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.

In Chicago, Rooftop Farming is Getting Off the Ground

July 23rd, 2015

Los Angeles Times
by Paulina Firozi

Source: Emilee Rader

For more than a decade, Chicago has been at the forefront of the green-roof movement. Now the city is poised to take an active role in the next environmental push — using roofs to grow food.

Rooftop farms are popping up around the city: on a convention center that has grown tens of thousands of pounds of produce since 2013, at a factory expected to have the world’s largest such operation when it’s completed this summer in the Pullman neighborhood, and at various sites run by small businesses and educational programs.

Across the country, there has been a call for new food-producing spaces, said Steven Peck, founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a Toronto-based industry association that promotes green roofs.

“There’s a demand for high-quality food in our cities — a consumer demand for it, a social need for it,” he said. “There’s a longing for people living in densely developed cities to reconnect to farming and to nature, to rooftop agriculture.” Read Full Article »

Another ‘Too Big to Fail’ System in GMOs

July 22nd, 2015

The New York Times
by Mark Spitznagel and Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Source: lePhotography

Before the crisis that started in 2007, both of us believed that the financial system was fragile and unsustainable, contrary to the near ubiquitous analyses at the time.

Now, there is something vastly riskier facing us, with risks that entail the survival of the global ecosystem — not the financial system. This time, the fight is against the current promotion of genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s.

Our critics held that the financial system was improved thanks to the unwavering progress of science and technology, which had blessed finance with more sophisticated economic insight. But the “tail risks,” or the effect from rare but monstrously consequential events, we held, had been increasing, owing to increasing complexity and globalization. Given that almost nobody was paying attention to the risks, we set ourselves and our clients to be protected from an eventual collapse of the banking system, which subsequently happened to the benefit of those who were prepared.

The fallacies used in the arguments against us at the time were as follows: Read Full Article »

Buzz Kill For Bumblebees: Climate Change Is Shrinking Their Range

July 22nd, 2015

NPR – The Salt
by Dan Charles

Source: Vicki DeLoach

There’s new evidence that wild bees, some of nature’s most industrious pollinators of wildflowers and crops, are getting squeezed by our planet’s changing climate.

The evidence comes from a century of bee observations, carried out across North America and Europe. Biologist Jeremy Kerr, at the University of Ottawa, decided to look specifically at sightings of bumblebees. These are the big, fuzzy bees that live wild, not the honeybees that beekeepers manage. There are dozens of different bumblebee species in North America.

“There are something like 423,000 of these observations,” Kerr says. “And every one of those, we know rather precisely where and when that species of bumblebee was observed.”

Kerr and his collaborators looked at where each species was found long ago, compared to recent years. Read Full Article »

USDA Criticized for Organic Livestock Proposal

July 21st, 2015

Rulemaking Could Institutionalize Conventional Livestock on Organic Farms

One of Aurora’s “organic” dairies, each managing
many thousands of cows (producing private label
milk for Walmart, Costco, Target and others)

Advocates for organic food and farming are encouraging industry stakeholders to send comments to the USDA, by July 27, rejecting a proposal that would facilitate conventional dairy cows, pigs, and other stock being brought onto farms after the dairies or other livestock facilities initially gained certified organic status. The department’s National Organic Program has been accused of facilitating the expansion of “factory farms” producing organic milk, meat and eggs through the agency’s lax enforcement of existing regulations, and experts say the new rules could continue that trend.

The proposed draft rule is intended to discontinue a practice that many in the organic dairy industry have long claimed is illegal.  Giant factory farms, many milking thousands of cows each, have been buying one-year-old replacement animals and “converting” them to organic on an ongoing basis.

“This routine makes a mockery of the holistic approach to organic livestock agriculture that the law is designed to promote,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute. Read Full Article »

Lab Rats Used in Safety Studies Eat Feeds Laced with Pesticides, Herbicides and GMOs

July 21st, 2015

The Ecologist
by Pat Thomas

Source: Tatiana Bulyonkova

A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions.

In the face of uncertainty we often look to science to help us make sense of things.

This is particularly true in complex areas such as GMOs where adverse effects may be difficult to predict or may even be masked by other aspects of our lives and diets. Read Full Article »

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