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.

The Canary in the Organic Coal Mine

June 30th, 2015

Organic Crops and Gardens Increasingly Contaminated by Persistent Herbicides

by Linley Dixon, PhD

This sunflower shows the leaf curl characteristic
of poisoning by aminopyralid herbicide. In this
case, the herbicide contamination came from
horse manure.

Photo by John Mason,

Nothing is more infuriating than first-hand accounts of “Big Ag” putting sustainable organic farmers out of business. Herbicide carryover in compost embodies this travesty in the same vein as chemical drift, GMO contamination, and the monopolies created when seeds and genes are patented. [[1]]

Herbicide carryover (when persistent herbicides remain in compost, which then damages crops) may be initially hard to fathom, but occurrences are increasing due to the expanded use of certain persistent chemicals.

Here’s the calamity, for many family farmers, in a nutshell: broadleaf-specific herbicides sprayed on conventional pasture and hay fields pass unchanged through the digestive tract of farm animals, ultimately ending up in their manure, where the herbicides do not break down for many years, even when properly and thoroughly composted. [[2]] When contaminated compost finds its way into garden soil, crops will suffer. When that garden is your livelihood, it is tragic. Read Full Article »

Insecticides May Affect Cognitive Development in Children

June 30th, 2015

Nature World News
by Jenna Iacurci

Source: Jason Shultz

Insecticides may affect cognitive development in children, according to a new study.

Pyrethroid insecticides are one of the most commonly used pesticides, with benefits in a variety of sectors including residential pest control, public health and agricultural purposes. They can also be found in many domestic products such as lice shampoo and mosquito repellent.

With more toxic compounds such as organochorides, organophosphates, and carbamate having been banned due to health concerns, pyrethroids are now increasingly popular, and considered relatively safe for humans and mammals.v

Now, a study published in the journal Environment International provides new evidence of neurotoxicity in humans from pyrethroid insecticides. An increase in the urinary levels of two pyrethroid metabolites (3-PBA and cis-DBCA) in children is associated with a significant decrease in their cognitive performance, particularly in terms of verbal comprehension and working memory. Read Full Article »

No Organic Check-Off!

June 29th, 2015

NoCheckoffFBThe Organic Trade Association (OTA) is pushing a proposed USDA-sanctioned “check-off,” or tax on organic farmers and processors, to pay for research and promotion activities.

But a growing number of organic farmers and organizations OTA works with are opposing the check-off scheme. Many of these same farmers have a bitter taste in their mouths from similar check-off taxes they experienced in conventional agriculture.

Visit to learn why opposition to this OTA scheme is mounting. Read Full Article »

Why Is Whole Foods Market Inc. Undermining Organic Farmers?

June 29th, 2015

The Motley Fool
by Rich Duprey

Source: LearningLark

The grocer has been a friend to organic growers up to now, but its new produce rating program might undo all the good work

Whole Foods Market‘s (NASDAQ:WFM) new produce rating system might have been launched with the best of intentions, but we know what’s paved with such well-meaning works, and the grocery store chain is barreling down the highway full throttle.

A responsibility to act
“Responsibly Grown” is Whole Foods’ attempt to quantify the entire farming process, from seed to harvest, worker to waste, and everything in between. It is using the results to provide customers with at-a-glance information about those foods that takes all those factors into consideration by ranking produce as good, better, or best (or unrated, if the farmers don’t participate in the program).

What Whole Foods’ Responsibly Grown program is actually doing is creating a schism in farming that might ultimately undermine the organic movement’s growth trajectory. Read Full Article »

Magical Sour Cabbage: How Sauerkraut Helped Save the Age of Sail

June 26th, 2015

Modern Farmer
by Tyler LeBlanc

Source: mokapest

It’s hard to go anywhere these days without running into a super-food. From farmers’ markets to your local grocery store, shelves are increasingly packed with items like goji berries, chia seeds, kelp and … sauerkraut?

That’s right, sauerkraut. Not a traditional super-food by definition, this stringy, pale product of fermentation is the victim of a serious case of mistaken identity. Not only is sauerkraut really good for you, but it also changed the world.

Simple, fermented sauerkraut played an important role in helping prevent scurvy — an affliction known in its day as the scourge of the seas, responsible for an estimated two million deaths between 1500 and 1800 — on sailing ships around the world. Read Full Article »

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