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Fossil Fuels – Is the Writing on the Wall?

Positive Future #4 (Feature photo – Norges Bank – photo in the public domain) What is your take on fossil fuels? We know that it’s permeation into our culture is extensive, particularly in agriculture and the food chain. However, are fossil fuels headed towards extinction? One way to figure out what is happening is to follow the money trail – that is the number of investment funds exiting fossil fuel stocks and bonds. Investments funds controlling some $5.5 trillion in investments have either divested or are in the process of divesting their portfolios of fossil fuel investments. That number is about to grow by another $ 1 trillion as Norges…

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Seedling Farm – Quiet Social Revolution

Touch the Soil News #865 (Feature photo – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) The South Dallas area of Dallas, Texas is known for its poverty and lack of access to healthy food. It is considered one of the largest food deserts in the U.S. Folks in the South Dallas area are trying to lift themselves up by the bootstraps through an urban farming initiative. Called the Seedling Farm, here is how it works: Meet with a seedling farm manager to discuss your situation and resources Select the best types of plants for your project The selected seeds will be started at the seedling farm until they are ready to replant. You…

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The Robots Are Coming

Touch the Soil News #864 (Feature photo – 1932 Robot – Bundesarchive, Bild 102-13018 / CC-BY-SA 3.0) While robotics has definite applications in our world, it is a mixed economic bag. The basic economic message for people is that you MUST translate your labor into dollars first and then (and only then) do you have purchasing power to sustain yourself. There has been no study done to prove that the employees needed to build robots are equal to the number of employees who lose jobs to robots. Those studies may well become the focal point of political issues in the near future. Until then, investors with an interest to eliminate…

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Bee One Third

Touch the Soil News #863 (Feature photo – Jack Stone with Bees – photo courtesy of Bee One Third) Brisbane is a large city down under in Australia – some 2.4 million people. But that does not mean it stifles creative change. Meet Jack Stone, sole owner and operator of Bee One Third. Over the past five years, Jack and a friend (Kat Skull) have built and installed 150 bee hives around the city. Overseeing the bee operations has now become a full time job for Jack. Bee One Third is an urban and regional beekeeping organization working to increase local bee populations and providing local honey. Jack recently came…

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Vet Veggies – Another Uplifting Story

Touch the Soil News #862 (Feature photo – Fresh Lettuce in a Shipping Container – courtesy of Freight Farms) Jerry Martin – a former Viet Nam vet – has started a hydroponic lettuce business that he hopes will be a model for veterans. Martin has adopted the “Freight Farms” model of a hydroponic farm enterprise inside a shipping container. The idea is to give an identity to the produce that it was raised by a veteran. So if you know of a veteran that wants to get into farming in the city, you can link them to:   https://www.vetveggies.com/home.html Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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Is Russian Ice Cream Better?

Is Russian Ice Cream Better?   Touch the Soil News #861 (Feature photo – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) We love ice cream in America, but the Chinese now consume more ice cream than the United States. Chinese ice cream consumption now stands at 4 liters per person. At approximately 2 lbs. per liter, China’s 1.4 billion people consume over 11 billion pounds of ice cream a year, a four-fold increase since 1996. The U.S. consumes about 8 billion pounds of ice cream a year. The Chinese, are familiar with the brands we are. The largest sellers of ice cream in China are Haagen-Dazs and Dairy Queen. Together, these two companies…

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Electric Bus Gets 1,100 miles On One Charge – Wow

Touch the Soil News #860 (Feature photo – Proterra Electric Bus – photo courtesy of Proterra Media Kit) While it doesn’t make headline news, there is an American Company that has been engineering “electric” buses. The company – Proterra – has now sold fully electric buses into 20 transit authorities in 30 cities around the nation. The buses have proven themselves by logging in over 3.3 million miles of service. Recently (see video below) Proterra broke world records by driving one of its buses for 1,100 miles on a single charge. To help things along, the Federal Transit Authority just announced a grant of $27.5 million. A total of 29…

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EnerGaia

Touch the Soil News #859 (Feature photo – Spirulina – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) Spirulina – or fast growing algae – seems to be popping up more frequently (see Touch the Soil news piece # 852). In the mega-metro of Bangkok (Thailand) some 15 million people are crowded around hundreds of square miles of buildings. The logistics of growing and getting food into a city like this is enormous. A newer agricultural startup called EnerGaia is now looking at all of the rooftop space in this city to grow spirulina – one of Earth’s oldest life forms. Spirulina is a fast growing blue-green algae with an estimated protein content of…

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Urban Agriculture Magazine at Your Fingertips

Touch the Soil News #858 (Feature photo – Small Farming Scene from Thousands of Years Ago – photo is in the Public Domain – the Yorck Project) One of the leading forces of change is an organization called the RUAF. The RUAF is a global partnership on sustainable urban agriculture and food systems. Virtually every place in the world is a potential location for a small agriculture food system. Having now published 33 issues of the Urban Agriculture Magazine, issue # 33 is now available online at: http://www.ruaf.org/publications/urban-agriculture-magazine-english-0 Following is an uplifting story from a few years back that illustrates the breadth of social issues that can be mitigated by…

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How the World is Embracing “Smart”

Touch the Soil News #857 (Feature photo – Aquaponic Setup – CCA SA 2.0 Generic Ryan Griffis) According to Plato, the fabled civilization of Atlantis was built around special waters, vegetation and food gardens. Now, from Berlin, Germany (a city of 3.7 million people), comes the idea of Roof Water Farming. By recycling rainwater from the roof through farming and fish farming, the water is cleaned and creates food right where you live. In short, the idea is to have building-integrated water treatment systems to irrigate and fertilize roof-top greenhouses. Water treatment will utilize aquaponics – a combination of plant and fish cultivation. For the complete story go to: http://www.roofwaterfarm.com/en/ueber/…

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