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.

IAFP 2015: Interview with Mitchell Weinberg, CEO of Food Fraud Firm INSCATECH

August 28th, 2015

Food Safety News
by James Andrews

Food Safety News recently sat down with Mitchell Weinberg at IAFP 2015 in Portland, OR, to discuss the extent of global food fraud and how we can combat it. Weinberg is the founder, president and CEO of INSCATECH, a food fraud investigation firm.

Watch the video interview here or find highlights below:

Read Full Article »

Italy’s Ban on Neonicotinoids Effective, U of G Conference Told

August 28th, 2015

Guelph Mercury
by Joanne Shuttleworth

Source: USDA

GUELPH — When people think of bees, they think of honey and of how bees sting.
But bees and other pollinators are critical to agriculture and as such they contribute to the economy. With their numbers in alarming decline, scientists around the world are working on the problem.

Four of them were at the University of Guelph Wednesday evening for a panel discussion on the research they are doing and the implications for beekeepers and farmers. And the common result of their separate research is that the practice of treating seeds with neonicotinoids to make them pest-resistant is killing the bee population. Read Full Article »

A Tale of Three Farms—in the Shenandoah Valley

August 27th, 2015

by Mark Kastel

I admit I’m kind of crazy. I don’t take too many vacations. But I do get out of my office frequently and really enjoy the opportunity to meet our members, and new folks, around the country while visiting their farms.

In the middle of August I was invited to speak at the annual conference sponsored by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, an excellent group offering the assistance of lawyers to farmers who are involved in direct marketing when they are, all too often, harassed by federal, state and local regulators. As giant corporations sicken and, literally, kill our citizenry, some of our very best and safest farms are finding it harder to operate.

Rodney Martin

Before my speech in Staunton, Virginia, I met with two excellent farmers. This really pumped me up since I have to, figuratively, swim in the (organic) manure lagoons all too often when doing investigations of giant factory farms gaming the system. When I meet excellent, authentic certified organic farmers, truly walking their talk, it’s a wonderful morale boost. Read Full Article »

The Next Great GMO Debate

August 26th, 2015

Technology Review
by Antonio Regalado

monsantoDeep inside its labs, Monsanto is learning how to modify crops by spraying them with RNA rather than tinkering with their genes.

The Colorado potato beetle is a voracious eater. The insect can chew through 10 square centimeters of leaf a day, and left unchecked it will strip a plant bare. But the beetles I was looking at were doomed. The plant they were feeding on—bright green and carefully netted in Monsanto’s labs outside St. Louis—had been doused with a spray of RNA.

The experiment took advantage of a mechanism called RNA interference. It’s a way to temporarily turn off the activity of any gene. In this case, the gene being shut down was one vital to the insect’s survival. “I am pretty sure 99 percent of them will be dead soon,” said Jodi Beattie, a Monsanto scientist who showed me her experiment. Read Full Article »

Frack No!

August 26th, 2015

Sign the Petition to Ban the Use of Frack and
Sewage Wastewater for Growing Organic Food

CI_FrackThisWastewaterPetitionThe USDA needs to tighten federal standards to prohibit the use for crop irrigation of fracking wastewater from oil and gas drilling, and from the nation’s municipal sewage treatment systems, in organic food production.

Research shows that the copious amounts of frack wastewater, a byproduct of the hydraulic fracturing technique in gas and oil production, are contaminated with toxic chemicals and oil.  And recent reporting has indicated its use in growing organic food in California.

Effluent from sewage plants, which co-mingles waste from domestic and industrial sources, can contain pathogens and drug residues in addition to heavy metals and toxic chemicals and should similarly be prohibited for use in the growing of organic food.

Please add your name to the petition to let the USDA know that fracking and sewage wastewaters should not be used to grow organic crops. Read Full Article »

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