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.

Island Province Going Organic

February 24th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: A small province on the south Pacific island of Vanuatu is banning junk foods, in favor of their rich farming heritage. A local leader says, “there is no need to eat imported food when we have so much local food grown organically on our islands.” He has also witnessed health effects in other provinces from eating the generally low-nutrition imports.

South Pacific islands ban western junk food and go organic
The Guardian
by Eleanor Ainge Roy

Source: Bruce Tuten

Leaders of Vanuatu province want to turn local people and tourists away from unhealthy imports in favour of locally grown crops and seafood

A group of south Pacific islands are banning foreign junk food imports in favour of an all-local, organic diet as a way to combat future health problems.

Torba province, part of Vanuatu, aims to impose restrictions on the import of western foodstuffs and instead take advantage of its productive agricultural land and rich natural resources. Read Full Article »

Surviving on Wheat, Rice, and Corn

February 24th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Wheat, rice, and corn now make up 43% of the food eaten in the world. Setting aside the political-financial issue of food distribution, this report discusses the homogenization of food eaten, and attendant loss of biodiversity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), we will need to produce 70% more food by 2050 in order to feed a third more mouths.

Real Farming Report – Whose seeds are they anyway?
The Ecologist
by Kathryn Hindess

Source: Nicholas A. Tonelli

The new People Need Nature report – published to coincide with this week’s annual Oxford Real Farming Conference – warns that modern farming practices are not good for wildlife. But they’re not good for humans either. And with predictions that we will need to produce 70 per cent more food to feed a third more mouths by 2050 the question of seed ownership and diversity cannot be ignored. 

For at least 12,000 years, humans have been sowing, selecting, domesticating and freely exchanging seeds in order to adapt to the conditions of an ever-changing Earth. Then, a century or so ago, things went pear-shaped.

Since the 1900s, crop diversity has been narrowing at a dramatic pace. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), some “75% of genetic diversity has been lost”. Read Full Article »

Pesticides Linked to Diabetes

February 23rd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Research in India suggests that contact with organophosphate pesticides, like malathion and chlorpyrifos, upsets the gut micro-flora, leading to diabetes. Readers may recall that chlorpyrifos has been deemed a health risk to children by U.S. government scientists, but, for political reasons, has not yet been banned from use in farming. These pesticides are not allowed in organic agriculture.

Pesticide Use Can Cause Diabetes: Scientists Sound Warning
by Pallava Bagla

Source: Rachel Lynnae

NEW DELHI: A team of scientists have found links between use of pesticides and the high prevalence of diabetes in India. They have suggested that view of the high occurrence of diabetes in India, the use of OP (organophosphate) pesticides should be reconsidered. The team – which had been conducting the research in rural areas of South India – suggests that if people are continuously exposed common OP pesticides like Malathion and Chlorpyrifos, they can get diabetes even when they do not have the other risk factors.

The OP pesticides are used in widely used in agriculture. Malathion is used even in urban areas to control mosquitoes and termites. Read Full Article »

Cheap Chicken Carries a Steep Cost

February 23rd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Big Conventional Chicken contracts with farmers to raise their birds. The farmers provide the barns, feed, and other infrastructure, and raise the birds according to company specifications. In return, the company buys all of their birds. It’s an arrangement that is failing farmers big time, with many going thousands of dollars into debt and leaving them with little control over their lives.

Chicken farmers say processors treat them like servants
by David Pitt

Source: Chesapeake Bay Program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former chicken farmers in five states have filed a federal lawsuit accusing a handful of giant poultry processing companies that dominate the industry of treating farmers who raise the chickens like indentured servants and colluding to fix prices paid to them.

The farmers located in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas allege that the contract grower system created by Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, Koch Foods, and Sanderson Farms pushed them deep into debt to build and maintain chicken barns to meet company demands.

They say the companies colluded to fix farmer compensation at low levels to boost corporate profits, making it difficult for the farmers to survive financially. They are seeking class action status for the suit filed in federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Read Full Article »

CSAs Band Together to Develop a Charter

February 22nd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: CSAs allow you to purchase a share in a local farm and receive a weekly portion of the farm’s harvest throughout a season in exchange. Most CSAs are owned and operated by a farmer directly, but some are aggregators who re-sell food from multiple, not necessarily local, farms for profit. This charter is an excellent step towards transparency among CSAs.

Launch Date Approaches for Historic CSA Farm Charter in the USA and Canada
by Elizabeth Henderson

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms across the United States and Canada are setting roots more deeply in the land as they unite under a community-developed CSA Charter that provides a clear definition of what CSA is all about.

With 30 years of history and development, over 7,500 healthy, sustainable community farms have been established in the US, and many thousands more in Canada. These sustainable farms are directly networked with hundreds of thousands of households in the towns and cities where they are based and provide weekly shares of fresh, healthy, locally-grown food.

Together, regional networks and independent CSAs in the USA and Canada are banding together to launch an innovative and strengthening Charter for CSAs.  The Charter will be inaugurated on CSA Sign-up Day, February 24, 2017. Read Full Article »

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