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Venezuela – When the World Doesn’t Need a Country

Touch the Soil News #946 (Feature photo – Venezuela Coat of Arms – CCA SA 4.0 International) Venezuela is in the news again – the country is starving. In this South American nation of 32 million people, 90 percent live in poverty. In 2017, studies have shown that the on average, Venezuelans have lost 24 lbs. of body weight last year. The nation, rich in oil resources, can sell enough at a price to sustain itself. The nation is trying to food-garden itself to prosperity with limited success. Back in the 70s, Venezuela was one of the wealthiest nations in Latin America. So what do you do when the world…

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Tops Friendly Market – Another Grocer Going into Bankruptcy

Touch the Soil News #945 (Feature photo – Tops Friendly Market – CCA SA 4.0 International) Tops Friendly Market in the Northeast is filing a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. This is not a liquidation, but an attempt to re-organize it’s roughly $723 million in debt and try to keep its doors open. If their plan works, they will emerge from the bankruptcy sometime in the future to keep on selling groceries. Tops Friendly Market has 169 stores and some 15,000 employees across three states. Earlier this month another much larger grocer – Winn Dixie Stores – also filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Winn Dixie has almost 500 stores and 41,000 employees.…

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Not Genetically Modified, but Genetically Altered

Touch the Soil News #944 (Feature photo – Pioneer Sign on GMO Field – photo courtesy of B. Gisin) The mega company DowDuPont, Inc. (the giant that came from merging Dow Chemical and Dupont) owns DuPont Pioneer. DuPont Pioneer is a seed company that specializes in hybrid and GMO altered seeds. DuPont Pioneer has created a newer process called CRISPR. This process does not insert a gene from another organism or plant, but simply alters the genetics of an existing plant – like making mushrooms that do not brown as fast. The USDA does not consider CRISPR as genetically modified – even though it is – and has given Dupont…

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Would You Buy a Pancakebot?

Touch the Soil News #943 (Feature photo – Pancake Art – Creative Commons CCO 1.) Universal Public Domain) Called the Pancakebot, it is the world’s first food printer that lays the batter on a hot plate in any shape that you want. Invented by civil engineer Miguel Valenzuela, he raised over $460,000 to help bring his idea into commercial reality. The invention allows you to upload pictures or create your own design. The basic price of the machine is $300. You can learn more at the following link: http://www.pancakebot.com/ Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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When the Rug is Pulled Out From Under

Touch the Soil News #942 (Feature photo – Winn-Dixie Grocery Store – CCA SA 4.0 International) Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is a 495 store grocery chain headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. The company is estimated to have 41,000 employees. With roots back to 1925, the grocery chain has had a tough time. In 2005, the company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy which allows the company to restructure and try to carry on. In 2011 Winn Dixie was purchased by Southeastern Grocers. Rumors have surfaced in the grocery industry that Winn-Dixie may be filing for bankruptcy again and possibly shuttering 200 stores. While we are all familiar with financial competition, is it not…

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Chicken Therapy

Touch the Soil News #941 (Feature photo – The Chicken Coop – CCA SA 2.0 Generic) Nature and farm animals can do what high tech cannot. A new scheme that introduces hen keeping to the elderly is gaining traction. The presence of the hens and their interaction with people is turning out to have a miraculous effect on the wellbeing of the elderly by reducing isolation and depression. The 70 senior citizens at Wood Green (a retirement community in Ireland) share their premises with 13 hens and 15 chicks. One 84 year-old resident gets up at 6:30 a.m. to clean out four chicken coups directly outside his bungalow. A non-profit…

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How Many Factory Farms Does it Take Before People Say It’s Enough?

Touch the Soil News #936 (Feature photo – Finishing Hogs – NRCS) Iowa is the state with the most factory farms – approximately 10,000 of them. A factory farm – or CAFO – is when thousands of animals are forced into confined spaces for growing prior to slaughter. According to a new report by Food & Water Watch, more than 22 billion gallons of manure are produced in Iowa each year – that’s almost 70 gallons for every person in America. Now, a coalition of 55 environmental, citizen and agricultural organizations are calling on the Iowa Assembly to support legislation for a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms. Of…

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Gotham Greens

Touch the Soil News #940 (Feature photo – Greenhouse Lettuce – CCA SA 2.0 Generic) Indoor agriculture is not an inexpensive proposition. Founded in 2011, Gotham Greens locates its urban indoor farming operations near large population centers – and has had success in selling its production. Gotham Greens made news recently, when the Chicago Tribune announced the company’s plans for a new 105,000 square-foot greenhouse in the Chicago area. The cost of $12,500,000 comes to a noticeable $120 per square foot. At present the company operates three indoor farms in the New York area: A 15,000 square foot facility that produces 100,000 lbs. of leafy greens a year. A 20,000…

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Where Oil, Coal and Nuclear Have Failed

Positive Future #74 (Feature photo – Many citizens of Rwanda have no electricity – CCA SA 2.0 Generic) According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) over 1.2 billion people (16 out of every 100 people) must live without electricity. Some 3 billion people don’t have sanitary cooking options and still use solid fuels (wood) to do their cooking (that’s 40 out of every 100 people around the world). The first-world solution of expensive and polluting coal, oil and nuclear, plus billion-dollar transmission lines – simply was not the ticket that included all of humanity. For the past seven years, a company named Mobisol (mobile solar) headquartered in Germany has been…

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Is There a Correlation?

Touch the Soil News #939 (Feature photo – Fight for $15 – CCA SA 2.0 Generic) QSR magazine – the voice of quick service restaurants – just reported that same store traffic through the nation’s restaurants in January 2018 was down a significant 3 percent from January 2017. In other news, fast food workers were protesting in Kansas City on Monday trying to bring into the national debate the problems of low wages. Now, from a banking perspective, it’s all about cash flow. Is there a correlation between the recent protests for higher wages – people unable to afford basics – and the weak national cash flows that contributed to…

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