Posted on

Hang in there London

London_City_Hall

Touch the Soil News #636 (feature photo – London City Hall – CC SA 2.0) The number one goal of most everyone that reads this news piece is to translate their work ethic and skills into dollars. We must connect into the mainstream flows of finance – which are what prop up Capitalism – through our jobs. So when it comes to people going hungry – when putting aside minor reasons – the basic problem is jobs and/or the low compensation of jobs. So, now that we’ve identified what most everyone knows already, it is interesting to see what is happening in London. London is one of the oldest capitalistic…

Read more

Posted on

Whole Foods Retracting?

Whole_Foods_Markham_Canada

Touch the Soil News #622 (feature photo – CC SA 4.0) According to Whole Foods Market, it is operating 469 stores and has over 87,000 employees. The long term goal of Whole Foods Market has been to expand to 1,200 stores – they’ve got a long way to go. Unfortunately, sales have slowed dramatically. Whole Foods Market plans to open six stores this quarter, but shutter 9 stores for a net decrease of 3 stores. The company has had to endure six straight quarters of declining same-store sales. The reasons for Whole Foods Market in losing wind in its sails are complex – heavy competition from majors like Kroger and…

Read more

Posted on

How Is Your Child-Rearing Budget?

2015-crcinfographic

Touch the Soil News #592 What will it cost to raise a child – born in 2015 – through the age of 17? The USDA reports that the cost is an average of $233,610. That cost applies to married couple with two children that has before tax income between $59,200 and $107,400. For wealthier families with incomes over $107,400 expenditures can reach almost $400,000 to raise a child through age 17. For less affluent couples with incomes of $59,200 or less, the cost for raising a child through age 17 is $158,600. Not included in these costs is the cost of college. The USDA estimates that the annual cost of…

Read more

Posted on

Can the World Feed Itself Today?

logo

Touch the Soil News #502 Can the world feed itself in the future? The world is full of theorists who theoretically prove that the planet can feed 9 billion people. However, are we asking the wrong question? A more appropriate question is whether the world can feed itself today – never mind the future. A new report (the Foresight Report on Food Systems and Diets) from a special United Nations committee focuses on where we are today. In short, forget tomorrow, the challenges are here today. Here are some of the highlights coming out of the report: Three (3) billion people (40 percent of the world’s peoples) have diets that…

Read more

Posted on

The External Tentacles on American Agriculture

whgroup

Touch the Soil News #501 Few folks realize that global trade agreements mean that foreign interests can own and operate agricultural enterprises in America the same as Americans. Back in 2013, the world’s largest pork processing company – Smithfield Foods – was purchased by Chinese state-supported company Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. for $14 billion. Brands such as Smithfield, Nathan’s, Armour and Farmland are icons in America – but are Chinese owned. Today, Smithfield has over 50,000 employees in the U.S., Mexico and 10 European countries. The company also owns the world’s largest slaughterhouse and meat-processing plan in the world located in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Overall, the company processes over…

Read more

Posted on

A Public Edible Fruit Park?

feature

Touch the Soil News #468 We have heard of gleaning clubs that care and harvest fruit trees in neighborhoods and we have heard of Web sites that show you where fruit trees are located in a city. But an emerging faction in the food security movement has come to reality in West Seattle – Puget Ridge Edible Park. Locals care for the park which is located in a food desert. The USDA defines a food desert as a low-income census tract where at least 33 percent of the tract’s population has low access to a supermarket or grocery store. The Puget Ridge Edible Park (2/3 of an acre) hosts heritage…

Read more

Posted on

What Africa Can Teach the World About Food?

ResizedImage600600-15

Touch the Soil News #440 A few years back, an individual with a degree in economics was discussing farm economics with Touch the Soil. His conclusion was rather sobering: “Good farm economics is hundreds of people farming a thousand acres. Poor economics is one farmer farming several thousand acres.” Fast forward to Nairobi – the largest city in Kenya, Africa – some 6.5 million people in the metro area – where almost 50 percent of the population lives in poverty. The city recently passed an initiative to foster urban agriculture not only for its production, but potential in creating employment and solving health problems. Interestingly, Nairobi city has a director…

Read more

Posted on

Who do you trust – Local Food, Industrial Food, Big Government?

Arizona-StateSeal_svg

Touch the Soil News #336 A low lying but steady mega-trend in America is the liberalization of urban food and urban farming. The state of Arizona is considering a law that would allow schools to buy produce from community gardeners which would be exempt from more stringent health requirements. The exemption already applies to preschools and child-care facilities, some of which are growing and serving their own vegetables. The Seal of the State of Arizona reflects the historic importance of agriculture – de-regulating urban food is a big step. Arizona Senate Bill 1004 – which is called the Garden Produce Regulatory Exemption – exempts community gardeners and schools from the…

Read more

Posted on

A City’s Approach to Food is Dynamite on Industrial Food

Victoria_BC_COA

Touch the Soil News #319 The action is taking place in Victoria, British Columbia – a picturesque city of some 85,000 people on the Puget Sound on Vancouver Island. As the provincial capital of British Columbia, Victoria is part of a much larger urban metropolis of 350,000. Mainstream agriculture in Canada has the full blessings of the national government when it comes to using pesticides, GMOs that require the use of pesticides and all other chemicals deemed safe for human consumption. Recently, the Times Colonist – a newspaper in Victoria – reported on news that the City Council wants to help promote urban farming and food close to home. The…

Read more

Posted on

Affordability of Food – A Game-Changing Debate

Landscape

Touch the Soil News #312 Food is one of the primary basics of human survival. It is not like a luxury item. However, to get to food, most everyone must first get to dollars. The financial fevers of modern times and unbridled competition for dollars (creating volatility) can lead to some pretty wild whiplashes. An example of a whiplash would be the roughly 50 million Americans who are presently food insecure. The voices of concern about food’s affordability have never been so frequent. Back in 1948, the United Nations passed a resolution that essentially said access to food of a quality and quantity necessary to sustain good health is a…

Read more