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.

Trump Administration Deregulating Environmental Toxins

April 24th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Sonny Perdue appears poised to become the next Secretary of Agriculture. The big pesticide purveyors are salivating over the prospect of deregulating and removing science and health-based restrictions on their favorite poisons.

Poisons Are Us
The New York Times
by Timothy Egan

Source: Tracy Ducasse

When you bite into a piece of fruit, it should be a mindless pleasure. Sure, that steroidal-looking strawberry with a toothpaste-white interior doesn’t seem right to begin with. But you shouldn’t have to think about childhood brain development when layering it over your cereal.

The Trump administration, in putting chemical industry toadies between our food and public safety, has forced a fresh appraisal of breakfast and other routines that are not supposed to be frightful.

One of the first things this administration did was to rescind a government proposal to ban a pesticide used on much of the fresh food we eat — a chemical compound, chlorpyrifos, found to be harmful to the brain and nervous system of children. This move didn’t get a lot of attention. But when you’re throwing out a half-dozen major lies and missteps a day, it’s tough to compete for airtime. Read Full Article »

Leopold Center in Danger – Call Today

April 24th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is in danger of being defunded by the state of Iowa, which would effectively close the doors. The legislation is currently sitting on the governor’s desk. Call Governor Branstad TODAY asking him to protect the Leopold Center.  Call 515-281-5211 or submit comments at The Leopold Center’s importance extends well beyond Iowa’s borders.

Cost-Cutting Sustainability
DTN – The Progressive Farmer
by Chris Clayton

Iowa Lawmakers Push to Dismantle Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Just three weeks ago, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University was celebrating its 30th anniversary with guest lecturers, including some of the former state legislators who helped create the center.

But in a surprise move last week at the Iowa statehouse, lawmakers voted to eliminate the sustainable agriculture research center by zeroing out the Leopold Center’s entire funding stream. Read Full Article »

Follow the National Organic Standards Board Meeting in Denver, CO #NOSB

April 18th, 2017

Last Updated: April 21, 2017 at 1:45PM CT

Join The Cornucopia Institute as we live tweet from the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Denver, Colorado. We will be sharing the play by play with our Twitter followers under #NOSB or simply follow our stream.

For background on issues up for discussion at the meeting, see:

  • The Cornucopia Institute’s written public comments to the NOSB
  • A summary of public comments at the NOSB’s pre-meeting webinar
  • A recap of public comments from the non-profit community on NOSB issues
  • A scorecard rating NOSB member voting records on contentious organic issues

You can also stay updated throughout the meeting right here:

National Organic Standards Board poses for a photo
From left to right, with affiliations: Miles McEvoy (NOP), Steve Ela (farmer), Sue Baird (consumer/public interest), Joelle Mosso (handler/processor), Asa Bradman (environmentalist), and Dr. David Mortensen (scientist).

The five new members of the NOSB will serve five year terms on the 15-member NOSB.

Friday, April 21, 2017

1:35PM CT: The NOSB meeting is closed after each subcommittee reviewed their upcoming workplans (which can be found on the Denver meeting page) and including a discussion document for organic seed purity from GMOs in the fall.

1:22PM CT: Moving onto other issues, the NOSB, by unanimous vote, passes a resolution urging the Secretary to allow the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule to become effective on May 19, 2017 without further delay. Congress and the Secretary shouldn’t see this rule as a political issue because farmers and consumers represent the full spectrum of political lines. Read Full Article »

Egg Labels Explained

April 17th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Egg cartons have an increasingly dizzying number of claims stamped across them, and we regularly receive questions on their meanings. This article decodes them well. Cornucopia’s scorecard for organic eggs helps consumers decide which organic brands are produced with the highest integrity and best management practices.

What All of the “Cage-Free” Stuff on Egg Cartons REALLY Means
Bon Appétit
by Adrienne Rose Johnson

Source: Saecker

Brown, white, jumbo, organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed, humane, farm-fresh: My grocery store literally has 15 types of eggs. The cheapest dozen cost $3.56 and the most expensive are $9.99. Some cartons look like advertisements for down-on-the-farm hoedowns, a fantasy of cheery chickens and farm folk in a quilting bee or at a barn-raising. There’s Meadow Creek Farm, Happy Egg Co., Scenic Vista Farm: Would I rather my eggs come from a meadow or a scenic vista? Do happy chickens with a view lay better eggs?

And they all pretty much look the same. Even the giant flat shrink-wrapped pallets of eggs seem okay: they’re jumbo, “farm-fresh,” and “natural” just like cute little organic 6-packs. But are they the same?

We pinned down what those labels mean. Read Full Article »

Denver USDA Meeting Will Help Decide Organic Future

April 16th, 2017

Farmers, Consumers, Nonprofits Challenge Mounting Agribusiness Dominance

Will Industrial-Scale Hydroponic (soil-less) Production or Allowing Plastic Contamination of Organic Farmland be Sanctioned?

NOSB Deliberations at the Fall 2016 Meeting

Advocates for organic food and farming are, increasingly, victims of their own success. Over the past 25 years, this grassroots movement has morphed into a $43 billion industry, turning the biannual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meetings into a struggle between representatives of organic farmers and consumers and powerful agribusiness lobbyists. The spring meeting in Denver starts on April 19 and could decide who influences the regulations that determine the working definition of the USDA’s organic seal.

On the meeting’s docket is the highly controversial question of whether to legalize hydroponic production of organic fruits and vegetables, which are generally grown in industrial-scale greenhouses with liquid fertilizer instead of nutrient-rich soil. Also up for debate will be allowing “biodegradable” plastic mulch, without scientific evidence to assure organic consumers that toxic and synthetic residues left in the soil will not end up in organic crops or negatively impact the environment. Read Full Article »

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