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China’s New Direct Link to America’s Agricultural Heartland

Touch the Soil News #785 (Feature photo – Mississippi River Barge – Public Domain) Most folks have never heard of Growmark. Growmark, headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, is the nation’s second largest agricultural cooperative. It has operations in more than 40 states and is owned by over 10,000 farmers. Established in 1927, Growmark helps its farmer-owners sell their grain – over 200 million bushels a year. Chances are high that Growmark is in a community in your state. So what is so special about Growmark? Besides being one of the world’s largest farmer cooperatives, Growmark recently established strategic ties with COFCO. COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation). COFCO is…

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

Touch the Soil News # 141 The growing development of food hubs is materially populated with not-for-profit visions that do not seek high returns, but primarily the cash flows necessary to keep the doors open. In Part 2 of this food hub coverage we’ll take a brief look at five (5) successful food hubs and their operations. Information about these food hubs came from a research project by the Wallace Center. It is encouraging to see enterprises and communities support a change from the industrial food system. Red Tomato food hub, Plainville, Massachusetts Red Tomato has annual sales of approximately $4 million with 7 employees. Red Tomato, established in 1997,…

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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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