Mark Kastel is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a populist farm policy research group based in Wisconsin. It is dedicated to the fight for economic justice for the family-scale farming community. Through research, advocacy and economic development its goal is to empower farmers, industry participants and consumers both politically and through marketplace initiatives. Cornucopia acts as a corporate and governmental watchdog assuring that no compromises to the credibility of organic farming methods and the food it produces are made in the pursuit of profit. Actively resisting regulatory rollbacks and weakening of organic standards to protect/maintain consumer confidence in organics. Cornucopia operates in the regulatory, marketplace, legal and investment arenas. The organization also endeavors to protect the interest of family-scale farmer's other marketing vehicles ("local," "farmstead," "community sponsored agriculture") that are being co-opted by corporate interests. Kastel, who worked for agribusiness giants International Harvester , J.I. Case and FMC prior to making the paradigm shift, almost 30 years ago, to sustainable agriculture, lives on a 160-acre organic farm in the rugged hills of southwestern Wisconsin, near the tiny hamlet of Rockton.
Recorded Friday, December 12, 2013