Mark Kastel is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group based in Wisconsin and acts as its Senior Farm Policy Analyst and Co-Director. He directs its Organic Integrity Project.

For almost 20 years prior to Cornucopia’s launch he was president of M. A. Kastel and Associates, Inc. His professional practice included political consulting, lobbying on behalf of family farm groups, and business development work benefiting family-scale farmers. Mr. Kastel has played a key role in a number of cooperative ventures designed to empower farmers in the marketplace. His development work has focused on creating sustainable farmer-owned businesses with an emphasis on dairy production and marketing.

Kastel played a key role in the farm community’s response to the introduction of rBGH. His watershed research, published while doing policy work for the Farmers Union, brought great media scrutiny when he revealed the fact that cows were dying and whole herds were suffering from serious illnesses soon after they were injected. He has been intimately involved at numerous stages during development of the bill to regulate organic farming in Congress, as part of the 1990 farm bill, and the subsequent rule making process at the USDA. He continues to be closely involved in monitoring the seriously flawed management of the National Organic Program at the USDA.

Kastel, who worked for agribusiness giants International Harvester, J.I. Case and FMC before making the paradigm shift to sustainable farming, lives on a 160-acre organic farm in the rugged hills of southwestern Wisconsin, near the tiny burg of Rockton.

 

 

Vegan Cashew Pesto Lasagna

Preheat oven to 350°

Vegan Pesto

4 cups Basil leaves

8 cloves garlic

¾ cups toasted pine nuts

1 cup Olive Oil

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ t. pepper

In food processor, pulse the basil until finely chopped. Add garlic

cloves, salt, pepper and pine nuts. Pulse some more, scrapping down sides to incorporate all of the mixture. When fully pureed, add the olive oil while the food processor is running. The mixture will become thick.

 

Filling

3 cups cashews, soaked for 2-3 hours

3 cups water

1 Tb apple cider vinegar

½ cup nutritional yeast

¼ t. salt

vegan pesto from recipe above (approx 2 cups)

 

Spinach

1 cup sautéed chopped onions

1 lb frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and water squeezed out

1 Tbs. chopped garlic

 

Sauce

1- 32 oz. Jar  Marinara Sauce ( you can add sautéed veggies, garlic and white wine, optional)

1- box  organic whole wheat or rice lasagna noodles

¼ cup chopped parsley

 

1 lb of your favorite vegan Mozzarella type cheese- optional

chopped parsley for garnish

 

Directions

Make pesto according to directions above.  

For sauce, sauté an onion, garlic and yellow or green pepper in olive oil. When soft, add ¼ cup white wine. Cook for 5 minutes, then add marinara sauce and ¼ cup chopped parsley.

Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse the cashews, water, vinegar, and salt. When completely smooth and creamy, add the pesto. Pulse again until fully incorporated into cashew cream.

In cast iron pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent, add the garlic and spinach, and cook for 3 minutes. add a sprinkle of salt.

 

Layering

Cover bottom of Lasagna pan with sauce. Add a layer of noodles, then spread ½ of cashew pesto cream evenly over noodles, and ½ of spinach mixture. Add ½ of vegan mozzarella, and then cover with sauce. Repeat with noodles, cashew pesto cream, and then spinach, but end with another layer of noodles and then a generous layer of sauce on top. Cover with tin foil and bake for 45minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and top with remaining vegan mozzarella cheese. Return pan to oven and bake for another 15 minutes, until a fork pierced into noodles are soft, and cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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