respect organic law which clearly requires good soil stewardship. They could begin by listening to other experts in the field like long-time organic pioneering growers at Keep the Soil in Organic and government scientists at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Profile in Soil Health: Chris Roehm

“Investing in soil health is fundamental to good organic growing. I think they are essentially one in the same.”
Chris Roehm, organic farmer Read Full Article »

A Treasure in the Valley

February 10th, 2017

Purple Sage Farms’ Quest for Success

[This article was previously published in the winter issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Rachel Zegerius
Communications and Development Associate at The Cornucopia Institute

Photo courtesy of Arlie Sommer

Organic farmers Tim Sommer and Tamara Sloviaczek are deeply connected to their family, their community, their customers, and to the many ecological systems with which they interact daily.

For many organic farmers, such connections are the lifeblood of a successful business. For Tim and Tamara, the founders of Purple Sage Farms, many of these connections did not exist in 1988, when the pair of corporate marketing professionals returned home to Idaho to pursue a love of farming.

At that time, there was no organic certification program in their state, there was no cooperative marketing infrastructure, and the local food movement had yet to take hold.

Since then, not only has this duo developed a successful herb farm, but through years of advocacy, organizing, and hard work, they have helped spark the good food movement in southwestern Idaho. Read Full Article »

Pesticide Poisoning Our Children Was Out, Now Maybe Back In

February 10th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: After five years of study, the EPA found that the commonly used pesticide chlorpyrifos is likely causing lasting harm to our children, in utero. With President Trump’s planned regulatory cuts, it is unclear whether chlorpyrifos manufacturers, Dow Chemical, may be able to override science and continue to peddle their lucrative toxic chemical.

Protect Our Children’s Brains
The New York Times
by Sharon Lerner

Source: Naomi Pincher

In the fall, I began to research an article that I gave the working title “The Last Days of Chlorpyrifos.” A widely used pesticide, chlorpyrifos affects humans as well as the bugs it kills. Back in the halcyon days before the election, the optimism of the title seemed warranted. After years of study, the Environmental Protection Agency had announced in October 2015 that it could no longer vouch for the safety of chlorpyrifos on food.

The agency had acknowledged for decades that chlorpyrifos can cause acute poisoning and in the early 2000s it had prohibited its use in most home products and reduced the amounts that could be used on some crops. But the 2015 announcement stemmed from the agency’s recognition of mounting evidence that prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos could have lasting effects on children’s brains. Read Full Article »

Citizens Want Real Food Choices

February 9th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia supports consumers’ right to know what is in their food, and we are heartened by reforms to the food system found on ballots across the nation. While this article alleges there is no science behind consumer objections to GMOs, we disagree. GMOs have increased the use of pesticides on farmlands, bred pesticide resistant weeds, helped to lessen biodiversity among crops, and consolidated political power and money among biotech corporations.

Food politics have sparked another kind of populism, and it’s resulting in real reform
by Chase Purdy

Source: Stephen Melkisethian

The oven mitts are coming off, as American citizens enter the political fray to press for reforms to the food industry.

In the last three years, voters at local levels have chosen to change parts of the food system in transformational ways. Consider what’s happened:

  • A spate of recently approved soda taxes now present an existential threat to the carbonated-beverage industry, forcing companies to beat back against the idea that their sugary products are “the new tobacco.”
  • Egg farmers in Midwestern states are changing the way the nation’s eggs are produced. That’s, at least in part, because of a cage-free referendum that was passed in November with the support of 78% of Massachusetts voters.
  • A law passed in Vermont—a state of 600,000 people—requiring food companies label genetically modified (GMO) foods has forced the food industry to overhaul its approach to labeling and has catalyzed efforts in Congress to rethink its rules (which nonetheless are still trending in a relatively industry-friendly direction).

Read Full Article »

Minnesota Farmers to Open Processing Plant

February 9th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The primary barrier to finding local organic meat in the market is the lack of local certified organic processing plants. This family plans to open a processing plant to bring their organic meat, and that of surrounding farmers, to market.

Kleins advance with processing plant plans
by Lisa Young

ELGIN, Minn. — For about 14 years, Eric and Lisa Klein have been at the forefront of the local food scene, selling their Hidden Stream Farm meat everywhere from the Rochester Farmers Market to high-end Twin Cities restaurants.

In May, the couple, who farm with their children outside Elgin, will venture into new territory with the opening of their own processing plant.

The to-be-named plant will be located in a building under renovation in Dover. 

The 12-mile farm-to-plant journey will be a lot shorter and definitely more centralized than the occasional multi-town round trips the Kleins make often as their operation has grown.

“There’s not any one processing plant with the capacity to do what we need,” Lisa said. “At one point, we were going to three different processing plants.”

The idea to have a plant of their own cropped up four or five years ago, Eric said. With few places for certified organic meat processing in the area, a growing need exists for more.  Read Full Article »

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