Media/News Archive

How Does Your Go-To Organic Milk Stack Up?

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: We are pleased that authoritative sources for cooking and food ingredients have taken note of our investigation into organic dairying.  This type of reporting helps consumers make better choices for what they feed themselves and their families.

Not All Organic Milk Is Equally Healthy, Says Consumer Group
Cooking Light
by Christopher Michel

Source: Susy Morris

The Cornucopia Institute says this national brand produces better organic milk than others.

You walk into the grocery store, and head to the back (it’s always way in the back) for some milk, only to be confronted with what seems like an increasing problem: Too many choices.

Even leaving out the alternative milks (which could soon be in a category of its own), there are a number to choose from: Lactose-free, traditional, something called A2, as well as all the organic brands to choose from. Perhaps you lean toward the organic, maybe because you’ve heard the cows are treated better, or because you’re hoping it’s a little healthier for you or your kids.

But are all organic milks equally as healthy compared to conventional milks? And why (and how?) is the store-brand organic so much cheaper than the name-brand stuff?

According to the consumer advocacy group The Cornucopia Institute, an “organic” label isn’t held to nearly as strict standards as it could or should be. The selection of organic milks at your local store ends up including a wide variety of milk producers that aren’t making a healthier product. Read Full Article »

The Realities of Starting a Farm

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Although the couple in this film are atypical of new farmers—they had enough resources to acquire land and a solid consultant—the documentary they created about their struggles to start an organic, biodynamic farm is an honest look at what it takes (and gives) to partner with land and animals.

An L.A. couple left urban life to start ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ and then made a movie about it
Los Angeles Times
by Amy Kaufman

It all started with Todd. A flat-coated retriever-border collie mix with commanding blue eyes. He’d been rescued from a bad situation, trapped with over 200 other dogs in cages at a hoarder’s house.

His new adoptive home was far nicer: an apartment in Santa Monica with a newly married couple, John and Molly Chester. But it was still small. And when they left for work — John directed television docuseries, Molly was a traditional foods private chef — Todd would bark. For hours.

The Chesters tried everything to calm him down from citronella bark collars to anxiety vests. Nothing worked, and before long, the couple was served with an eviction notice.

John, 47, and Molly,40, didn’t know what to do. If they found another apartment, surely Todd would just continue barking there. And placing him in another family, after he’d already suffered so much in his early years, was out of the question.

So they decided to do something crazy. For years, they’d dreamed of starting their own farm, but in the way so many of us do — romantically fantasizing about giving up the urban sprawl for a simpler life. They knew nothing about farming; they’d only grown a small tomato plant on their apartment patio. But Todd was the push the Chesters needed. They found a family friend to serve as an investor, and in 2011, purchased 130-acres of land in Moorpark, 50 miles north of Los Angeles.

Enjoy this video short from the Chesters’ farm

Their journey is the subject of a new documentary directed by John, “The Biggest Little Farm,” which debuts at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend and screens next week at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film, which is seeking theatrical distribution, isn’t entirely a grass-is-greener story. It depicts the immense struggles the Chesters faced in trying to create an organic, biodynamic business, which they named Apricot Lane Farms.

Read Full Article »

Trump Administration Pressing Africa to Adopt GMO Agriculture

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: A U.S. State Department trade-policy specialist recently traveled to Africa to encourage officials to ease restrictions against, and encourage the use of, GMO seeds. The work of trade representatives is to develop and coordinate U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy. This trip benefits the biotech industry in the U.S., down to the official’s assurances regarding GMOs’ (questionable) ability to feed the people and promote good health.

US seeks to push African countries to adopt GM crops
The East African
by Kevin J Kelley

Source: Kyle MacDonald

A Trump administration official is visiting Africa this week to promote government acceptance of genetically engineered crops.

Peter Haas, a State Department trade-policy specialist, told a three-day biotechnology conference in South Africa that use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in agriculture can help meet the continent’s food needs while also fostering improvements in human health.

Mr Haas is travelling next to Ethiopia to discuss adoption of GMO products with African Union officials at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

His visit follows a warning in June by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that the Washington intends to file cases in international forums against governmental restrictions on GMO imports that are not “science-based.”

Africa could be a target of that US legal offensive. Read Full Article »

Biopesticides Show Promise for Modern Agriculture

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Medical cannabis use has brought more attention to the issue of pesticide residues. People with compromised health want to ensure they are not subjected to toxic residues on the plant, and some companies have stepped in to offer effective pesticides in the form of living microorganisms and natural chemicals. These biopesticides are often cheaper and may work better than synthetic pesticides like glyphosate. We will continue to monitor the evolution of these products.

Cannabis Is Creating A Boom For Biological Pesticides
by Janet Burns

Source: Teddy Llovet, Flickr

As legal cannabis farms take the spotlight, safer methods of pest control are also taking root in more ‘mainstream’ agriculture.

With more states enacting medicinal and adult recreational cannabis laws each year, health officials have increasingly warned about the potential hazards of products made from crops treated with certain chemicals. In particular, chemical pesticides have been identified as a threat to cannabis consumers’ health, with potential risks that can vary depending on whether products are eaten, smoked, vaped, or topically applied.

As such, cannabis has joined a broader conversation about the dangers of spraying the crops we grow. Just this month, health officials noted that current widely used pesticides can show up in popular food products at arguably unsafe levels, and are likely tied to the ongoing drop in environmentally critical bee populations. Read Full Article »

E. Coli on Romaine Lettuce Came from Neighboring Feedlot

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: In March of 2018, people began to fall ill from E. coli, but the FDA struggled to find the field responsible. It appeared to come from multiple fields of romaine lettuce and none of their existing models could explain the contamination. Research published in 2015 had foreseen the culprit: massive cattle feedlots. When the land is dry, the concentration of cattle in a small area make the dust, along with whatever is in that dust, airborne. The same phenomenon can also potentially spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Grazing cattle on pasture does not pose the same risk.

What Sparked An E. Coli Outbreak In Lettuce? Scientists Trace A Surprising Source
NPR – The Salt
by Dan Charles

Source: Peter Thoeny

The illnesses started appearing in late March. Here and there, across the country, people were checking themselves in to hospitals, sick from toxic E. coli bacteria. At least 200 people got sick. Five of them died.

Investigators quickly identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak, but have had trouble pinpointing the cause for months. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has a theory for how E. coli ended up on that lettuce. According to the FDA, it probably came from a large cattle feedlot at one end of a valley near Yuma, Ariz., which is one of the country’s biggest lettuce-growing areas.

The finding has put lettuce growers in Yuma in a tough spot. The feedlot has been their neighbor for many years. Some vegetable farmers are wondering whether they can still co-exist with all those cattle nearby. Read Full Article »