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.

Second Silent Spring? Bird Declines Linked to Popular Pesticides

July 15th, 2014

Neonicotinoids are aimed at insects, but they’re affecting other animals too, study says.

National Geographic
by Jason Bittel

Credit: Audrius Meskauskas

Pesticides don’t just kill pests. New research out of the Netherlands provides compelling evidence linking a widely used class of insecticides to population declines across 14 species of birds.

Those insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been in the news lately due to the way they hurt bees and other pollinators. (Related: “The Plight of the Honeybee.”)

This new paper, published online Wednesday in Nature, gets at another angle of the story—the way these chemicals can indirectly affect other creatures in the ecosystem. Read Full Article »

New Meta-Analysis Identifies Three Significant Benefits Associated With Organically Grown Plant-Based Foods

July 14th, 2014

Washington State University
by Chuck Benbrook

bjn_logoThere have been four progressively rigorous meta-analyses published since 2009 focusing on differences in the nutritional quality and safety of organic versus conventional food. The latest comes out July 15, 2014 in the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN). I was the sole American scientist on the mostly European research team that produced the BJN paper:

Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Baranski, M., D. Srednicka-Tober, N. Volakakis, C. Seal, R. Sanderson, G. B. Stewart, C. Benbrook, B. Biavati, E. Markellou, C. Giotis, J. Gromadzka-Ostrowska, E. Rembiałkowska, K. Skwarło-Son, R. Tahvonen, D. Janovska, U. Niggli, P. Nicot and C. Leifert.

I have been asked by the team to help disseminate our study’s results in the U.S. Toward this end, we have posted on the M2M website an extensive set of resources on the study including:

  • The abstract and links to the full, open-access paper;Press releases from WSU and Newcastle University in the U.K., home to several of the co-authors and study leader Carlo Leifert;
  • Extensive FAQs covering major findings, methodological details, and why this study’s findings are more robust than earlier ones;
  • Discussion of the findings, limits, and flaws in earlier reviews;
  • A set of graphics and tables summarizing methods, data sources, and major findings (available as a downloadable Powerpoint), and
  • Links to other resources on the study.

Read Full Article »

MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year Nominations

July 14th, 2014


Do you know an outstanding organic farmer or farm family who deserves to be recognized as the 2015 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year? Please let us know by completing a nomination form. This is the 13th year of this prestigious award which will be presented at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference Feb. 26 – 28, 2015 in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

You can find a nomination form here, or you can visit to learn more and complete the online form.  Read Full Article »

Newcastle University Study Proves Organic Food Is Better for You

July 11th, 2014

The study, led by Newcastle University, will re-ignite debate about the benefits of organic food

The Journal
by Tony Henderson

Credit: Aallen

The largest study of its kind – led by North East experts – has found significant benefits to organic food.

An international team led by Newcastle University has shown that organic crops are up to 69% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops.

Numerous studies have linked antioxidants to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.

The study found that a switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals – and food made from them – would provide additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between one to two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Read Full Article »

Bee Foraging Chronically Impaired by Pesticide Exposure: Study

July 11th, 2014

Science Daily

Credit: Jon Sullivan

A study co-authored by a University of Guelph scientist that involved fitting bumblebees with tiny radio frequency tags shows long-term exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide hampers bees’ ability to forage for pollen.

The research by Nigel Raine, a professor in Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences, and Richard Gill of Imperial College London was published today in the British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology.

The study shows how long-term pesticide exposure affects individual bees’ day-to-day behaviour, including pollen collection and which flowers worker bees chose to visit. Read Full Article »

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