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.

No No Nano: Macro-Objections to Micro-Machinations of Industrial Processed Food

October 16th, 2014

The Call of the Land
by Steven McFadden

“To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.” – Wendell Berry

Steven McFadden

Steadily, stealthily, corporations are driving the goodness of natural life itself from our food, and cleverly – though unwisely – infesting it with dim bits of microscopic material substance that are obscured from human awareness. I object. Wholeheartedly.

Just as synthetic chemicals, manufactured additives, irradiation, and then genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been corporately imposed upon processed food, now a micro-invasion of nanoparticles is gaining momentum. Patented lab-created nanoparticles are even penetrating the realm of organic food, as the USDA’s organic program chooses to do nothing.

The invisible, insidious micro-mechanistic food interventions being aggressively advanced by industry are now incarnate via nanotechnology. That’s the practice of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale, and then incorporating the synthetic molecules into processed stuff, including our food. Read Full Article »

Beef Checkoff ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ Is Better Left Behind

October 15th, 2014

NOTE: The organic farming community is facing a full-court-press by the powerful industry lobby group, the Organic Trade Association.  They want to pass a “checkoff” that will tax farmers to fund promotional and research work.  The history of these checkoffs leave farmers extremely skeptical, to say the least.  Cornucopia, and every organic farming group that has taken a position, has come out against the OTA proposal.  The following commentary represents the position of the National Farmers Union, an ally in our work (the author, the President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, is a certified organic dairyman).

by Darin Von Ruden | Wisconsin Farmers Union President

Darin Von Ruden

After three years of trying to work with industry stakeholders to make needed changes to the Beef Checkoff program, the National Farmers Union withdrew from the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group in early September.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) also withdrew from the working group, citing similar frustrations with a lack of progress since the group was formed in 2011.

NFU President Roger Johnson went so far as to call the working group a “bridge to nowhere” and a waste of time and resources. I have to agree.

The working group was designed to bring together vested parties from across the beef industry and to attempt to reach a consensus on substantial reforms that would make the checkoff a stronger, more effective tool for the beef industry.

The group also included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American National Cattlewomen, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Federation of State Beef Councils, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Importers Council of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Livestock Producers Association and National Milk Producers Federation.

Sadly, it has become clear that in reality, there is no willingness from key players within the group to allow real reforms to take place. Read Full Article »

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Banning Commercial Production of Genetically Modified Salmon

October 15th, 2014

The Press Democrat
by Derek Moore

Credit: Steven Pavlov

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a North Coast lawmaker’s bill banning the commercial production of genetically altered salmon.

AB 504, authored by Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, extends the prohibition of spawning or cultivating so-called “transgenic salmonids” in the Pacific Ocean to all waters of the state. The hatchery production and stocking of such fish also is prohibited.

The legislation protects the state’s native steelhead trout and salmon populations, Chesbro said. He noted that federal food and drug regulators are reviewing an application by a company, AquaBounty Technologies, that seeks to raise genetically altered salmon in the United States. Read Full Article »

Dr. Huber’s Brave Crusade Against Biotech

October 14th, 2014

by Robyn O’Brien

Credit: London Permaculture

Dr. Don Huber was hit by a car last night. He is a whistle blower in the food world and someone I have had the honor of knowing.

Dr. Huber is Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, a land grant institution, and has been studying plants for 55 years. He has received various awards for his scientific accomplishments and contributions to government.

He was Cereal Pathologist at the University of Idaho for 8 years before joining the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology at Purdue University in 1971.

His agricultural research the past 50 years has focused on the epidemiology and control of soil borne plant pathogens with emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and physiology of host parasite relationships.

He’s in his 80s, and he is also a father, a grandfather and has had a 41-year military career as a retired Colonel.

He is someone I have turned to in this work when I read,”Pesticides may be putting young children at risk of cancer.”  Other headlines have suggested that pesticides are linked to Parkinson’s, autism and other conditions. Read Full Article »

Food Sleuth Radio: Jeff Ritterman on Inequity and Taking Our Food System Back

October 14th, 2014


Jeff Ritterman, M.D., member, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and former Chief of Cardiology at Kaiser Richmond Medical Center, CA, explores the link between fatal kidney disease among farmers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India and exposure to heavy metals and Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide.  Listen at  And if you like the show, please ask the general manager of your local community or public radio station to air it.  The show is available free to Pacifica members, or through Public Radio Exchange. Read Full Article »

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