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Who is Food Insecure in America?

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Touch the Soil News #649 (Feature photo – CCA 2.0) With grocery stores filled with food spend millions on advertising and discounts to bring more customers in, this advertising means little if you are on the bottom of the financial chain. Hunger, however, has a real personal aspect to it. It’s not just about the free market or commercial transactions. The nation’s largest food banking network – Feeding America – serves over 46 million Americans through a network of over 50 thousand charitable feeding agencies around the nation. Other estimates are that food insecurity affects over 50 million Americans. In the late 60’s, President Richard Nixon addressed Congress saying “That…

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The CUFBA Movement – What Does it Mean?

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Touch the Soil News #567 CUFBA stands for College and University Food Bank Alliance. The alliance just announced its 400th member. In a recent poll sponsored in part by CUFBA, more than 3,000 students at a mix of 34 community and four-year colleges were surveyed. A walloping 48 percent had experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days. What makes this report significant is that nationally, only about 15 percent of the population is food insecure. Why is hunger three (3) times more prevalent on college campuses than off campus? You can download the complete report here: http://www.cufba.org/report-hunger-on-campus/ While causes of food insecurity on college campuses are complex, the short…

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The Economy – Does It Need To Circulate Dollars Differently?

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Touch the Soil News #566 Boasting of new job growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported that on average, there were 180,000 new jobs every month in 2016. If that course continues for December, America will achieve 2,160,000 new jobs in 2016. The problem is that the announcement of 180,000 new jobs every month is absent any perspective. Given that the U.S. population has been growing by around 200,000 every month for the past 10 years, the job growth number falls materially short not only of keeping up, but bringing back the millions of jobs lost in the 2008 financial crisis. Recent news about the restaurant industry is that…

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Seeds of a Different Economic Order?

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Touch the Soil News #537 Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Matthews has a problem. His small voter district( #11 in northern Tulsa, Oklahoma) is mostly a food desert. Many of his constituents have limited or no access to fresh produce and meats. Ditto for 32 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Kevin Matthews’ district #11 – an area of approximately 70,000 people – has financial and economic shortcomings – affordability and ready access to food have been compromised. Matthews is exploring the possibility of creating an urban farming system that bypasses the grocery stores that financially cannot come into the area. He has raised the topic in the State Senate and is now…

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What is a Holiday Club?

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Touch the Soil News #450 (feature logo courtesy of Trussell Trust) It is hard to tell what the message is when it comes to helping out food-insecure families. Is it about food, or is the universal message about teaching people how to work together? Holiday clubs are a new form of working together that is emerging in the United Kingdom (UK). The clubs center around helping alleviate issues associated with hunger and an inability of families to do activities on the roughly 170 non-school days a year. When school is out, 40 percent of parents in the UK worry about the extra costs of paying for childcare, meals that were…

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Is the Real Estate Market Sending San Francisco into Disintegration?

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Touch the Soil News #428 Seeking financial gain is certainly the game much of the world has directed its energies towards. But could this game reach a frenzy whose proportions begin disassembling the American community? Below is a video interview of a San Francisco man whose $1,800 a month apartment rent was arbitrarily increased to $8,000 a month. This man’s story is not an isolated case. Rental rates and evictions are on the rise. Recently, one of San Francisco’s soup kitchens run by the Nuns of Fraternite Notre Dame, received notice that the rent for the soup kitchen facility was being dramatically increased. When one of San Francisco’s most important…

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Economic Intelligence – Is the Nation out of Touch?

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Touch the Soil News #389 Feeding America is the nation’s food-banking coordinator. Through their organizing efforts and sourcing donations, the system works through 60,000 non-profit local agencies that run soup kitchens and food banks. Recently, Feeding America partnered with Nielsen (a data research company). Together they put together an interactive map of the all the counties in the U.S. and their level of food insecurity. The map is identifies county-level rates of food insecurity. Many people, who are food insecure, earn too much to qualify for federal or state nutritional assistance. According to the data, 26 percent of food-insecure Americans are above the threshold of qualifying for federal assistance. High…

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The Food Chain Is Flirting With a Not-For-Profit Landscape

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Touch the Soil News #385 Hundreds of NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) around the world continue attacking the industrial “for-profit” food chain. And it doesn’t look like they are going to stop anytime soon. The indiscriminations arising out of for-profit corporate models – span everything from cost, environmental exploitation, toxicity, loss of diversity and failure to deliver health. The issues are not going away. Now national governments are singing similar tunes. In a recent Kelp4Less news piece #376 (posted 5/9/2016), the nation of Brazil has rang the alarm bell about farming with toxic chemicals and how GMOs drive that problem. Brazil has the highest per-capita use of pesticides in the world.…

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News Round-up

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Touch the Soil News #271   Are You A Climatarian Eater? New terms are emerging that identify what kind of eater you are. A climatarian is one who eats with climate change in mind. This generally includes eating locally, choosing pork and poultry over beef and lamb to limit gas emission and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds) to limit food waste.   The Expansion of Food Banking We recently reported on the trend to locate food pantries on college campuses as polls reveal over 35 percent of freshman are food-insecure. On a new front, the Iowa Food Bank has started a new program to quash hunger…

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The Urban Farm Collective – Cornerstone to a New Food Chain (Part 2 of 2)

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As we wrote in Part 1, the Urban Farm Collective (UFC) is an effort of many people working together on 15 urban garden plots in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.  Contemplating the UFC enterprise brings up the age-old question: Are we better off working together or going at it alone? Our modern economic system has an entrenched double standard when it comes to working together. In the food chain, for example, grocery stores go head to head in heated competition. However, inside each competing grocery store, there is a charge for team work and working together. So, when a food enterprise shows up on the scene that is about working…

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