Promoting Economic Justice for Family-Scale Farming
News From the Cornucopia Institute
FEBRUARY 20, 2016
40 Years of Research: Organic Farming Can Feed the World
Source: Suzie’s Farm
Washington State University researchers looked at 40 years of scientific research comparing organic and conventional agriculture and concluded that organic agriculture can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment, and be safer for farm workers. The review study, “Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century,” reports that organic farms can out-produce their conventional counterparts in the increasingly common severe drought conditions. Consumers are willing to pay higher prices to organic farmers for their efforts to avoid externalized costs like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Co-authors Reganold and Wachter recommend policy changes to encourage organic agriculture.
A new meta-analysis of 196 studies on milk and 67 studies on meat reports that organic milk and meat contain 50 percent higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than conventional meat and milk. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, lower the risk of heart disease, improve cholesterol, and more. The higher levels of omega-3 in organic meat and milk are due to the cows grazing on pasture, per federal regulations. Most conventional dairy and meat cows spend their lives indoors, eating grain. Charles Benbrook, one of the study’s authors, notes, “It’s not something magical about organic. It’s about what the animals are being fed.”
TPP: Bad News for Farmers, Consumers, and the Environment
Source: US Embassy
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest trade deal in history, was signed in New Zealand this month, among concerns continuing to mount in the U.S. and elsewhere. Under provisions in the existing North American Free Trade Agreement, TransCanada is seeking $15 billion in damages over the Obama Administration’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline. TPP would open the door for further corporate lawsuits against governments. The Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy criticizes further negative implications for farmers and ranchers, consumer labeling, food safety, and other state and local policies supporting local food and energy systems. You can contact your Congress members to share your concerns here.
Although biotech proponents insist that planting genetically engineered crops decreases the need for herbicides, the introduction of Roundup Ready crops in 1996 resulted in farmers spraying 20 times more glyphosate on U.S. fields, and 15 times more glyphosate worldwide. Between 1974 and 2014, over 3.5 billion pounds of glyphosate was applied in the U.S., two-thirds of it between 2004 and 2014. These statistics from a study by Charles Benbrook, published in Environmental Sciences Europe, are especially poignant in light of the World Health Organization’s 2015 finding that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Benbrook hopes his work will stimulate more research and assist with early detection of problems from glyphosate exposure.
Join Cornucopia’s Board and Staff in Illinois:
Bushel & Peck’s Local Market
Meet at Bushel & Peck’s Local Market in Beloit, Wisconsin from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. for an evening of networking and advocacy with Cornucopia’s board of directors and staff. Attendees will enjoy farmer-sourced appetizers and libation. Cornucopia’s cofounder, Mark Kastel, will discuss how, together, we can defend the authenticity of our food supply. Come at 3:00 p.m. to tour a biodynamic vegetable farm with Angelic Organics Learning Center in nearby Caledonia, Illinois. Bring the whole family, and spend time with friendly livestock, including new goat kids! Please RSVP.
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The Cornucopia Institute
is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to family farmers, consumers, stakeholders involved in the good food movement, and the media.