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 Chickadee’s Guide to Gardening

March 20th, 2015

The New York Times
by Douglas W. Tallamy

In Your Garden, Choose Plants That Help the Environment

Source: Julie Falk

OXFORD, Pa. — I grew up thinking little of plants. I was interested in snakes and turtles, then insects and, eventually, birds. Now I like plants. But I still like the life they create even more.

Plants are as close to biological miracles as a scientist could dare admit. After all, they allow us, and nearly every other species, to eat sunlight, by creating the nourishment that drives food webs on this planet. As if that weren’t enough, plants also produce oxygen, build topsoil and hold it in place, prevent floods, sequester carbon dioxide, buffer extreme weather and clean our water. Considering all this, you might think we gardeners would value plants for what they do. Instead, we value them for what they look like.

When we design our home landscapes, too many of us choose beautiful plants from all over the world, without considering their ability to support life within our local ecosystems. Read Full Article »

10 Ways to Eat Organic on a Budget

March 20th, 2015

Soil Association
by Tom Hunt

Source: Roman Petruniak

With a little shopping knowhow we can all buy more organic produce – here are 10 ways to eat organic on a budget.

1. Grow your own

You don’t need a garden and it takes little effort to grow a few pots of your favourite herbs and vegetables and it’s so rewarding. You can grow anywhere, on windowsills, on the porch, or on the driveway. Start with herbs as they can be so expensive to buy and take up little room. Try up-cycling your empty egg boxes into planters for seedlings and using old bean cans and milk bottles for plant pots. Find out more about growing your own…

2. Eat less meat

Meat is at the top of my priority list when it comes to buying organic. Organic certification from the Soil Association not only certifies that the meat is organic but that it is high welfare. Read Full Article »

As States Legalize Marijuana, Study Finds Uneven Pesticide Use Restrictions on Growing Practices, Safety Concerns, and Ecological Options

March 19th, 2015

Beyond Pesticides

Contact: Jay Feldman 202-543-5450

Marijuana Dispensary in Denver, CO
Source: Jeffrey Beall

Marijuana may be legal in your state for medicinal and recreational use, but are toxic pesticides used in its production? A study released today of the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana finds a patchwork of state laws and evolving policy that define allowed pesticide use and management practices in cannabis production. This variety of state law is occurring in the absence of federal registration of pesticide use for cannabis production because of its classification as a narcotic under federal law. The investigation, Pesticide Use in Marijuana Production: Safety Issues and Sustainable Options, evaluates the state laws governing pesticide use in cannabis production where it is legalized. Read Full Article »

USDA Survey Asks Question About GMO Contamination and Drift

March 19th, 2015
Source: Environmental Illness Network

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) is completing its USDA Organic Survey.

Although farmers don’t often appreciate surveys, this one has some critical questions about GMO presence in Section 10.  NASS is trying to collect information on problems farmers have had with GMO contamination of their organic crops they have sold.

They are accepting the surveys on-line until April 3rd at  If you complete it by paper and mail it they will probably still accept it.  Federal law requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

Results from the survey will be published in August 2015.  For more information about the Organic Survey call 888.424.7828 or visit Read Full Article »

Top of the Food Chain: How Women Are Helping Each Other Lead the Food and Farming Sector

March 18th, 2015

by Kathleen Frith

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden
Source: USDA, Jennifer Shike

Ten years ago, when I was working at an environmental center at Harvard Medical School, I had coffee with a woman who was working for one of the large, national environmental NGOs.

The conversation turned into what a friend calls a “woe-down.” We lamented that our directors were men, that the faculty or in-house experts were mostly men, and that our boards consisted largely of — you guessed it — men. We could both think of plenty of administrative and middle management positions filled by smart, competent women, but the examples quickly dwindled near the top of the organizations.

A scan of the data backed up this realization. The fact that men, almost without exception, led the environmental movement came somewhat as a surprise to me. I had formed the false assumption that conservation work was one area that naturally offered more equitable women leadership.
It still doesn’t. Read Full Article »

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