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.

Organizing Efforts Help Farmers Make a Living in Montana – Organically

January 30th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The Montana Organic Association‘s (MOA) mission is to advocate and promote organic agriculture for the highest good of the people, the environment and the state’s economy. Because organic market prices are higher than conventional, and the cost of inputs for organic farming is often far below that for conventional, MOA finds that organic farming is often more viable for new farmers. As these farms face increasing competition from cheap “organic” imports and industrial domestic supply, organizations like MOA in communities across the country are increasingly vital to ensure long-term sustainability of organic producers and their local food economies.

Organic farming oftentimes most viable for new producers
Great Falls Tribune
by Amy Grisak

The Montana Organic Association is a valuable resource in this burgeoning realm of agriculture providing information and support for growers and conscientious consumers. This vibrant organization is there to help producers by cultivating networks to sell their products, assist those transitioning from conventional systems, and continue to work on the regulation aspect of organic production, along with offering educational opportunities for everyone.

“We represent, educate, and support organic growers and interested citizens,” said Doug Crabtree, board chairperson of the Montana Organic Association.

Conventional agricultural undoubtedly dominates the Montana landscape, yet according to Crabtree, “The market for organic has been growing in double digits for years.”  Read Full Article »

Nutrients Come from Healthy Soil – So What About Hydroponics?

January 29th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Organic tomato farmer Dave Chapman discusses the co-evolution of fungi and plants in the soil, the corporate profit motive that is changing organic regulations, and the absurdity of thinking farmers can recreate soil conditions with water and a few bags of fertilizer.

How the Hydroponics Industry Is Undermining Everything the Organic Farming Movement Stands For
In These Times
by Dan Bensonoff

Dave Chapman discusses the past, present, and future of organic certification in the United States, and efforts to keep organic farming based on healthy soil rather than hydroponic solutions at the 11th Annual Organic Producers Conference in England. (Video: TheNOFAVT / YouTube)

Editor’s note: In the 1990s, when the Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was drafting what it would mean to be “certified organic,” they defined organic agriculture, in part, as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity.” In other words, USDA set legal standards for a system of food production that, unlike the ecologically destructive, tremendously profitable industrial model, focused on the long-term health of the land (i.e. soil) and water on which hard-working farmers cultivate food. In theory, at least, the USDA’s “organic seal” would allow consumers to identify the goods produced by those farmers willing to put in the extra work—forgo the use of synthetic inputs, steer clear of genetic engineering, implement crop and grazing rotations etc.—and focus on sustainable growing practices. Read Full Article »

Big Ag Attacks Organic: Hoover Institution Provides Spin for Monsanto Again

January 29th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Newsweek has recently posted a sensational article, “The Campaign for Organic Food is a Deceitful, Expensive Scam,” by the infamous Dr. Henry I. Miller. In it, the author takes aim at our colleagues, Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association and Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, and questions the investigative work of Mark Bittman and Danny Hakim. Outrageously, Miller portrays Big Ag as the underdog in the GMO controversy. U.S. Right to Know provides the context, below, for Miller’s “news” article and tracks his association with Monsanto.

Monsanto’s Fingerprints All Over Newsweek’s Hit on Organic Food
U.S. Right to Know
by Stacy Malkan

Hoover Tower at
the Hoover Institution
Source: Wally Gobetz

“The campaign for organic food is a deceitful, expensive scam,” according to a Jan. 19 Newsweek article authored by Dr. Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institution.

If that name sounds familiar – Henry I. Miller – it may be because the New York Times recently revealed a scandal involving Miller: that he had been caught publishing an article ghostwritten by Monsanto under his own name in Forbes. The article, which largely mirrored a draft provided to him by Monsanto, attacked the scientists of the World Health Organization’s cancer panel (IARC) for their decision to list Monsanto’s top-selling chemical, glyphosate, as a probable human carcinogen.

Reporting on an email exchange released in litigation with Monsanto over cancer concerns, the Times’Danny Hakim wrote:

“Monsanto asked Mr. Miller if he would be interested in writing an article on the topic, and he said, ‘I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft.’

The article appeared under Mr. Miller’s name, and with the assertion that ‘opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.’ The magazine did not mention any involvement by Monsanto in preparing the article …

Forbes removed the story from its website on Wednesday and said that it ended its relationship with Mr. Miller amid the revelations.” Read Full Article »

Consumers Happy to Buy Imperfect Crops

January 26th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The story below highlights the possibilities for curbing food waste when consumers have access to less-than-perfect food that typically never makes it to the grocery store. Likewise this can benefit farmers who may have some “uglies” in their produce by providing another marketing outlet.

Seattle’s love affair with ugly fruits and veggies
The Seattle Times
by Tan Vinh

Source: Amber Karnes

When San Francisco-based Imperfect Produce entered the Seattle market, it aimed to sign up 300 households by the end of the year. But instead more than 2,000 signed up within four weeks.

Crooked-neck parsnips with wickedly long whiskers. Double-jointed carrots and knobbly spuds. These fruits and veggies never make it onto the catwalk of the supermarkets.

Misshapen with skin blemishes, the ugly ducklings end up in landfills or go to food banks if they’re lucky.

Poor, poor ugly produce. There’s an underworld full of them, waiting to be gobbled or turned into pie fillings. But who will have them? Read Full Article »

The Decade of Family Farming is Here!

January 26th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The UN has declared 2019–2028 the Decade of Family Farming, encouraging governments to adopt policies that will help family farmers. Family farmers produce 80% of the world’s food, and they hold the keys to food security and biodiversity. Cornucopia applauds this UN declaration. Watch our website and take part in our action alerts to help support organic family farmers.

The U.N. General Assembly Officially Declares the Decade of Family Farming

In My Backyard Misty Hollow, LLC
Courtesy of Sally Hammerman

The U.N. General Assembly has officially declared 2019–2028 the Decade of Family Farming. Initially proposed in October 2017, the resolution passed with 104 co-sponsors and unanimous approval. The Decade aims to inspire the international community to generate a refreshed political commitment supporting family farmers and crafting pro-family farming policies.

The resolution acknowledges family farmers as key leaders in the pursuit of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically in “ensuring global food security, eradicating poverty, ending hunger, conserving biodiversity, achieving environmental sustainability, and helping to address migration.”

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) most recent report “The State of Food and Agriculture”, about 750 million of the world’s extremely poor work in agriculture, usually as smallholder family farmers. Family farmers produce more than 80 percent of the world’s food and control 75 percent of all agricultural resources. Read Full Article »

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