The Cornucopia Institute

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.

Neonicotinoids Harm Beneficial Predatory Insects through Secondary Poisoning

July 30th, 2015

Beyond Pesticides

Deroceras reticulatum
Source: Bruce Marlin

A recent study looks at the detrimental effects of neonicotinoids (neonics) on molluscan herbivores and their non-target insect predators, finding that slug exposure to neonics results in the secondary poisoning of beneficial predatory beetles. The study, authored by Maggie Douglas, PhD candidate at Penn State University, was presented earlier this month at a congressional briefing, An Expert Briefing to Discuss Pollinators and Efforts to Protect Them. The briefing was organized by Center for Food Safety and attended by the sponsors of Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692), Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

The study specifically looks at the pest slug Deroceras reticulatum and its predator beetle, Chlaenius tricolor. Ms. Douglas and her co-researchers find that neonicotinoid seed-treated soy beans can unintentionally impact predatory, beneficial insects through a previously unexplored pathway. Read Full Article »

The Decline in Bees Will Cause a Decline in Healthy Food

July 30th, 2015

by Willy Blackmore

Source: Jean and Fred

Fewer pollinators means fewer fruits and vegetables—and the important micronutrients contained in them.

It’s the near future, and the world’s bees, butterflies, bats, birds, and other species of animals that help pollinate more than a third of food crops have disappeared altogether. The global population is struggling to cope with the loss of 22.9 percent of the world’s fruit, 16.3 percent of vegetables, and 22.1 percent of seeds and nuts. While Americans and most Europeans are getting by thanks to increased consumption of staple crops, the rest of the world has been hit harder by the public health effects of the mass extinction. Malnutrition-related deaths climb to 1.42 million annually, and many are in developing nations.

It’s a doomsday scenario, to be sure, but it’s not out of a new sci-fi flick—vitamin A and folate deficiencies are not the stuff of summer blockbusters—but rather the dire projections of a study on how nutrition would be altered by a catastrophic loss of pollinators. Read Full Article »

Make a Short Film About Soils, Raise Awareness and Win US$1500

July 29th, 2015

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Do you have an idea for a short film to report or inspire others on soils?

Click here to enlarge image above.
Soils deliver ecosystem services that enable life on Earth.
Source: FAO

FAO is collaborating with TVE (Television for the Environment) on the tvebiomovies film competition. This year, the International Year of Soils will be a category in the Short Films Proposal competition.  Are you passionate about soils? Are you or your friends doing something to preserve soil? Do you have a story to tell?  Your film can be funny or serious, an animation, a drama or a documentary.

Submit your proposal and you could receive US$300 to help you make your film a reality! Read Full Article »

The Dark Side of Urban Farming

July 29th, 2015

by Katharine Gammon

Source: Eadaoin Flynn

Your organic veggies could be growing in contaminated soil. Here’s how to keep homegrown food safe.

Growing food at home is good for your health and the planet, but your vegetables could be sucking up toxins as well as sunshine.

So, Why Should You Care? All around the world, more people are getting their hands dirty and planting crops to harvest at home. More than a third of all households in America are growing food at home or in community gardens—a 17 percent jump in five years, according to the National Gardening Association. About 15 percent of the world’s food is produced in urban areas, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

All of this urban farming raises questions about the safety of crops grown in cities, where soil may be contaminated with lead, arsenic, hydrocarbons, and other toxins. Read Full Article »

How Monsanto Wrote and Broke Laws to Enter India

July 28th, 2015

Seed Freedom
by Dr. Vandana Shiva

Source: World Bank

Citizens of the United States are being denied the right to know what they are feeding their families. Despite the fact that 90% of American citizens want GMO labelling on their food, big business is doing everything it can to prevent people from accessing their rights. Representative Pompeo’s bill, popularly known as the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know), has been written almost entirely by the biotech industry lobby. While American citizens are advocating for their rights to knowledge and healthy, affordable food, Monsanto’s legal team is busy on every legislative level trying to prevent this from happening.

Monsanto’s subversion of democratic legal processes is not new. In fact, it is their modus operandi, be it the subversion of LA’s decision to be GMO free by amending the California Seed Law—equating corporations with persons, and making seed libraries and exchange of seed beyond 3 miles illegal— or suing Maui County for passing a law banning GMOs.

Decades before there was a “debate” over GMOs and Monsanto’s PR and law firms became the busiest of bees, India was introduced to this corrupting, corporate giant that had no respect for the laws of the land. When this massive company did speak of laws, these laws had been framed, essentially, by their own lawyers.

Today, Indian cotton farmers are facing a genocide that has resulted in the death of at least 300,000 of their brothers and sisters between 1995 and 2013, averaging 14,462 per year (1995-2000) and 16,743 per year (2001-2011). Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000