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.

Microbes in the Soil and in Our Guts

March 24th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Please enjoy this review of The Hidden Half of Nature by David Montgomery and Anne Biklé. Given the science and practical work of microbes in soil, it is clear that soil is crucial to our health. Our friend Fred Kirschenmann suggested this book.

The scientists whose garden unlocked the secret to good health
The Guardian
by Lucy Rock

When Anne Biklé and David Montgomery fed their failing soil with organic matter, they were astonished by the results. Stimulating the microbes that live beneath the surface led the garden to flourish. Then, when Biklé was diagnosed with cancer, the couple had an idea…

Juicy is the best word to describe Anne Biklé and David Montgomery’s garden, even in the dying days of autumn. Emerald green, dewy grass; a vegetable patch where leafy kale stands tall and arugula nestles low; shrubs and trees – cork bark maple, Persian ironwood and wax myrtle – screening the area from passersby and a late-flowering rhododendron bearing plump red blooms.

It is this oasis that led them on a remarkable journey into another world, one that exists beneath our feet and is run by microbes, creatures invisible to the naked eye. Read Full Article »

Organic Soil-based Farming Benefits All Life

March 24th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Soil health is foundational to all living things. Organic farming has enormous benefits for human and environmental health. While hydroponic container growing has merit in particular conditions, it is not organic agriculture.

The Organic Center Digs Deeper on Soil Health
by The Organic Center

When you buy organic, you’re buying into a type of agriculture with many benefits. Here’s the scoop on Soil Health. Read Full Article »

Keep Organics Rooted in Nutritious Soil

March 22nd, 2017

Comment to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by March 30

When food grown without soil (hydroponic) is allowed to carry the organic label, the environmental and health benefits that underpin organic farming are lost, and legitimate, soil-based farmers who steward the land are unfairly undercut by this cheaper/industrialized growing method.

You can do something about this …
      … to protect real organic farmers and nutritionally superior food!

Hydroponic Pepper Operation
(c) Dario Sabljak/Adobe Stock

In 2010 the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted to prohibit hydroponics in organics.  Seven years later, the USDA has still not acted on this recommendation, turning a blind eye to the illegal organic certification of industrial-scale soil-less growers (both domestic and major importers).

Meanwhile, opposition to industrial organic hydroponic and “container” operations is growing. Organic farmers have organized and rallied to “keep the soil in organic.” Consumers are demanding nutrient dense food grown in soils high in organic matter.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Peter Welch, have called for a moratorium on new hydroponic organic certification.  A letter signed by 45 organizations representing over two million members also called for a moratorium. The National Organic Program still has not responded.

Please join the resistance by telling the USDA to keep the soil in organics!

Post your comments online today — deadline March 30 Read Full Article »

Glyphosate Linked to Health Issues, Disorders, and Disease

March 21st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is the active ingredient in many herbicides since its debut in agribusiness. Scientists have yet to determine exactly how glyphosate is causing health problems, but studies show that specific ailments arise in animals even with exposure to low doses of the chemical. Glyphosate is not allowed in organic agriculture.

Serious Health Conditions Studies Have Linked To Monsanto’s Roundup
Rodale’s Organic Life
by Markham Heid

Source: Mike Mozart, Flickr

This common agricultural herbicide has been associated with numerous health issues, but there are ways to reduce your exposure.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is easily the most heavily used agricultural chemical in the U.S., according to a 2016 study in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe. And that’s starting to look like more and more of a problem.

“Roundup is widely used in gardens and commercial spaces, as well as in agriculture,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group. It’s so widely used that it occasionally turns up in drinking water, Lunder says. That’s frightening because, since Roundup first hit the market in 1974, it has been linked to a bevy of health issues. Read Full Article »

Organic Soundbites May Not Be Organic Facts

March 21st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The newsreel spins so fast, it seems even reporters skim the news sometimes. Cornucopia encourages readers to examine studies of interest personally, and not just rely on media coverage.

What the latest research actually says (and doesn’t) about organic
The Organic Center

Source: Casey Lessard

Precise analysis of scientific articles isn’t always easy and almost never quick.  Today’s media has much to report on and respond to, and increasingly, corners get cut in taking the time to get the news out in the most accurate way. A new journal article published in Science Advances highlights many areas where organic agriculture excels: higher biodiversity, improved soil and water quality, greater profitability, and higher nutritional value.  But much of the current media coverage focuses less on the content of the paper and more on a few out of context quotes, and the guarded title of the article, “Many shades of gray—The context-dependent performance of organic agriculture”. Read Full Article »

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