Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


People's Speak: Co-op Blog

Sep 09, 2011

Turning the Farm Bill into the Food Bill

by monicacuneo — last modified Sep 09, 2011 01:47 PM

President of the Environmental Working Group, Ken Cook, discusses the Farm Bill, the massive subsides paid to industrial farmers and how we can all act to help advocate and improve this important legislation.

Aug 23, 2011

Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek is local food HERO!!!

by monicacuneo — last modified Aug 23, 2011 10:30 AM

Check out this short video about his dedication to cultivating regional grains, beans and produce.

Aug 08, 2011

Jamie Oliver's 'Food Revolution'

by monicacuneo — last modified Aug 08, 2011 10:05 AM

What do you think - is he really changing the way we 'cook, eat and feed our kids'? Read this interview and tell us what you think!

Aug 04, 2011

Nourishing Foodways Blog

by monicacuneo — last modified Aug 04, 2011 10:37 AM

People's Food Co-op Member - Owner, Dori Oliver, cooks up gluten free delights on her blog Nourishing Foodways

May 15, 2011

NEW REPORT: Green Jobs in a Sustainable Food System

by Monicac — last modified May 15, 2011 12:00 AM

'Our food system is broken.  A system that fails to meet basic food needs for millions of Americans - while some 40 percent of all food produced is thrown away and not eaten - is one that needs fixing.  There are more than 50 million people in the US today who live in food insecure households, with African American and Latino households being amongst the most vulnerable.'


May 05, 2011

Prince Charles Joins the Foodie Ranks - What do you think?

by Monicac — last modified May 05, 2011 11:56 AM

You can read the entire speech here! Even though the speech is a lot of pages, it is all double spaced AND in big font. And worth the read. Don't you think?


"Whether you think the Prince of Wales is just an ecological hypocrite or not, you have to admit his speech yesterday at the Future of Food conference at Georgetown University was inspiring. It even led some rather cynical soldiers in the sustainable/organic food campaign to offer praise."

click here to read the full article and link to the speech:

Mar 21, 2011

Cooperatives Offer an Alternative By Emilio Godoy

by Monicac — last modified Mar 21, 2011 11:40 AM

MEXICO CITY, Mar 15, 2011 (IPS) - After years of decline, the cooperative movement in Mexico is reviving as a relatively safe haven from the shocks of the neoliberal free- market model of production and the financial and food crises that have affected the country.

"Cooperatives have had a positive impact on job creation, investment, education and health. They have helped drive community development," Juan Domínguez, general coordinator of the Cooperative of Advisers for Social Progress (SCAAS), which has worked with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) since 1990, told IPS.

Domínguez, a member of the National Network of Researchers and Educators in Cooperativism and Solidarity Economics, is the author of two research publications, the most recent of which is a 2007 book titled "Las cooperativas, polos de desarrollo regional en México" (Cooperatives: Poles of Regional Development in Mexico).

In 2005 a group of bean farmers in the northern state of Zacatecas formed a cooperative called "El Granero Nacional" (National Granary), a wholesale centre for agricultural supplies and comprehensive services, to facilitate storage and marketing.

To read the full article:

Feb 13, 2011

11 Year Old Talks About the Failures of Our Food System

by Monicac — last modified Feb 13, 2011 11:37 AM

Oct 29, 2010

USDA National Organic Standards Board Meeting

by Monicac — last modified Oct 29, 2010 04:13 PM

Cornucopia Reports on the Passion Tense Moments

Agribusiness and the Organic Community Come Together in the End on Most Issues


The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) concluded its four-day semiannual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin on Thursday with votes and decisions on several issues impacting the organic industry.  The meeting began on Monday with a comprehensive progress report by USDA deputy administrator Miles McEvoy who heads the National Organic Program (NOP).


"We continue to be impressed by the ambitious agenda McEvoy has put forward and the eminently qualified team he has assembled, of dedicated veterans and new recruits, in the rapidly growing program, "said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.


Cornucopia helped organize dozens of egg farmers and marketers, joined by retailers and consumers, who traveled to Madison, from as far away as Seattle, to passionately appeal to the NOSB and the NOP to aggressively enforce the requirement for access to the outdoors in the poultry industry.


