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Far Reaching Concepts

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Touch the Soil News #670 (photos courtesy of Sasaki) International architecture firm Sasaki, with offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Shanghai, China is looking to re-invent food and cities in a big way. The firm just unveiled plans for a 250 acre urban farm to be integrated into the city of Shanghai, China. Shanghai is the world’s largest metropolitan area of over 35 million people. This urban farm is intended to integrate the latest vertical and urban farming technologies. There will be algae farms, floating greenhouses, vertical walls and seed libraries. Farming models will include hydroponics and aquaponics (includes fish). The project, when completed, is intended to produce enough food for…

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Will Food – As a Social Enterprise – Catch On?

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Touch the Soil News #417 Philip Loo of George Town, Malaysia is roughly 8,500 miles from San Francisco. Philip believes most everyone can grow a portion of their food including protein. The way to do it is by learning some basics about aquaponics and then setting up an enterprise in your home. Loo calls his business Loo Urban Farm. He not only sells produce from his own aquaponic greenhouses, but offers workshops to learn how. His two-day workshop for ($250 USD) teaches you how to build a basic and commercial aquaponcis system that allows you grow pesticide free and non-toxic organic food. Loo also sells a home aquaponics system that…

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Kelp4Less Product News – Discovering Kelp’s Secrets

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Touch the Soil News #143 The use of Kelp as a plant growth supplement has been documented back to Roman times. In the early days, folks would scavenge the beach for kelp washed ashore and work it into their fields nearby. In rather recent times (1979) it was discovered that high levels of biostimulants were present in the cells of fresh kelp. These biostimulants later became known as Auxin and Cytokinin. The Auxin compound was found to cause increased root development. The Cytokinin compound produces greater flower initiation and augments cell division. Kelp is rich in amino acids and is 28 percent minerals by weight – including a large number…

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The Purchase of General Hydroponics by a Subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro (Part 2 of 2)

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Historically, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company focused on the do-it-yourself home gardener. Its move into hydroponics, via a young subsidiary called Hawthorne Gardening Company, means it is treading into new territory. Scotts is known for its Miracle-Gro, Ortho and Roundup brands. The Roundup is still owned by Monsanto, but the consumer version is marketed exclusively by Scotts. In conjunction with entering into hydroponics, Scotts is on a global goodwill mission to help sponsor more than 1,000 community gardens and green spaces in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. This corporate funding effort is branded GRO1000. This is a rather strange effort, considering Scott’s close ties with Monsanto and the product Roundup. Glyphosate, the…

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The Purchase of General Hydroponics by a Subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro (Part 1 of 2)

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The global focus on controlled environment agriculture includes hydroponics, a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. This form of production is one of the cornerstones of moving food production to urban settings. The practice of hydroponics has been successfully adapted to basil, tomatoes, herbs, strawberries and lettuce. Hydroponically raised food is no stranger to many of the grocery stores we shop at. At the heart of hydroponics is the nutrients put into the water solutions that feed the roots of plants. This is where General Hydroponics, one of the world’s leaders in supplying nutrients and water holding mediums in hydroponic settings, comes to the…

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Tilapia, the King of Aquaponics – Is There a Hidden Message for Home Growers, Urban Farmers and Community Gardeners?

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Legend has it that when Jesus was feeding the multitude, it was Tilapia that was offered. For different reasons, however, Tilapia is rapidly moving up the scale of importance in human food consumption. On a planet starved for inexpensive protein foods, the Tilapia species seems to fit the bill for both organic and industrial farming models. Tilapia is now the third most important fish in fish farming after carp and salmon. Gardening can go a long way towards basic sustenance in terms of vegetables and fruits. However, most people’s diets are also anchored on grains and meat proteins – two classes of foods that most gardeners are not conversant in.…

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Aquaponics – Reaching for New Heights in Food and Urban-Tech Farming

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Aquaponics is about symbiotic relationships in the production of food. Soil-less hydroponics uses the magic of plants growing in a water medium to cleanse the water. Once clean, the water is cycled into fish ponds or tanks where it assimilates the waste products of fish. When the fish water becomes polluted, it is cycled back to feed the plants. Over the past few years, aquaponics has become the focus of repurposing old warehouse buildings as the farm-scape for aquaponic food production. Indoor controlled environments allow for production year round. Much of the original research for this type of agriculture came from the New Alchemy Institute during the years 1971 to…

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