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.

Neonicotinoid Toxicity ‘Takes Your Breath Away’

October 17th, 2014


beesthriveBees and other wildlife are being ‘quietly poisoned’ by chemicals which are 5000 times more toxic than DDT, according to Professor Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex.

The Social Association’s annual conference established the case for continuing the ban on neonicotinoids, with Professor Goulson discussing saying the toxicity ‘takes your breath away.’

Goulson noted that studies on neonicotinoids have overwhelmingly found negative effects on bumblebee colonies and behaviour – and the very same chemicals which are killing bees are still readily available in any garden centre.

More research into the impacts and wider effects of neonicotinoids is necessary to prevent further damage to our on waterways and soils. Equally, the time has come for policy makers to take note of the chilling evidence that face our pollinators and the wildlife that inhabits the British countryside.

The Soil Association is keen for all farmers to work together to look at different ways of managing pests. The public have an important role to play too in protecting our bees, birds and soils – steps could include reducing the amount of common sprays used on back gardens to kill insects and buying insecticide-free organic food. Read Full Article »

Anemic National Organic Program Listening Session Ends Quickly

October 16th, 2014

By Will Fantle


Miles McEvoy (center) at a recent NOSB meeting.

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) held the first of what they described as a series of listening sessions on the afternoon of Thursday, October 16. Following introductory remarks from Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy, who oversees NOP operations, the teleconference session was turned over to participants on the call who were given three minutes to provide feedback to the NOP.

Ten people chimed in and, despite repeated requests for more participation, the call – scheduled to last two hours – was adjourned after approximately 45 minutes. Of those callers who did share perspectives with the NOP, most were harshly critical of the recent controversial changes imposed by the USDA to the National Organic Standards Board’s authority and governance.

In particular, callers zeroed in on the USDA’s changes to “sunset” and the higher threshold now required for removal of synthetic and non-organic materials from what had been presumed to be their temporary use in organics. Following is a short synopsis of what callers said: Read Full Article »

Organic: The Real Natural

October 16th, 2014

Organic The Real Natural
Sponsored by OFARM (Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing)

Larry Heitkamp, an organic farmer in Minnesota, sees his customers as partners in a grand plan to replenish the land and raise healthy families. “When you buy my organic eggs, you feed your family and heal the earth.”

Organic farmers say, in their own way, why organic farming is best for your family, our communities, and the environment. Visit Organic The Real Natural to view new videos as they are released. Read Full Article »

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 »

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