In testimony, certified organic egg producer Loren Yoder, of Riverside, Iowa said, "My birds are outdoors 24/7.”  Yoder’s barn holds 9000 birds and he has a 14 foot door at one end that the birds use.


Matt  O’Hayer, of Vital Farms in Texas, criticized confinement egg-laying operations that place pretty images of birds outdoors on the consumer packaging.  “They should put pictures of their operations on the label,” he said.  “Any lies hurt us all,” he added.


The board, impressed and sympathetic, and especially respectful, of the farmers who traveled to testify, committed to refine their proposal by their next meeting for strict stocking densities and other benchmarks that will assure organic livestock production meets the letter of the law and consumer expectations.


On organic hops, the NOSB voted unanimously “to require organic beer to include 100% organic hops beginning January 1, 2013.”  Organic hops producers and brewers turned out a strong contingent arguing in favor of the resolution during two days of public hearings on various organic issues.


The NOSB also decided not to proceed with efforts to raise the profile of the “made with organic” label that is part of the USDA organic system.  Retailer and consumer groups strongly encouraged keeping the current organic labeling regime, and testified that more prominence for the made with organic label could lower consumer demand for products made with 95-100% organic ingredients.


"We were concerned that a more prominent, front label, message concerning made with organic ingredients, including the proposal for language that would say the products were ‘certified to USDA standards’ would have created a cheaper ‘organic light’  actually jeopardizing the continued growth of truly organic products, said Will Fantle, Codirector for The Cornucopia Institute.


Perhaps the most divisive issue was Corn Steep Liquor and determining whether or not the fertilizer component (for nitrogen) was a synthetic or non-synthetic material.  Members of the NOSB representing various food industry and commercial concerns were anxious to remove any clouds over its future use and ensure that Corn Steep Liquor would remain a part of organic production.  But the NOSB, after considerable debate, ultimately decided to seek additional technical information to make a more informed decision, possibly at its next meeting.

The fertilizer debate pretty much split clearly across a divide of agribusiness interests on the board and other members who work for nonprofit organic groups.


The NOSB also removed roadblocks to the use of organic yeast, an issue that had been debated for a number of years.  Yeast’s unique characteristics had led it to be considered a nonagricultural non-synthetic substance.  It is now been categorized as an agricultural product.


The board elected Tracey Miedema (of Earthbound Farms) as its next chair, over Jay Feldman (of Beyond Pesticides), and Joe Dixon (of Whole Foods Markets) as vice-chair.  The spring 2011 meeting of the NOSB will take place in Seattle, Washington on April 26-29.



Mark A. Kastel

The Cornucopia Institute

608-625-2042 Voice

866-861-2214 Fax

Oct 26, 2010

Wedge Co-op Rewards its Member - Owners!

by Monicac — last modified Oct 26, 2010 11:35 AM

The sour economy hasn't soured customers of the Wedge: The 36-year-old south Minneapolis grocery co-op's annual "patronage refund" to its members has hit $1 million for the first time, marking one of the largest such distributions in the country.

When food co-ops such as the Wedge make a profit, they typically return part of their earnings in cash to members, based on how much they spent the previous year. So the Wedge is sending out 13,400 checks to members, ranging from $2 to $1,731.

Read more hear:

Oct 19, 2010

Open Letter to the U.S. Government About the Quality of Food Aid

by Monicac — last modified Oct 19, 2010 09:16 AM

On the eve of World Food Day 2010, I write on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to urge the U.S. to stop supplying nutritionally substandard food to malnourished children in developing countries.

The U.S. is by far the world’s largest food assistance donor, accounting for more than half of global food aid in 2009. Its policies and practices are enormously influential in assuring that the right foods reach the right people at the right time. The main beneficiaries of food assistance are primarily young children and women. Yet the fortified foods in U.S. food assistance, including corn soya blend (CSB) and other fortified blended flours (FBF), are of an inappropriate nutritional composition for the primary target beneficiaries—particularly young children

Aug 30, 2010

Exclusive Interview: Behind the Label – Just Who IS Oregon Tilth?

by Monicac — last modified Aug 30, 2010 11:11 AM

Who is Oregon Tilth - One of the Oldest Organic Certification Programs - And How did they Start?

