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.

Q&A: Why Farmers Markets Are Growing in the American South

August 27th, 2014

Federal assistance programs allow low-income regions to enjoy the season’s bounty.

National Geographic
by Gloria Dickie

Image courtesy of Tammy Farrugia

For many living in the lower reaches of the United States, it’s a touch of southern comfort: Farmers markets—with offerings of peaches, sweet corn, watermelon, and cantaloupe—are cropping up across the region, filling “fresh food deserts” with local produce and offering healthier alternatives to low-income families.

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that between 2013 and 2014, five of the states that saw the biggest increase in farmers markets were in the South—Tennessee (20.2 percent), Louisiana (12.1 percent), Texas (6.6 percent), Arkansas (5.4 percent), and North Carolina (4.8 percent). Combined, the five states now support 725 unique markets.

“I knew that there were some new markets being established in the South, but I didn’t expect for southern states to edge out some of the northeastern states and the western states,” says Arthur Neal, deputy administrator for USDA’s agricultural marketing service. Read Full Article »

New Herbicide and GE Seeds: EPA and USDA Poised to Approve Herbicide with Insufficiently Unexamined Cumulative and Long-Term Health Effects

August 26th, 2014

The Pump Handle
by Elizabeth Grossman

Credit: NRCS

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 »

Funding Female Farmers for a Less Hungry World by Food Tank and GFAR

August 26th, 2014

YouTube
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 »

Don’t Think You’re Eating GMOs? Think Again

August 25th, 2014

Inspired Bites
by Robyn O’Brien

gmo.protest.smYou 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 »

SF Approves California’s First Tax Incentive for Urban Ag

August 25th, 2014

Spur
by Eli Zigas

Heirloom tomatoes at Slow Food Nation
Credit: mercedesfromtheeighties

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 »

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