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50,000 Greenhouses in Egyptian Desert?

Touch the Soil News #788 (Feature photo – Qattara Depression in Egypt – cheesy42 CC SA 2.0) In Northern Egypt is the Qattara Depression – a 7,500 square mile (4.8 million acres) desert. However, Egypt is teaming up with South Korea to create what they call an agricultural city in this desert area. The kicker is that the city is planned to be over 300,000 acres. The project will have modern housing and some 50,000 greenhouses, solar power plants and desalination plants to facilitate agricultural production. Egypt will use South Korean technology and oversight to build out the infrastructure of what they call the Integrated Agricultural City. At a cost…

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The Foodwall – Tech is Getting Smarter

Touch the Soil News #782 (Feature photo courtesy of Foodwall) Our friends from down under are learning about water efficiency and food gardening efficiency using information and technology. Marc Noyce, CEO of Foodwall is from Melbourne, Australia. A city of almost 5 million people, the city has done what other cities around the world do. They pave the world’s most fertile farmland for urban growth. Noyce decided he wanted to make a difference in lowering the barriers to home food gardening and invented what he calls the Foodwall (see photo above). Noyce discovered innovations as relates to watering, automation and physical growing structures that can triple the growing space. The…

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Indoor Farm Tech Progress Is Amazing

Touch the Soil News #747 (The two rooftop greenhouses of Lufa Farms – photos courtesy of Lufa Farms) The cost of farming indoors is no small endeavor – cost of facilities, power costs, vertical frameworks, lighting and technology, harvesting, packing and marketing. Undaunted by the challenges, there is hardly a day that goes by that a story doesn’t come across our desks about young people with degrees in engineering, computer technology, sales and finance that want to get into the food business – Lufa Farms is one of those examples and illustrates how far indoor tech farming has come. http://corpo.lufa.com/en/index.html Organized in 2011, Lufa Farms is pushing the envelope of…

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Robotics Entering the Food Chain

Touch the Soil News #480 (feature photo Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias GNU Free License) The food chain is one of the backbones of the America economy, representing 20 million workers (almost 12 percent of the American workforce). The entrance of robotics in the food chain is as much driven by financial reasons as it is technology reasons. Why would the nation’s food chain employ you or your neighbor, if the corporations that dominate the food chain can lower labor costs through robotic deployment? The critical question here is economics and not technology. For example, if robotics can cut out 10 percent of the nation’s labor costs, the overall economy…

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Analyze Food – With an Affordable Molecular Sensor

Touch the Soil News #394 How would you like to know – on the spot – how much fat is in a salad dressing, how much sugar is in a particular fruit, get nutritional facts about dairy products? A company called Consumer Physics has invented the SCIO, a small hand-held molecular scanner that lets you test everything around you including your food (photo courtesy of Consumer Physics). Priced at $249, SCIO’s Website: https://www.consumerphysics.com/myscio/scio is presently taking pre-orders for their new invention which will be compatible with newer IPhones. Following is the company’s promotional video that shows how the device works: Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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A Global First – Sky Urban Vertical Farming System

Touch the Soil News #265 Singapore entrepreneur Mr. Jack Ng, recently won the world’s top design prize ($110,000 USD) from INDEX – a design award program focused on creating a better world through design. Mr. Jack Ng has an interesting story. He was operating a construction and engineering enterprise out of a factory in Singapore. He had many foreign workers from India, China and Bangladesh – many of which were farmers in their home countries. When Ng discovered many of the workers were homesick, he invited them to farm in an unused space behind the factory. It brought the workers together and they shared what they grew. Mr. Jack Ng…

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Synthetic Eggs, Milk & Beef – the “Capital” Tug of War

Touch the Soil News #231 A theme we’ve identified in the past is the over-capitalization of the financial markets. Said in another way, there are more dollars looking for an investment return than there are investment opportunities. This over-abundance of investment capital is fueled by dollars flowing into pension plans, investment channels and the resurgence of bank growth. When dollars are competing heavily for investments with “profit” potential, we can almost count on economic cannibalism. An investment dollar cares not if its end product or service displaces an existing product or service. The moral of the story is that new investment dollars often look to shove old investment dollars out…

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Sundrop Farms’ Greenhouses Boggle the Imagination

Touch the Soil News #210 While the information doesn’t reach mainstream American news, the folks down under (Port Augusta, Australia) are engaged in a big project. Sundrop Farms – a hydroponic greenhouse venture – is in the midst of building a 49.4 acre complex of greenhouses. Sundrop Farms has reached an agreement with Australian supermarket chain “Coles” to supply locally grown, sustainably produced affordable produce. Coles has 750 retail outlets across Australia. Inside a Sundrop Farm tomato greenhouse – the new greenhouses will cover about 2.2 million square feet (photo courtesy of Sundrop Farms) The farming project, called the Port Augusta project, does not utilize the traditional farming cornerstones of…

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The Fastest Growing (Small) Food Companies in America (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #189 Thanks to research from Inc. 5000, we have some insights into the 10 fastest growing food companies and the trends they are setting. It’s a refreshing view in that smaller enterprises are entering the food chain. You don’t need to be a “farmer” per se to improve and diversify the food chain. Following are the first 5. logo courtesy of the Good Bean Company The Good Bean. This is a snack food company dedicated to developing and distributing healthy and innovative bean-based snacks. Their product line includes bean chips, chickpea snacks, and fruit and no-nut bars. The California company, while small, has had a 2,200…

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When it Comes to Food – The Three Big Ominous Shadows Humanity Faces (Part 1 of 3)

Touch the Soil News # 161 An old wisdom says big future events cast big shadows in the present. This is not trying to predict the future, but simply looking at the shadows showing up on the paths humanity has elected to travel upon. If we don’t like the shadows, humanity can choose a different path if it so chooses. One of the difficulties that arise when detecting big shadows is what to do about them. Since our readership is made up of folks with diverse backgrounds, experience and knowledge, we’ll just leave answering that question to our readers. As we present the three dilemmas, we could not assess which…

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