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.
Current Cornucopia Reports
The Tico Times
by Zach Dyer
A new study has found alarmingly high levels of pesticides in the urine of pregnant Costa Rican women working in and living near the banana industry in Matina, Limón. The chemical ethylene thiourea (ETU) found in the fungicide mancozeb, which is sprayed over banana plantations here, can be detrimental to fetal brain development, according to the report released Monday in Environmental Health Perspectives.
The study registered 451 pregnant women and tracked urine samples from 445 to test their level of exposure to ETU. Expecting mothers had levels of ETU in their urine five times greater than the general population, exceeding reference doses for the chemical. ETU levels were significantly higher for women living less than 50 meters from a banana plantation. Seventy two percent of the women surveyed had on average 45 percent higher levels of the chemical in their bodies than women who lived more than 500 meters away. The report also noted higher levels in women who washed agricultural work clothes one day before samples were collected; women who worked during pregnancy; and immigrant women. Read Full Article »
The drought that is parching California is having a horrendous impact on food produced and raised in that state. This is especially important for all Americans as so much of our food comes from the farmers working California land. In the following story, Grist chronicles the destruction occurring on organic dairy farms.
by Madeleine Thomas
“Roll down your window for a second and tell me what you smell,” Rosie Burroughs instructs me. It’s early March and I’m in the passenger seat of her gigantic white Ford pickup truck, bouncing down a narrow, potholed dirt road on her farm in the rolling hills just east of Turlock, Calif. Her husband, Ward is sitting in the driver’s seat.
The Burroughs’ 4,000 acres of sweeping organic grasslands, which practically rest under the shadow of Yosemite’s Half Dome, are a pastoral dream. On the Saturday afternoon of my visit, a storm was brewing over the purplish mountains, sending gusts of pink petals from their neighboring almond orchards across the landscape.
I opened the window, gazing at a herd of cattle grazing not more than ten feet away from our car, half expecting the acrid stench of manure and animal common on larger factory farms to assault my nostrils. But I couldn’t smell anything, save for the faint scent of damp earth and rain brewing on the horizon. Rosie leaned back in her seat, content…. Read Full Article »
by The Lexicon of Sustainability
GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms. They are created when scientists take DNA from one plant species and add it to the DNA of another and they’re probably already in what you eat and what you wear. Jessica Lundberg of Northern California’s Lundberg Family Farms advocates initiatives that would impose mandatory labeling of food products using GMO ingredients because she believes consumers have the right know what’s in their food. Read Full Article »
In a Viewpoint published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of Boston researchers call for the implementation of taxes and subsidies to improve dietary quality in the United States. The researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital write that policies taxing nearly all packaged foods and subsidizing healthier foods could both help people make meaningful dietary changes and substantially reduce health care costs.
“With climbing rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illnesses helping to drive health care expenses to an all-time high, we are at a crossroads,” said first author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “The strategies we rely on now — labels on food packages and dietary guidelines — place responsibility squarely on the shoulders of individual people to find, purchase, and eat healthy foods. Given the complexities of our modern food environment, that is an uphill battle. We must start looking at enacting policies that help people navigate our complex food environment and adopt a healthier way of eating.” Read Full Article »