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.

Long-Term Study Shows Neonics Harm Bees

August 25th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Many studies have shown how pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, are harmful to bees, but this study shows how, over time, they have led to bee decline. Cornucopia continues to champion organic farming which supports bee health and a vibrant, healthy ecosystem.

Nearly two decades of data reinforce concerns that pesticides are really bad for bees
The Washington Post
by Chelsea Harvey

Source: Lady Dragonfly

New research has provided some of the strongest evidence yet that pesticides can do serious, long-term damage to bee populations. And the findings may help fuel the ongoing debate about whether certain insecticides should be permitted for agricultural use at all.

The new study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, examines the question of whether the use of a common (and highly controversial) class of pesticides called neonicotinoids can be linked to wild bee declines in England. The results suggest that this could be the case. Read Full Article »

Big Pharma Works on Vaccines for Big Ag

August 25th, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Consumers are increasingly aware of the effects of eating meat dosed with high levels of antibiotics and the impact of the practice on antibiotic resistance. Because of the stresses from crowding on factory farms, antibiotics are used for disease control. Big Pharma is now developing vaccines for conventional livestock, which would enable companies to sell antibiotic-free meat. But it likely won’t end antibiotic use and may raise other issues.

Why Big Pharma Wants to Switch Billions of Farm Animals to Vaccines From Antibiotics
Bloomberg Markets
by Jared S. Hopkins

Source: Andres Rueda

A sparkling and sprawling 48,000-square-foot two-story structure, decorated with artwork of animals etched onto interior glass walls, recently opened its doors 23 miles outside Indianapolis with one sole purpose: to keep the globe’s 70 billion farm animals healthy.

That increasingly means less reliance on antibiotics for animals. So the new research center, built and operated by Elanco LLC, a unit Eli Lilly & Co., is focused exclusively on developing vaccines as alternatives. It’s all part of a broader effort by the drug industry to join forces with the medical establishment to reduce use of antibiotics, as resistant superbugs become more prevalent in hospitals, nursing homes and other public spaces. Weaning animals from antibiotics in favor of vaccines has become central to that effort. Farm animals are fed about 80 percent of the antibiotics in the U.S., which make their way into the human body. Read Full Article »

Beekeepers’ Pesticides May Hinder Bees’ Digestion

August 23rd, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: Pesticides applied to keep bees safe from parasites like Varroa mites have been found to alter bees’ gut microbiota. Growing evidence in the beekeeping world points to using management techniques to control pests and safeguard bee health.

Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them
from Virginia Tech

Source: North Worrell

Pesticides beekeepers are using to improve honeybee health may actually be harming the bees by damaging the bacteria communities in their guts, according to a team led by a Virginia Tech scientist.

The discovery, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, is a concern because alterations can affect the gut’s ability to metabolize sugars and peptides, processes that are vital for honeybee health. Beekeepers typically apply pesticides to hives to rid them of harmful parasites such as Varroa mites. Read Full Article »

You Asked for It! Cornucopia Clarifies What Organics Is and What It Isn’t

August 23rd, 2016

[This article was previously published in the summer issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Melody Morrell, Data Analyst & Research Specialist at The Cornucopia Institute

Source: Adobe Stock

The Cornucopia Institute is proud to represent thousands of members within the good food movement. Our research and educational efforts support the integrity of the organic label. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions posed on our social media:

Can we trust the USDA organic seal; what about local? What’s more important?

The organic label is the most stringently regulated label on foods in the marketplace. If you have access to local organic food, you can meet your farmer, learn how your food is grown, and enjoy the ultimate in freshness, nutrition, and community building!

Although Cornucopia takes issue with less-than-satisfactory oversight by the USDA, allowing “organic” factory farms to operate illegally and imports through without thorough scrutiny, we strongly recommend all certified organics over conventionally produced food. Read Full Article »

Conventional Dairy Image Belies Toxic Reality

August 22nd, 2016

Cornucopia’s Take: The image of tranquil cows gladly giving their healthy milk is only PR spin hiding the reality of many conventional cows living on concrete and eating toxins. Consumers’ first choice should be organic dairy.

Will Allen & Michael Colby: Dairy Marketing vs. Reality
VT Digger
by Will Allen and Michael Colby

cowsEditor’s note: This commentary is by Will Allen and Michael Colby, who are co-founders, along with Kate Duesterberg, of Regeneration Vermont, a new nonprofit educational and advocacy organization that is working to halt the catastrophic consequences of Vermont’s adoption of degenerative, toxic and climate-threatening agricultural techniques.

The great divide between the well-marketed image of Vermont dairy farming and its stark and toxic realities is becoming harder and harder to ignore. The marketing shows healthy cows grazing on lush pastures. But the reality is cows on concrete, being fed a diet of GMO-corn and the toxic residues from the hundreds of thousands of pounds of herbicides sprayed annually on the corn and hay fields.

Instead of addressing the toxic legacy of the very non-organic dairying that dominates our agriculture, Vermont’s two giant diary corporations, Cabot Creamery and Ben & Jerry’s, and the state’s agricultural agency that acts more as their protector than regulator, continue to hide behind the myth and the marketing. Read Full Article »

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