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Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville

Touch the Soil News #270 When we hear the term “collective” we often think of the old Soviet Union and its collective farms. However, here in the United States, the term has had a more positive re-birth. According to the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville, “collective” means working together to grow and share healthy food that helps cultivate healthy communities. The big difference is “collective” now means from the bottom up rather than autocratically from the top down. Founded in 2012, the enterprise operates under the umbrella of a larger non-profit called Virginia Organizing. This past year, the “Collective” produced over 17,000 lbs. of fresh vegetable and fruits. Everything was…

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Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan

Touch the Soil News #269 What started as the “organic” food movement of several decades ago has evolved far beyond organics. The food landscape is shaping up to be a key “proving ground” for social activism and re-designing economics. Over the last two years, with funding from the Commonwealth (State) of Massachusetts and a half dozen foundation funds, a game-changing study was just finished. Some150 people of diverse education and experience worked up a 424 page document designed to transform food in Massachusetts. Called the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, this study is set to become the policy and action guide for the entire food and farming sector in the…

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Picking Up What the Farm Leaves Behind

Touch the Soil News #268 What happens when six (6) recent college graduates – in fields not related to food – tackle food waste and attempt to re-invent the food chain? They create a company called Hungry Harvest and create a supply chain of food that is not cosmetically perfect – that would normally be trashed. Operating in the greater Washington D.C. and Baltimore metro areas, these young entrepreneurs are working to save a portion of the 6 billion pounds of fresh produce thrown away every year. Their supply comes from a network of farmers and food distributors who are at the decision making point on what produce qualifies for…

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Getting a Seat at the Dinner Table – Part 1

PeopleAtDinnerTable

Mention the industrial food system and you’ll stir emotions over GMOs, pesticides and farmland loss. While issues rage over how food is produced – and for good reason – who will have the privilege of sitting at the table to eat this food? The economy – of people, business, industry and politics – is organized around dollars. Food production and food purchases are a series of transactions virtually all of which are settled in dollars. The determining factor then, of who sits at the dinner table and where, is a function of who has dollars. There are two primary activities which determine who has dollars. The first activity, which we…

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