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Village Farms – The Changing Face of Fresh Produce

Touch the Soil News #170 Village Farms is one of the world’s largest greenhouse fresh-produce operations with some 250 acres of greenhouses under food production – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. CEO Mike DeGiglio in a recent video explains that in the 1980’s only 1 percent of retail tomatoes came from greenhouses. Today roughly 80 percent of retail tomatoes come from greenhouses. Awsome is the reaction to these super-size greenhouses – (photo courtesy of village farms) Village farms boasts that its produce ripens on the vine longer, allowing natural sugars to develop and that they have the shortest times from hand-harvest to grocery store. Recently, Mike DeGiglio was interviewed in…

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Green Sense Farms – Deeper Insight to the Change Coming

Touch the Soil News # 133 When it comes to raising food, most farmers think about things like land, tractors, harvesting equipment and chemicals. For some crops this may not change much. For other crops, particularly lettuces, micro-greens and herbs, the future may be totally different. Green Sense farms, working with Royal Phillips – a global leader in lighting – is taking a completely different approach. Capital expenditures for setting up farming include specialized LED lighting, a large indoor facility, growing towers and a physical location that puts them within 100 miles of 20 million people. Photo courtesy of Green Sense Farms – from left to right Rob Schlyer -…

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Food Resilience – Are the Challenges to Food Calling for a Spiritual Awakening?

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Ten years ago, food resilience focused on sustainably- produced foods, with discussions focusing on organic versus chemical farming. Since that time, the world has changed in two ways – 850 million more people at the dinner table and an increase in the number of shocks that the production of food encounters. With this background, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) provides an explanation of food resilience: “Resilience is the capacity that ensures adverse stressors and shocks do not have long-lasting adverse development effects.” This must mean that negative shocks to food must be overcome in the near term and not allowed to fester for extended periods of time. The focus…

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Palm Oil – A Food Goliath Run Amok (Part 1 of 2)

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Palm oil trees produce more cooking and food oil per acre than any other major oilseed crop – and at low prices. Demand for palm oil comes from folks around the globe moving up the food chain (China) and here in the U.S. as a replacement for oils that contain trans-fats. Palm oil I is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, a tree that a requires a tropical climate – hence the drive to destroy rainforests.  Approximately 50 percent of the goods we use every day in the United States contain palm oil. Following is a sampling of the products (and companies) using palm oil (source: Friends…

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Agricultural Technology – The Dollars Are In Philosophical Alignment

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The topic of agricultural technology is almost guaranteed to be prefaced with the statement that it is all about feeding the burgeoning population. In the world today, however, it is easy to confuse the primary goal of making money with practices that are best for people and the planet. One thing we do know is that a tsunami of capital is looking to capitalize on a world of growing food insecurity.  Agricultural technology is one of those venues which have attracted the attention of big dollars. Recently, Western Growers Association (WGA) and SVG Partners (a venture capital firm) announced a plan to identify and speed up agricultural technology. WGA members…

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Climate Smart Agriculture – A New Concept and Tools for Gardeners

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Awareness of climate smart agriculture is growing around the world – in some cases ahead of the U.S. When a small subsistence farmer in Kenya buys a bag of seeds, he can begin practicing climate-smart agriculture. Inside the seed bag is a scratch card with code, which the farmer can text to ACRE (Agriculture Climate Risk Enterprise). It’s a mini replanting insurance program. For a fee, deducted automatically via a mobile phone-based money transfer service, the farm will be monitored by satellite for 21 days. If germination fails due to drought, the farmer receives the full cost of the seeds via mobile transfer. Small farmers, researchers and other local partners…

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