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.
Cities looking for sustainable economic growth might consider investing in a seemingly unlikely source: urban beekeeping. Contrary to what one might expect, urban bees survive better, produce more honey, and are healthier than rural bees. Furthermore, urban bees have a winter survival rate of 62.5 percent, compared to just 40 percent for their rural counterparts. Urban bees also produce, on average, 26.25 pounds of honey in their first year, while the yield for rural bees is only 16.75 pounds.
In light of these facts, cities should capitalize on and invest in urban beekeeping. Cultivating beehives in an urban context will not only help cities develop economically, but will also have a positive impact on bee health and—by extension—the agricultural community. Read Full Article »
The effort to improve food safety by clearing wild vegetation surrounding crops is not helping and, in some cases, may even backfire, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley.
The findings, reported Monday, Aug. 10, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, call into question the effectiveness of removing non-crop vegetation as a way to reduce field contamination of fresh produce by disease-causing pathogens. This practice led to extensive loss of habitat in a region that is globally important for food production and natural resources. Read Full Article »
Retail outlets across Europe are taking glyphosate – the main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup – off their shelves, despite government officials declaring it safe to use
Monsanto is far from happy. The main ingredient of its highly profitable weedkiller, Roundup, often used in conjunction with GM crops, has been declared a “probable carcinogenic”.
As well as being profitable for Monsanto, glyphosate is one of the most widely adopted weedkillers in the world by gardeners and farmers alike. Use of it by UK farmers, for example, has soared by 400% in the last 20 years.
In response to the cancer warning, the US biotech company has been quick to accuse the body behind the new classification of bias. It says the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organisation (WHO), lacks transparency and has made an irresponsible decision – one likely to cause confusion among farmers and the wider public. Read Full Article »
Herbicide use is increasing worldwide both in agriculture and private gardens. However, our knowledge of potential side-effects on non-target soil organisms, even on such eminent ones as earthworms, is still very scarce. In a greenhouse experiment, we assessed the impact of the most widely used glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup on two earthworm species with different feeding strategies. We demonstrate, that the surface casting activity of vertically burrowing earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) almost ceased three weeks after herbicide application, while the activity of soil dwelling earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa) was not affected. Reproduction of the soil dwellers was reduced by 56% within three months after herbicide application. Herbicide application led to increased soil concentrations of nitrate by 1592% and phosphate by 127%, pointing to potential risks for nutrient leaching into streams, lakes, or groundwater aquifers. These sizeable herbicide-induced impacts on agroecosystems are particularly worrisome because these herbicides have been globally used for decades. Read Full Article »