Aug 26, 2010

About That Egg Recall

by Monicac — last modified Aug 26, 2010 01:32 PM

re-printed with permission from author, Jill Richardson

I was just on On Point on NPR. As the show ended, I had a few last points I wanted to make but couldn't. So I will make them here.

We had the owner of a very large egg farm on the show, a man who I have no doubt is a wonderful, ethical person who is doing absolutely the best he can to produce quality, safe eggs. And he was making the point that there's nothing wrong with industry consolidation and with one farm having 6 million chickens.

Another guest was Caroline Smith DeWaal of Center for Science in the Public Interest, who spoke about the long delay in getting food safety regulation in place, as well as some of the confusion between having food safety regulated between different federal departments and agencies.

Well, no pun intended, but this is a "chicken and egg" problem. When you have this kind of consolidation with these huge farms, you also have a class of producers who can afford to influence Washington - and influence they do. So then their industries are not well regulated. In this case, you've got food safety split between departments, which is by design - it makes the regulators less efficient. FDA is chronically underfunded. That's by design too.

This isn't just with eggs, it's with all food. And that brings me to another point. One caller brought up vegan diets as a way to avoid eggs. But how about a way to avoid food? Vegans eat too, and the foods they eat also come from highly consolidated industries controlled by relatively few companies with lots of political power.

A very telling example of the problem comes from arsenic pesticides. These were popular after the Civil War until around the 1930's. At that point, food poisoning cases mounted up and many, if not most, Americans suffered from mild to severe symptoms of arsenic poisoning. In the 1950's, DDT came in to mostly replace arsenicals. The other day I looked to see when arsenicals were finally banned. The answer: they weren't. The EPA tried to have a go at banning many of the remaining legal arsenicals in 2006, and by 2009, the cotton industry had successfully lobbied them to continue allowing one of the pesticides they wanted to ban.

Some chemicals are banned. Some industry practices are banned. Some food safety procedures are in place. But until we stop this running game where the regulators are constantly behind industry because industry is lobbying government, we're still doing a lot of harm to ourselves and our environment. It's nice to ban one pesticide, but what's the use if a new toxic pesticide takes its place. It's great to put in place procedures to prevent salmonella outbreaks, but what food safety problem will happen next?

As for the question of producing safe eggs on large farms, I have no reason to assume that Stephen Herbruck, the farmer on the show, wasn't telling the truth that his eggs are safe. They likely are. But are they as healthy as possible? And what's the environmental impact of his model of business? I don't mean to target him - he seemed like a wonderful person - but there is a consequence in flavor, in health, and in environmental impact to the way we produce our food right now.

When I was in Cuba, where most food is produced sustainably on relatively small farms and then sold locally, a Cuban told me she thought eggs from the U.S. "taste like plastic." A chicken in a backyard flock provides fertilizer and eggs, and does so while disposing of bugs and kitchen scraps, thus reducing the amount of commercially grown food the chicken needs to eat. And, according to tests by Mother Earth News, these eggs will be quantifiably healthier than those you buy at the store. Is just having safe food the only standard you want, or do you want healthy, tasty food too?

Also, I have one last point. There was some talk that "you get what you pay for" and consumers want cheap eggs so they are getting them. Well, a look at historical egg prices shows a different picture. Farmgate prices for eggs have been stagnant, and the average egg farmers' profits have been zero or even negative over the past several decades. No wonder they need the volume provided by 6 million hens if they are getting so little profit (if any) per egg! But the share of the egg price that retailers take has been going up and up. Consumers ARE paying more for eggs with each passing year. That money just isn't going to the farmer. If consumers are paying more for eggs, shouldn't they be getting something more for their money? I'd rather see that money go to farmers so they can make production safer, more humane, and more sustainable, not to the retailers so they can stuff it in their pockets.

Jul 21, 2010

KRS-One song from 1990

by Monicac — last modified Jul 21, 2010 10:55 PM

An early 90's rapper talking about the ills of the industrial food system. Way before his time. Listen!

Jun 21, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling in Monsanto Case is Victory for Center for Food Safety, Farmers

by Monicac — last modified Jun 21, 2010 04:02 PM

"....the judgment holds that a vacatur bars the planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation occurs. It is a victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers and Consumers it represents."

Check out the whole article here:

Document Actions