State News

Posted by Richard Nava on Jul 15, 2007 - 1:10:00 PM

Richard Nava Cornucopia

In a world of trends, fads and pop-culture, it is surprising that perhaps the most prevalent and indeed interesting shift in American life is not in the mall, but rather in the super market.

Today more and more people are looking towards organic foods, safe pesticides, and local products. The importance of local farming has become so great that according to Remy O’Neill, Vice President and Co-Founder of the environmental foundation Cornucopia, the most successful farms in the country are currently located in San Francisco and New York.

O’Neill stated that smaller independent farms are becoming more successful as opposed to bigger farms because individuals are beginning to realize the difference in food quality, food safety and variety.

“Through mass farming and through trucking produce, we have lost 98% of the seed stock that was once available to us,” O’Neill said. “While big farms only provide two or three varieties of a certain vegetable, a local farmer’s market will be able to offer numerous other heirloom and more diverse choices.”

The Cornucopia foundation focuses on going back to nature and modeling a more natural lifestyle that in turn can provide a better quality of life. The foundation hopes to reopen the Malibu Farmer’s Market, help Community Supported Agriculture groups, and to start an Environmental Learning Center for local students; but it doesn’t stop there.

“We started this project in 1998 as a pilot project,” said Debra Bianco, President and Founder of Cornucopia, “If it works here in Malibu we hope to mimic it in other cities and other schools.”

The Environmental Learning Center integrates programs from Cornell’s Citizen Scientist program, the Canada Green Teacher, and will eventually be available in a classroom setting much like Berkeley’s Edible School Yard.

“We need to attach people to nature,” O’Neill said. O’Neill also stated that young and old minds alike need to be trained in a more “cradle to cradle” mentality instead of the current cradle to grave mentality that we as a society have adopted.

Bianco summed up the mission, hope and goal of Cornucopia by saying, “We’re getting back to the basics, so that we can carry on with our future.”