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.

From One Biotech Governor of the Year to Another: Welcome to the USDA

February 7th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary during the entire Obama administration, recently met with Sonny Perdue, the Trump administration nominee for Secretary of the USDA.

Under the Bush administration the USDA monkey-wrenched the organic program (mostly through numerous delaying tactics in terms of rulemaking and enforcement).  But under the Obama/Vilsack administration they perfected the game by forming an intimate partnership with corporate agribusiness lobbyists, particularly the Organic Trade Association.

Under both Republicans and Democrats, the USDA’s policies have been beholden to corporate farming and food processing interests — rolling out the red carpet for Monsanto and other GMO proponents and paying lip service to supporting organics.  It’s bipartisan corruption.

Cornucopia will be watching the first moves of the Trump/Purdue leadership at the USDA very carefully. We will reach out to engage with the new political appointees and assume that they are going to work in good faith until proven otherwise.

Vilsack backs Perdue as his USDA successor
by Chuck Abbott

Tom Vilsack
Source: USDA

On the same day that Senate Democrats toughened their opposition to President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, former agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said he supports Sonny Perdue as his successor at USDA. With Vilsack, Perdue “is the only cabinet nominee to secure the support of his predecessor in the Obama administration,” said the Trump transition team.

The statement grew out of a telephone conversation last weekend between the former two-term governors, said a transition official. “They worked (together) in the past” and had a lively conversation about USDA. Through a spokesman, Vilsack confirmed his support of Perdue.

“I have had the opportunity to work with Governor Perdue and know how committed he is to all of our farmers, ranchers and producers regardless of size or production method (to) expand markets here and throughout the world,” said Vilsack in the three-paragraph statement. “As a former governor, he knows full well the opportunities and challenges that exist in rural communities. He will, I am sure, work hard to expand opportunity in rural America.” Read Full Article »

Land Grabbing, Deforestation and Your Pension: How to Take Action on TIAA-CREF!

February 7th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: We have always asserted that the decisions we make choosing food have a direct impact on the stewardship of the planet. Obviously, so do our decisions on where our retirement savings are invested.

This just in from our ally, Dr. John Peck, at Family Farm Defenders.

Join the webinar Tuesday Feb. 7th at 11:00 am CST (today!) to learn whether your money is invested in deforestation and land rights abuses and what you can do about it!

Source: Flickr

Register here.

If you can’t register online, call in by phone: +1 (619) 309-1058  Pin: 643117 or  579317  (either pin works). If you have trouble joining the webinar, call 202-222-0754.

When you save for retirement, you dream of a better future. But if your retirement funds are invested in destructive companies, that very future is undermined.

Americans have over $4 trillion invested through 401k retirement funds. But did you know that some of your retirement funds could be invested in land rights abuses and dirty palm oil – an industry that is destroying tropical forests and wiping out orangutans? Read Full Article »

A World Without Bees?

February 3rd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: This brief animated video won the 2016 Real Food Films Best Animation Award. We hope you enjoy it.

Save the Bees | 2016 Real Food Films Winner
Real Food Media

Bees are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. They are key to healthy ecosystems, plants and agriculture. This short animation tells the story behind dwindling bee populations, and asks us to take action. Read Full Article »

The Adventure of Organic Farming

February 2nd, 2017

Eliot Coleman has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. He is the author of The New Organic Grower, Four Season Harvest, and the Winter Harvest Handbook. He produces year-round vegetable crops, even under harsh winter conditions (for which he uses unheated and minimally heated greenhouses and polytunnels).

by Eliot Coleman

Eliot Coleman

For someone like me, whose passions, before I began as an organic farmer, included other supposedly impossible activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, and white water kayaking, organic farming has always felt like an adventure – an adventure into a new part of the natural world – the miraculous part beneath our feet. Exploring the mysteries of the soil doesn’t involve high altitude cold or vertical rock faces or raging rivers but it still offers the same sense of accomplishment, of satisfaction, and of excitement. So, thanks to that adventurer’s background, when I first became interested in food and farming some 50 years ago in 1965, I was imbued with the adventurer’s ethic.

That ethic is crafted on minimalism, respect for the natural world, and independence. Adventurers want to experience the boundaries of the natural world as purely and cleanly as possible guided by the decisions they make themselves. The ideal in climbing is to avoid all artificiality, to have little need for superfluous technology, and to attain the closest possible intimacy between the adventurers and the reality of the world around them. The dream is to seek out challenges, succeed at doing them, and leave a pristine world for others to follow – to pass through a landscape like sunlight through wind. The goal is in doing it elegantly, and the delight is derived from that accomplishment. Read Full Article »

What We Eat Matters; So Does What We Eat Eats

February 2nd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: As more consumers seek eggs, dairy, and meat from healthy, well-fed animals, demand for high quality feed is skyrocketing. The operations in this article are working to commercialize insects for feed, a relatively new entry into the industry and one that could be incredibly useful for poultry.

Maggot Revolution
by Gloria Dickie

Agricultural entrepreneurs want to solve the planet’s livestock-feed crisis by farming insect larvae. Will their scheme fly?

Black Soldier Fly
Source: Judy Gallagher

Phil Taylor carefully slides back the corrugated plastic door on his 1,800-square-foot barn, on the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado. To the west, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains loom large above the laying hens that peck and scratch in the dusty field. “The smell in here isn’t too bad,” Taylor observes, stepping inside, as the aroma of warm earth and yeast surrounds us. He strolls over to a series of wooden shelves housing dozens of black, nine-gallon Rubbermaid mixing tubs and begins combing his hands through their contents. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to smell this all day, but it’s not putrid.” One by one, pale, wriggling maggots, immersed in wasted brewers grains, begin to trickle through his tanned fingers. Suddenly it seems all too important that this disquieting sight isn’t also accompanied by the smell of rotting decay. Read Full Article »

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