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The $84 trillion Gorilla – How it Jostles Food and Access to Food

Touch the Soil News #224 Peter Puffin and Freddie Frog team up again with Banker Bob. This time to explore one of the most pervasive influences on modern life and wrestle with questions that may be destined for future public debate. Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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23.5 Million Reasons to Rethink the Economy

Touch the Soil News #222 The following news piece is partly a satire on the present economic system using a serious food issue as the point of discussion. This is not a criticism of America, as much as it is poking fun at economic dilemmas that really require new thinking and approaches. If there is insufficient purchasing power in the hands of Americans, they can be starving and the grocery stores will still move out of town. This has become a big issue at the USDA, the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Health and Human Services. They have identified more than 23.5 million people who live in food deserts. A…

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The Battle to Control What We Think About Food

Touch the Soil News #219 We’ve all heard the expression putting a “Spin” on information or truth. The “spin” essentially means that by turning and twisting information, you can drop the truth and add false ingredients. We were particularly interested in a report that just came out called “Spinning Food.” The upshot of the report is that Industrial food companies create “Front Groups” that look like legitimate enterprises, but are used to put a “Spin” on the story of food. The authors of the report include Kari Hamerschlag, Anna Lappe and Stacy Malkan with support from Friends of the Earth. Cover of the special Spinning Food report (courtesy of Friends…

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Growing Food – Help for War Veterans Getting Back to Normal

Touch the Soil News # 156 When a good idea hatches, it usually takes a little time for the word to get out and for a vision to take form. Back in 2012, U.S. Marine veteran Chris Brown co-founded Growing Veterans – an organization that combines sustainable farming with helping veterans re-establish some semblance of a normal life. Recently, Growing Veterans have been making news and the word is getting out. Brown, with three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, knows of the injuries veterans come home with that are physical and mental – that can lead to isolation, substance abuse, unemployment and even suicide. Turning attention to growing food and…

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Can you Name the Largest Food Company in the World? (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 145 Do you know who the world’s largest food company is? Many of us have not heard of this company because it is privately held and does not hit the news often. In fact, it is the largest privately held company in the United States. This does not mean that this company’s role in our food is as obscure as its name. It is a food behemoth that dominates all roads between the world’s farms and your dinner plate. The company’s vision is to be the global leader in nourishing people. Following are some facts of this company: This company has more descendants that are…

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Organics by the Numbers – Is it Time to Consider a Career as an Organic Farmer?

Touch the Soil News # 144 The Organic Trade Association (OTA) represents over 6,500 organic businesses across all 50 states. Members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, retailers and others. The OTA recently reported on the current state of Organics. “Our latest industry data show robust demand and great opportunity for the organic sector,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of OTA. Thanks to the work of the OTA, the following information is made available about organics in America. U.S. Organic Sales reached $39.1 billion in 2014, up 11.3% over 2013. (see Info Graphic #1 below) Organic non-food sales reached $3.2 billion in 2014, up…

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What Are Food Hubs? Can They Help You Become A Successful Local Farmer? (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 140 A few years back while visiting La Montanita Food Cooperative in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we learned about local food hubs. The Co-op had asked its 8,000 members about where the Co-op should source its food. The message came back loud and clear – source food locally and regionally. The Co-op was interested in not only fresh and local, but protecting and developing the areas food shed. A food shed strives to enhance the production, processing, delivery and consumption of food within a regional geographic area. A food shed normally incorporates enough area (and customers) to support diverse food production and processing. To fulfill their…

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The Nation’s Top 100 Restaurants – Can You Find Your Favorites? (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 138 Here are restaurants #50 to #1. Surprising is the Starbuck’s Coffee is the nation’s #2 restaurant. Restaurants #50 to #26 #50) Steak ‘n Shake                        $952,000,000 #49 Bob Evans                                 $959,900,000 #48 Bojangle’s                                  $1,000,000,000 (one $billion) #47 Culver’s                                       $1,000,000,000 #46 Waffle House                             $1,100,000,000 #45 Ruby Tuesday                            $1,200,000,000 #44 Five Guys Burgers n’ Fries      $1,200,000,000 #43 Wawa                                          $1,200,000,000 #42 Zaxby’s                                       $1,300,000,000 $41 Red Robin                                  $1,400,000,000 #40 Carl’s Jr.                                    $1,500,000,000 #39 LongHorn Steakhouse            $1,500,000,000 #38 Golden Corral Buffet               $1,700,000,000 #37 Jimmy Johns’s                          $1,800,000,000 #36 TGI Fridays                               $1,800,000,000 35 The Cheesecake Factory            $1,800,000,000 #34 Whataburger                             $1,800,000,000 #33 Texas Roadhouse                     $1,900,000,000 #32 Hardee’s                                      $2,100,000,000 #31 7-Eleven stores                           $2,100,000,000 #30 Cracker Barrel Country Store $2,100,000,000 #29 Panda…

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News Roundup – Food-Chain News You Might Have Missed

Touch the Soil News # 134 Kraft-Heinz Merger, Now a Reality The much publicized merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is now completed according to a recent company press release. Together, the two companies form the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The Company’s immediate focus will be on integrating the two businesses, establishing a new organizational structure and delivering its 2015 financial objectives. Unfortunately for the employees, stockholders have high expectations, some of which will be funded by eliminating jobs. Estimated are 7,000 job cuts at Heinz and as yet an undetermined number at Kraft. Following is a short…

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Besides the Farmers, What Other Costs Are in Our Food Dollar?

Touch the Soil News # 126 The USDA just released a corrected and updated estimate of where pieces of the food dollar go.  The USDA data on this report is always a couple of years behind, thus represented here by 2013 numbers. Info graphic #1 below shows how many pennies out of each dollar go to the respective pieces of the food chain. Farm Production, the actual money that goes into producing food, is 10.5 cents. For clarification, grocery stores fall under Retail Costs and restaurants fall under Food Services. When one studies Info graphic #1, the food chain has become so complex and expensive that it is no wonder…

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