Dear Cornucopia friends,
I’m writing to ask for your support and to tell you a story.
Do you remember when your farming transition to organics began, or when you decided that eating better food was vitally important to your family’s well-being? And do you remember what event brought you to The Cornucopia Institute? Perhaps it was learning about factory farms producing “organic” milk, deceiving consumers in the marketplace and placing farmers at a competitive disadvantage? Maybe it was discovering brands like Kashi or Silk (owned by Kellogg’s and Dean Foods/WhiteWave respectively) were scamming customers by using conventional and/or genetically engineered ingredients in their “natural” products or importing commodity ingredients from China? Or perhaps it was our namebrand scorecards helping you patronize brands that support the true heroes in this business: family-scale organic farmers?
|Bill and Essie Welsh
I know what brought my good friend Bill Welsh to Cornucopia’s Board of Directors. And I want to tell you his story (sadly, he passed away in 2011 so he can’t do it himself). Bill’s roots were deep in the soil surrounding Lansing, Iowa. Decades ago, before he made the switch to organics, almost all of his cattle experienced a health crisis and then suddenly died. It turned out that the animals had eaten hay contaminated with a minute amount of a common pesticide. When he researched the material he found out it was one of the same chemicals he studied in biological warfare school during the Korean War! He swore he would never bring toxic poisons onto his farm again.
Bill went on to help found the CROPP cooperative (Organic Valley) and serve as a charter member of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Bill knew organics. And I’ve never met a more ethical farmer.
So why did he join our board? When I asked him he said he didn’t understand some of the leaders of organic businesses anymore. “It’s all about market share.” And then he went on to say, “What we’re doing at Cornucopia is so darn important …. because no one else is doing it.”
I miss Bill. He was not just a friend, he was a mentor. A true organic pioneer. His words still guide us and his son, Gary, carries on his farming ethic on the land he loved in Iowa.
We’ve taken a lot of heat over the years from the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the lobby group for corporate organics, and a number of the agribusinesses that benefit from the USDA looking the other way in terms of enforcement of federal organic regulations. We’ve even been criticized by some other nonprofits (many of whom receive donations from the same corporations that control the OTA), telling us to sit down, shut up and clap louder . It seems that some in this industry would rather maintain their lucrative revenue stream rather than fight for organic integrity. And although some have even threatened to sue us, they’ve never found anything untrue in our research. And every step of the way, Bill Welsh and thousands of other organic farmers stood with Cornucopia in our mission. Whatever power we have comes not only from our farmer members but from our urban-allies: those customers of healthful, nutrient-dense food, who stand with us as well.
As we near the end of 2012, please make a gift today
to help us continue to protect the integrity of the good food movement
. A gift of any size helps!
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2013,
Mark Kastel Codirector – The Cornucopia Institute
P.S. — For those of you who have already made a year-end gift to The Cornucopia Institute, we thank you and ask that you please forward this message to a friend. The more people we have in our camp, the stronger we’ll be in the fight to protect the integrity of the organic, local, and sustainable food movement.
The Cornucopia Institute is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public interest group. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of law.