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.

Upper Midwest Farmers Transitioning to Organic Can Get Aid

February 1st, 2016

by Blake Nicholson


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota and Minnesota are helping farmers with the three-year transition from traditional crops to organic production, an effort that the industry’s main trade group says could boost the acreage of organically grown crops in the U.S. if it takes root beyond the upper Midwest.

Minnesota started its grant program first, in 2013, and North Dakota followed suit this year. Both programs assist with the transition costs — everything from soil testing to education. Minnesota farmers can get up to $750 annually and North Dakota farmers up to $1,000.

The expense of the transition, which bans farmers from using mainstream chemicals and likely leads to lower yields, is not prohibitive, but “there’s a learning curve there that the farmer needs to go through,” said Lowell Kaul, an organic farmer near Harvey, North Dakota, who serves on a board that advises the state agriculture commissioner. During the conversion, farmers can’t sell their crops into the organic market until they are certified organic by a government-approved agency. Read Full Article »

Going Back to the Future: Is Biodynamic Agriculture the “Newest” Trend in Organic?

February 1st, 2016

by Elizabeth Candelario, Demeter Co-Director

Source: Harmony Farm in Tipp City, OH

In the early 1920’s a growing group of European farmers were increasingly concerned about what they were witnessing on their farms.  Their soil was depleted, their seeds weren’t germinating, their crops’ quality was declining, and their animals were suffering.  The overall life and vitality of their farms was markedly changing.  Seeking the causes behind their observations, the farmers approached Dr. Rudolf Steiner-a well-know scientist and social advocate, who is now best known as the founder of Waldorf education- for guidance.

It’s helpful to place this story in the context of the times.  Prior to the advent of industrialization, our communities were agrarian and people lived on their farms.  They grew food for themselves and their farm animals.  Lots of different crops grew and the farm itself existed in a larger ecological context of forests, plains, and watersheds.  People lived in tune with the seasons and the celestial rhythms.  But by the turn of the last century, people moved from their farms to the cities.  Factories were built focused on increased production based on the increased utilization of our natural resources.

It’s not surprising that farms began to resemble factories.  Read Full Article »

Garden How-To: Blend Your Own Seed-Starting Mix

January 29th, 2016

Rodale’s Organic Life
by Doug Hall

Source: Susy Morris

Get better results + save money by learning how to make your own potting soil.

April Johnson, landscape and greenhouse coordinator at the Rodale Institute near Kutztown, Pennsylvania, grows literally thousands of organic vegetable, flower, and herb transplants every year. (It’s a great way to get the garden going; you should try Starting Seeds On Your Kitchen Table this year.) Many of her seedlings end up in the Institute’s production and display gardens; others are sold to local gardeners at two spring fundraisers. After many years of experimenting with recipes for indoor seed-starting mixes, Johnson has settled on this general formula:

4 parts screened compost
1 part perlite (a mineral available at most garden stores)
1 part vermiculite (another mineral available at most garden stores)
2 parts coir (coconut fiber) Read Full Article »

Why is Cornell University Hosting a GMO Propaganda Campaign?

January 29th, 2016

The Ecologist
by Stacy Malkan

Source: Erik Jaeger

Cornell, one of the world’s leading academic institutions, has abandoned scientific objectivity, writes Stacy Malkan – and instead made itself a global hub for the promotion of GM crops and food. Working with selected journalists and industry-supported academics, Cornell’s so-called ‘Alliance for Science’ is an aggressive propaganda tool for corporate biotech and agribusiness.

The founders of Cornell University, Andrew D. White and Ezra Cornell, dreamed of creating a great university that took a radical approach to learning.

Their revolutionary spirit, and the promise to pursue knowledge for the greater good, is said to be at the heart of the Ivy League school their dream became.

It is difficult to understand how these ideals are served by a unit of Cornell operating as a public relations arm for the agrichemical industry.

Yet that is what seems to be going on at the Cornell Alliance for Science (CAS), a program launched in 2014 with a $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a goal to “depolarize the charged debate” about GMOs. Read Full Article »

International Year of Pulses 2016

January 28th, 2016

IFOAM Organics International

internationalyrpulsesThe United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses.

Pulses, a subgroup of legumes, are plant species members of the pea family that produce edible seeds, which are used for human and animal consumption. We are proud to be part of the International Year of Pulses (IYP) as it is an effective way to raise awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses and the role they can play in food security and nutrition. We are also taking this as an opportunity to call on governments as well as donor and development agencies to develop programs and policies aimed at making crop rotations that include pulses, part of agricultural systems.
Read Full Article »

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