Beware Of These Organic Brands

Story at-a-glance

  • The Cornucopia Institute is an organic industry watchdog whose core constituencies are family farmers across the U.S. and consumers concerned about the availability and quality of organic foods. Their goal is to empower you to make informed purchasing decisions
  • Large conventional food manufacturers have quietly purchased a large number of small organic brands, raising questions about whether or not these brands still adhere to organic standards and sustainable agriculture practices
  • By issuing a variety of special reports, and rating all organic brands. The Cornucopia Institute promotes the true heroes of the organic industry, and send a strong message to companies engaging in “greenwashing” practices

By Dr. Mercola

Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, has a long history as a marketing- and political consultant, and as a lobbyist (working for family farmers).

While he didn’t grow up on a farm, he ended up taking a summer job during his youth with the International Harvester Company.

That was his first farm experience.

Later, he was recruited by JI Case, another large agricultural equipment manufacturer.

“I worked in corporate agribusiness,” he explains.

“Then I had a health crisis in the late 70s; I was acutely exposed to pesticides and it injured my immune system…

I was lucky enough to see the preeminent environmental allergist… Theron Randolph… who recommended that, among other things, I go on an all organic diet; that there weren’t many things we could do to relieve the strain on my immune system while I was healing, but controlling your food and your water intake is something you can take control of.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

At the time, he was operating his own farm implement business, which was in a region dominated by the industrial, chemically-intensive farming model. He switched gears and began gardening and farming organically.

“It caused a major professional shift in my life. I ended up doing consulting work for years, for what are now some of the leading organic companies,” he says.

“[T]here wasn’t really a readily available source for organic food until the early to mid-1980s when it started. It kicked into high gear in the 1990s when genetic engineering became an issue; when people became more synthesized to chemicals in their food.

… I helped launch the Organic Valley brand when they began in the late 80s or early 90s… Then I helped found the Cornucopia Institute eight years ago, when it looked like the wheels would fall off of this movement; when the giant corporate agri-businesses that has squeezed family farmers out of conventional farming, and that were responsible for the deterioration in the nutrient level and the safety of our food, were buying out, on a wholesale basis, all the brands that had launched the organic commercial movement.”

The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute is an organic industry watch dog. Their core constituencies are the family farmers across the U.S. Currently, Cornucopia has more organic farmers as members than any other group in the country, and what they lack in financial resources and political influence, they make up for with a coalition of dedicated farmers and passionate consumers and providers of organic foods.

“The secret weapon we have is building bridges between the organic farming community and the consumers… millions of people who passionately give a damn; who really care about the authenticity of the food and respect the people who are doing it,” Kastel says.

 “Our goal is to—from a research and educational perspective—empower consumers and wholesale buyers so that they can make good and discerning choices in the market place.”

Organics have Never Been Under Such Dire Threats!

As you will soon learn, organics are now being profoundly threatened by a number of potentially devastating votes that will take place by the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which I will summarize at the end of this article.

We’re in dire need of your involvement, so I urge you to please print out the hyperlinked proxy letter and mail it to Cornucopia for hand delivery at the rapidly approaching NOSB meeting. Corporate lobbyists will be present, and so will the Cornucopia Institute, to counter their obnoxious claims and make sure your voice, in support of organic integrity, is heard. For more details on this meeting, please continue to the end. You’ll no doubt be shocked, and hopefully resolved to help stop this impending madness.

Signed proxy letters should be mailed to:

The Cornucopia Institute
PO Box 126
Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827

Can You Really Afford NOT to Eat Organic?

As Kastel says, we’re now at the point where we really cannot afford NOT to buy organic food, even if it is more expensive. The U.S. is forecasted to soon be spending close to 20 percent of our gross national product on healthcare, and the failing health of the American people is a direct result of poor nutrition and toxic foods. Healthcare costs are also the number one cause of individual bankruptcy.

We simply MUST take organic agriculture seriously if we want good health. 

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