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The Battle to Control What We Think About Food

SpinningFood

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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Village Farms – The Changing Face of Fresh Produce

Photo courtesy of Village Farms

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

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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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The Lettuce Robot Has Arrived

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Touch the Soil News # 132 The most labor intensive crop is lettuce. One of the most labor intensive tasks in lettuce farming is thinning the lettuce plants early in the season. Once the lettuce takes stand, thinning gives the remaining lettuce plants room to grow and mature to market-size lettuce heads. Advanced Lettuce-thinning Robot Entrepreneur Jorge Heraud, from Salinas Valley in California founded Blue River Technology. The company invented what they call the LettuceBot. The LettuceBot can thin lettuce plants automatically and without labor. Consider that at the present, it takes about 50 farm laborers two days to thin a 15-acre lettuce field. The LettuceBot, using cutting edge robots,…

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Is the Time Coming to Think Big?

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Touch the Soil News # 129 We’ve all seen news of drought stricken third world countries. Heck, over 2 billion people today lack access to sufficient water for even personal and drinking water needs. In the U.S., pumping technology has afforded present generations the opportunity to side-step severe water shortages, for now. Hidden below the surface pumps are underground water aquifers that are dropping faster than they are recharging. California is in a fight for its life, The combination of drought and over-pumping have brought water austerity to one of the most economically developed regions in the world. And California is not alone. Ogallala Aquifer located in the central part…

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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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