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 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.
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 »
August 26th, 2015
by Antonio Regalado
Deep 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 »
August 26th, 2015
Sign the Petition to Ban the Use of Frack and
Sewage Wastewater for Growing Organic Food
The 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 »
August 25th, 2015
by Rachel Zegerius
Some of the same conventional processed food companies that are listening to their customers’ demands to remove synthetic and artificial ingredients are, simultaneously, being investigated for target-marketing nutritionally poor foods directly to communities of color.
A recent report by the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity examines TV food advertising, and other forms of marketing, to young Hispanic and Black consumers.
The research shows that these young people receive a “double dose” of promotions for products high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. In fact, two‐thirds of food ads viewed by Hispanic children and teens promote fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and snacks. Read Full Article »
August 25th, 2015
by Nadia Prupis
“This program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens.”
When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they will be the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainably sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito will eat fresh, local food year-round, thanks to a partnership with the Conscious Kitchen, a project of the environmental education nonprofit Turning Green.
“Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins,” Turning Green founder Judi Shils said on Tuesday. “Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.” Read Full Article »