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.
August 26th, 2014
The Pump Handle
by Elizabeth Grossman
If the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) give their approval to a new herbicide called Enlist Duo and to corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered (GE) to resist that chemical, the United States could see a significant increase in what is already one of the country’s most widely used herbicides. Yet while the EPA seems poised to approve Enlist Duo and USDA, the GE seeds, about 50 members of Congress have written to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their “grave concerns” about “the multiple adverse human health, environmental, agronomic and socioeconomic harms that approval of 2,4D crops will likely cause.”
The EPA says that “on the basis of protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments,” it has “confirmed” the new herbicide’s safety “for the public, agricultural worker and non-target species,” but many questions remain about effects of cumulative and long-term exposure, particularly for farm workers and others living near where it’s used. What makes these questions particularly pressing is that the new product combines two of the country’s three most widely used herbicides. Read Full Article »
August 26th, 2014
by Danielle Nierenberg
Funding Female Farmers for a Less Hungry World. A new video from Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank, and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). Read Full Article »
August 25th, 2014
by Robyn O’Brien
You may not think you are eating genetically modified foods, but chances are that if you’ve grabbed a back of chips, loaf of bread or any other staple from the grocery store, you are.
Just how pervasive are genetically modified foods in the US? Very. The ingredients listed below are found in most conventional, processed foods. High fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, vegetable oil, cornstarch and other ingredients are where genetically engineered ingredients are used. Genetically engineered corn, which in some cases, is registered by the EPA as a pesticide, and genetically engineered soy are often fed to the animals we eat.
And while these ingredients are labeled in countries around the world, they are not yet labeled here in the United States. Read Full Article »
August 25th, 2014
by Eli Zigas
|Heirloom tomatoes at Slow Food Nation|
On July 29, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that created California’s first urban agriculture incentive zone. The new law allows a tax break for SF property owners who dedicate their land to agricultural use for at least five years. For more background on the legislation, see our earlier blog post.
The final legislation included a few important amendments and changes:
A threshold for revenue loss
To ensure that the program doesn’t lead to large revenue losses for the city, the Board of Supervisors created a new threshold for review. If a proposed contract would push the combined annual revenue loss from all incentive zone contracts over $250,000, the contract must go to the Board of Supervisors for review. This threshold is in addition to a $25,000 per parcel maximum revenue loss threshold and a 5-acre contiguous land threshold that existed in the first version of the ordinance. Read Full Article »
August 22nd, 2014
Voice of America
By Deborah Block
BELTSVILLE, MARYLAND — In June, U.S. President Barack Obama called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees and other pollinators that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease, pesticides and farming.
Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Before that can happen, though, scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, said biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees.
To most of us, a bee is just a bee, but not to Droege.
“They’re beautiful to look at under a microscope,” he said at his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, between Washington and Baltimore.
Four years ago, Droege began his pilot project surveying native bees for the U.S. government’s Geological Survey. He sorts them in pizza boxes, which he uses for storage. He says scientists know a lot about honeybees — which produce honey and pollinate a third of U.S. crops – but very little about wild bees, which pollinate 75 percent of wild plants. Read Full Article »