Mark Kastel, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute (a farm policy research group, known for acting as an organic industry watchdog), is stepping down and retiring after 15 years of leading the organization.
Kastel’s outspoken nature and dedication to champion family scale organic farming has helped Cornucopia Institute become a powerhouse for research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, providing information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media.
For the past couple of years, the organic industry has grown to become a lucrative 50 billion dollar industry. Kastel has been a huge player in helping reveal the industry's existing corruption — just last month Cornucopia Institute released an Organic Certifier Scorecard, which reveals the organizations who are approving hydroponic and factory farm operations for organic certification — both are violations in organic certification. Kastel has “helped family scale farms survive and thrive where they may have otherwise ceased operations.”
According to Organic Insider, “If Cornucopia fails to follow through on its organic certifier scorecard and does not maintain its very aggressive stance, which was established by Mark Kastel, this esteemed organization will soon become irrelevant,” a situation that hits home for many organic farmers and consumers.