The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.
September 28th, 2016
Cornucopia’s Take: Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide generally banned from home use, continues to be allowed in conventional farming. Several groups have joined together to ask the EPA to ban the sickening chemical. To support farmworker health, buy organic food, which cannot be sprayed with harmful chemicals.
Latinx Farmworkers and Health Groups File Petition for EPA to Ban Pesticide
by Yessenia Funes
Chlorpyrifos is typically not allowed for home use—so why is it OK on farms?
Farmworkers, labor and community health groups across the country petitioned the EPA today (September 21) to demand the agency immediately ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness and even unconsciousness in severe instances.
“We are seeking an immediate and total chlorpyrifos ban because farmworkers have been overexposed, even with all the protective clothing that could possibly be required,” says Erik Nicholson, United Farm Workers national vice president, in a statement sent to Colorlines. “It’s nearly impossible for them to escape chlorpyrifos exposure because the poison is in the air they breathe, in the food they eat and in the soil where their children play.” Read Full Article »
September 28th, 2016
Cornucopia’s Take: One of the keys to strong plants and excellent produce is healthy soil. Rodale’s Organic Life offers some helpful tips to improve your soil.
5 Ways Home Gardeners Can Make More Robust Soil
Rodale’s Organic Life
by Renee Brincks
Follow these tricks of the trade that soil scientists use in their own yards.
As a child, Kristin Ohlson had easy access to gardens. Her grandparents maintained a small orchard and grew produce on their farm; her parents also planted huge plots of vegetables and flowers each year. While Ohlson didn’t develop a deeper agricultural interest until she grew up (all those hours harvesting vegetables cut into childhood playtime, after all), she eventually started researching how food is grown. And that research turned into a minor obsession. Read Full Article »
September 27th, 2016
Cornucopia’s Take: Antibiotic resistance is responsible for 25,000 deaths and countless illnesses each year, although the FDA continues to allow farmers to use many antibiotics at their discretion. Cornucopia supports stricter rules and an end to voluntary programs.
FDA asked to restrict antibiotics on livestock
by Angela Chen
Advocacy groups fear this could lead to antibiotic-resistant bugs that hurt humans
Advocacy groups have petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to restrict the use of certain antibiotics given to livestock. They claim that using these antibiotics contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bugs that are dangerous to humans, and that the FDA’s efforts to encourage farmers to stop haven’t been effective.
Three years ago, the FDA created a voluntary program that “disapproved” of the use of antibiotics to promote weight gain in livestock. But the problem is that many of these same antibiotics are FDA-approved for treating disease and so farmers can still use them. Farmers who overuse antibiotics, or give them to animals before they’re visibly sick, risk the development of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read Full Article »
September 27th, 2016
Cornucopia’s Take: GMO crops were sold as a miracle to some farmers, making weeding and extra tilling unnecessary. Over time many GMO farmers have reverted to conventional seeds to save money, as GMO yields stagnate and superweeds emerge, plus markets are growing for non-GMO foods. Monsanto’s impending sale to Bayer ignores these mounting concerns.
Behind the Monsanto Deal, Doubts About the GMO Revolution
The Wall Street Journal
by Jacob Bunge
Farmers are reconsidering the use of biotech seeds as it becomes harder to justify their high prices amid the measly returns of the current farm economy
Behind a wave of multibillion-dollar mergers in the agriculture business is a moment of change in American farming. The dominance of genetically modified crops is under threat.
Since their introduction to U.S. farms 20 years ago, genetically engineered seeds have become like mobile phones—multifunctional and ubiquitous. Scientists inserted genes to make crops repel insects, survive amid powerful herbicides, survive on less water and yield oils with less saturated fat, in turn eliminating farmers’ amateur chemistry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates this year that 94% of soybean acres were planted with biotech varieties, and 92% of corn acres. Read Full Article »
September 26th, 2016
Cornucopia’s Take: Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and pesticide company, has announced its intention to buy Monsanto. This move will consolidate control over agricultural products even further.
Chemical Giant Bayer Agrees To Buy Monsanto For $66 Billion
NPR – The Two-Way
by Camila Domonoske
The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer says it will buy U.S. seed seller Monsanto for $66 billion in an all-cash deal that will create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and agricultural chemicals.
The takeover offer, which Monsanto has accepted, is $4 billion more than Bayer had initially offered and a 44 percent premium over Monsanto’s stock price on May 9, a day before negotiations began. Bayer says it will be taking on $57 billion in debt to finance the purchase, which is the largest-ever foreign acquisition by a German company. Read Full Article »