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Seedling Farm – Quiet Social Revolution

Touch the Soil News #865 (Feature photo – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) The South Dallas area of Dallas, Texas is known for its poverty and lack of access to healthy food. It is considered one of the largest food deserts in the U.S. Folks in the South Dallas area are trying to lift themselves up by the bootstraps through an urban farming initiative. Called the Seedling Farm, here is how it works: Meet with a seedling farm manager to discuss your situation and resources. Select the best types of plants for your project. The selected seeds will be started at the seedling farm until they are ready to replant. You…

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Food Bank Gets Into Agriculture – Is This a Game Changer?

Touch the Soil News #693 (photo courtesy of Regina Food Bank) (A news editorial by Benjamin Gisin) Involvement in the economy in direct physical terms (limiting, if not bypassing, the use of money) is simmering around the world for one reason – too many hungry people. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is very large – about the same size as Texas. Its capital city – Regina – is a modern city of 220,000 people. Regina is known for having one of the most progressive food banks in the world. In a nutshell, they collect an average of 3.5 million lbs. of food a year (almost 90 semi-trailers) and fulfill almost 100,000…

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Wasteless – A Better Approach to Grocery Shopping

Touch the Soil News #677 Wasteless is a start-up tech company from Israel. It is re-inventing how grocery stores manage inventory (food), pricing and minimizing waste. The new technology is headed for America and other parts of the word. In the U.S., almost 50 percent of food from the farm field never gets into a consumer’s stomach. All along the food chain the waste takes place. The largest concentration of waste takes place in grocery stores. Modern grocers are inefficient when it comes to managing perishable and processed food. Estimates are that U.S. grocers lose a $1 billion a day in food losses. Wasteless is placing RFID chips on food…

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What Is the Food Price Index?

Touch the Soil News #638 The Food Price Index is a global average of the costs of: Meat – poultry, beef, pork Dairy – butter, cheese Cereals – wheat, corn, rice Vegetable oils – palm oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc. Sugar – cane and beet sugar The base date of reference is 1/1/2004. This means on this date the index showed all commodities at 100. For February 2017, the Food Price Index stood at 175.5 – which means the global cost of basic foods has gone up 75.5 percent over the past 13 years. The importance of the food price index to Americans – like folks of all other…

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Food Chain Insights into the 2017 Economy

Touch the Soil News #590 (feature photo CC. SA. 3.0) Roughly half of all American food dollars ($780 billion) are spent eating out – mostly in restaurants. The restaurant industry employs 14.5 million people, almost 10 percent of the nation’s workforce. So while economists and government bean counters tell us the economy is going great guns and things have improved, you would think that would show up in the restaurant industry. However it is not and some restaurant economists now question the official consensus that the economy is improving. The Nation’s Restaurant News (www.nrn.com) recently reported that 2017 doesn’t look so hot for the restaurant industry. Following are some of…

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Food Expiration Labels ?X%#$

Touch the Soil News #574 When looking at a package of food it can say: Best by 1/15/2017 Best if used by 1/15/2017 Sell by 1/15/2017   Come to find out, hardly anyone knows what they mean. Amidst this confusion, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service decided to bring some clarity to the confusion regarding understanding expiration dates on food. What kind of clarification do you think the USDA – with oversight on the nation’s food safety – might provide? Get ready for this one. After the nation’s top food minds put their thinking caps on, they are recommending that manufacturers and distributors of food use this wording: BEST…

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Dollars Spent Eating Out

Touch the Soil News #497 The USDA reports that dollars spent eating out are almost the same as dollars spent for groceries to eat at home. The facts are that what is spent eating out is growing much more rapidly than the population. For example, Americans spent $42.8 billion eating out in 1970 and a whopping $782.7 billion to be spent eating out in 2016 – a 17 fold increase. From 1970 to today, the population grew by 79 percent. Dollars spent eating out have grown dramatically. The restaurant industry employs 14.4 million people – roughly 10 percent of the American work force. The National Restaurant Association reports that there…

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What is a Holiday Club?

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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What Else Could Go Wrong?

Touch the Soil News #393 In a recent (May 23, 2016) story, the Miami Herald reported that hunger is stalking Venezuela with only 54 percent of people eating three meals a day. Rich in oil, Venezuela historically used foreign oil sales to finance food at home. With two years of very low oil prices, food in Venezuela has taken a big hit. Food lines and food riots are not uncommon. On the hot seat is Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro – governing with a strong arm, he can’t find a way to fix food in his country. (Photo CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain) A poll by DatinCorp in April found that…

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Campus Hunger Gives Higher Education a Reality Check

Touch the Soil News #366 According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the average cost of tuition and fees has increased more than 95 percent statewide since 2004. Depending upon which poll you read, estimates are that as many as 50 percent of college graduates end up working in a field that did not require them to go to college in the first place. To add to the burden of trying to survive after college graduation, some 37 million students are struggling to repay the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt outstanding – roughly $32,000 per student. Schools of higher education are at the core of teaching the nation…

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