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Could Feeding the World Be Hard on the Planet?

Touch the Soil News #583 This is a disconcerting thought at best. But are there any indicators that the scope of agriculture is overwhelming the eco-systems that sustain the world? In order to keep up with global demand for just cooking oil, tens of thousands of acres of a shrinking area of forests are being further deforested for palm oil every year. Repurposing land into farmland is the driving cause of global deforestation – a primary source of oxygen and biodiversity. Last week in Cancun, Mexico, representatives of 167 nations (195 total nations in the world) met to discuss, among other things, agriculture’s consumption (destroying) of global biodiversity. In short,…

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Food and Cities – This is Way Out!! (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #407 As we covered in Part 1, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs sponsored the 140 page report called: GROWING FOOD FOR GROWING CITIES – Transforming Food Systems in an Urbanizing World. After reviewing much data and providing much dialogue, the report issued its recommendations on what should be done about global food and agriculture. As you will see, many of the recommendations require action by Congress. Do you think Congress should follow the lead of this “think tank” material? The report had four (4) broad recommendations: Develop, implement, and strengthen policies for global food security. Included were recommendations that the U.S. Congress pass authorizing legislation…

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Food and Cities – This is Way Out!! (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #406 “Think Tanks,” even though they have been around for decades do what they say they do – thinking – but for who? Consider the complexities of the world and massive amounts of information. Individual politicians not as proficient at assembling and digesting volumes of data into some kind of policy or direction. Hence the power of Think Tanks to provide solutions to politicians. A constant question is what sort of agendas are weaved into “think tank” material? Recently, a powerful policy organization (think tank) – The Chicago Council on Global Affairs – sponsored the coming together of 23 people – all highly educated and experienced in…

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The Dow & Dupont Merger – Are the Giants Faltering?

Touch the Soil News #254 When investors want more money, Katy bar the door. The recent merger announcement by two of the world’s largest farm chemical companies suggests that it was masterminded by behind-the-scenes investors pushing for an unusual merger and subsequent restructure into three (3) companies. Both Dow and Dupont are giants in the farm chemical industries (chemical factory painting by Carsten Eggers) So who are the biggest stockholders in the two companies? Actually they are the same. They are not individuals, but two (2) different investment management firms. The first is Blackrock, Inc. which owns 6.3 percent of Dupont and 5.5 percent of Dow. The Vanguard Group owns…

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What Will $31 Million Buy You in China? An Animal Cloning Factory

Touch the Soil News #243 Writing news about the food chain is difficult these days because there seem to be no boundaries – when it comes to food and technology. Chinese biotechnology firm Boyalife and South Korea’s Sooam Biotech are teaming up to create an industrial-scale cloning facility in Tianjin, China. Tianjin is one of the world’s largest cities with a population in excess of 15 million. The enterprise has received the blessings of the Chinese government and a lot of cursing in Chinese social media. One such social media snippet called for the feeding of cloned beef to Chinese officials and their families for at least 10 years before…

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