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.

Diversity in Bee Species Necessary for Thorough Pollination

March 9th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: While we often hear about honeybee colony collapse and the death of wild bees, this new study shows that more species of bees are needed to pollinate a larger area than scientists previously thought. The “mono-crop mindset” has long included a simplified notion of how wildlife and crops interact, and honeybee services are often sold to provide pollination for farmers. But, from an overall view of the real world, where widespread pollination is required, it turns out that every species of wild bee is likewise needed. You can help wild bees by buying organic—organic farmers do not use pesticides, like neonics, known to be deadly to bees.

The more kinds of bees, the better for humans
Science Daily
Source: Rutgers University

Study of 48 farms in two states shows abundance of species means lots of pollination

Source: Shannan Mortimer

The larger an area, the more species of wild bees are needed to pollinate crops, a Rutgers University study shows.

The findings appear today in the journal Science.

Many controlled ecological experiments have shown increased pollination results from having more species, but the Rutgers-led study is one of the first to confirm that increase in nature. The researchers observed, collected and identified more than 100 species of wild bees pollinating crop flowers on 48 farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over several years. More than half (55) of these species were needed for pollination at one or more farms in one or more years. Read Full Article »

Hedgerows are Sustainable and Safe

March 8th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Hedgerows, or biodiversity plantings, increase habitat for wildlife like pollinators and insects that prey on crop pests, prevent soil erosion, and help prevent agricultural runoff. This study by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis shows that these strips of bushes, trees, and plants at the edges of fields are too narrow to harbor disease vectors like rodents. Organic farmers commonly employ hedgerows on their farms. The allowance of this practice in the Food Safety Modernization Act, being implemented by the FDA, was a hard fought victory.

Good news for hedgerows: No effects on food safety in the field
UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Source: Peter Birch

Hedgerows enhance wildlife abundance and diversity around farmland without contributing to food safety problems in field crops, according to a new study published by a team of University of California researchers. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis study documented that field edge plantings around farms are generally too narrow relative to the surrounding landscape to be a source of rodents and foodborne pathogens.

“This study is particularly pertinent right now when FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is calling for farmers to co-manage wildlife and agriculture, instead of clear cutting wild habitat around their crops,” said co-author Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in the Sacramento Valley. “Our paper provides support for this ruling, showing that the presence of hedgerows does increase wildlife diversity, but does not increase wildlife intrusion into the fields and, more importantly, does not increase the prevalence of animals carrying foodborne pathogens.” Read Full Article »

Organic Farmers Protest the USDA’s Attempts to Redefine ‘Organic’

March 8th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Farmers across the country have rallied to protest soil-less production, livestock confinement practices, and fraudulent organic grain imports by outfits that continue to label their products ‘organic’ with the tacit approval of the National Organic Standards Board and the USDA. As our Senior Scientist Dr. Linley Dixon states at the beginning of this video, “The frustrating thing…is that organic policy makers don’t know what ‘organic’ is anymore.” Watch the video to find out what real organic farmers are doing about it.
(Note: This video contains brief language which may be objectionable to some viewers)

The Rallies to Protect Organic
by The Real Organic Project

Organic farmer David Chapman describes the efforts by farmers and eaters across the country to protect the integrity of the organic seal from corporate interests seeking to water down the standards and redefine what it means to be organic. Read Full Article »

GMO Corn, with Attendant Pesticides, is Now Vermont’s Top Crop

March 7th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Like the rest of the country, Vermont has seen incredible rises in the use of pesticides, including glyphosate, on its farms. The state agriculture agency claims to lack the funds to better regulate pesticides in use or study new ones, while the agency’s recently released fact sheet on glyphosate sounds like it came from Monsanto itself. Organic agriculture prohibits the use of genetically engineered organisms and synthetic pesticides.

Michael Colby: GMO corn to blame for soaring pesticide use
VT Digger

Michael Colby,
Regeneration Vermont

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Michael Colby, who is a writer and maple syrup producer living in Walden. the former editor of the Food & Water Journal, and the co-founder, along with Will Allen and Kate Duesterberg, of Regeneration Vermont.

Ending its three-year stall on publishing statewide pesticide usage data, Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets finally released the information in January in response to a public records request. The newly released data covers the years 2014-2016, and it shows a dramatic increase in pesticide use on Vermont’s dairy farms, particularly when it comes to managing GMO cornfields. The use of glyphosate, for example, more than doubled in those three years, while overall corn-related pesticide use rose 27 percent.

GMO corn is now grown on more than 92,000 acres in Vermont, making it – by far – the state’s number one crop. And all of it is being grown for the state’s 135,000 cows, mostly now confined as the large, mega-dairy model increasingly takes over, seen most dramatically in Franklin and Addison counties, where “farms” are now warehousing thousands of cows. Read Full Article »

Farmers in India Laud State Restrictions of Glyphosate

March 7th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has restricted the use of glyphosate and other herbicides to safeguard soil microbial activity, water, and human health. The new rules will also curtail the illegal production of genetically engineered herbicide tolerant (HT) cotton, which has not been approved for commercial use.

‘Threat to crops and carcinogenic’: Farmers welcome move to restrict glyphosate use
The News Minute

Source: Santanu Vasant

he AP government’s order restricting the use of herbicides will also check the illegal use of BT cotton.

In a significant move to prevent the indiscriminate use of herbicides, the Andhra Pradesh Government has restricted the use of herbicides, especially glyphosate, in agriculture.

The order was passed after the Special Commissioner of Agriculture of the state, in a letter to the government, pointed out that “the injudicious use of herbicides particularly non-selective herbicides like glyphosate in agricultural and horticultural ecosystems leads to serious implications in many cultivated crops in Andhra Pradesh.”

According to the order, the herbicides cannot be used in any of the crops in the Kharif season, i.e. June to November. The approval of the Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee is mandatory to recommend/procure/store/use any agro chemical, as per the Insecticide Act, 1968.

The herbicides specified in the order can be used in non-cropped areas, or during the months of December to May, but only with specific recommendations by authorised personnel. Read Full Article »

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Ph: 608-625-2000