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Stakes in the Cash-For-Food Economy Go Up

Touch the Soil News #764 (urban food poster courtesy of Keep Growing Detroit) The world continues to move away from its historical roots in the countryside and into cities. As billions of people converge in the cityscapes of the world, they become almost 100 percent tied to the cash-for-food economic system. In decades past, rural folks still had a chance to partially circumvent the cash economy by growing some food. Cash is invoked by a financial system known for mischief and volatility. To complicate matters, cash is distributed sparingly, often through low pay jobs at companies that see labor as an expense to be constantly downsized. It is estimated that…

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Colleges – Where Does Food Gardening Fit In?

Touch the Soil News #680 (feature photo – CC SA 3.0) The idea of having a direct hand in the necessities of life has reached low levels. Today, the focus is having a direct hand in converting our labor and skills into dollars – because having a direct hand in our necessities is inefficient – particularly if you are going to college. Yet, food gardening has kept a toehold in modern economies. Speaking of modern economies, some reports reveal that food gardening is on the increase due to hiccups in the financial economy. Back in 2008, it was estimated that the Gross Domestic Garden Product was over $21 billion. This…

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Who is Food Insecure in America?

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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Turning Soldiers into Farmers

Touch the Soil News #626 It’s called the Gulayan sa Kampo project. The Philippine Department of agriculture recently announced that it is collaborating with the Philippine military to establish vegetable production on idle military lands. The Department of Agriculture will teach military men the technologies of vegetable production. The soldiers will showcase their farms to neighboring communities and encourage them to go into vegetable farming as well. Produce from the military vegetable farms will not only feed soldiers, but members of the local communities as well. The Department of Agriculture is looking to get some competition going between military gardens and gardeners to see who is the best. Unfortunately, the…

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Scotland, at the Doorway to Economic Change

Touch the Soil News #552 The most frustrating thing people experience is the lack of correlation between work and a path out of poverty – i.e. adequate access to food. Ensuring that work is a reliable route out of poverty is not what the world’s economic systems are focused upon – hence folks have looked to government and politics for answers. Given that the world’s economics are simply a surface expression of the financial realms; can politicians really do anything about eliminating hunger and poverty? It seems the financial realms are what control politics – not politics controlling the financial realms. In a stunning bravery to face the truth, the…

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A Public Edible Fruit Park?

Touch the Soil News #468 We have heard of gleaning clubs that care and harvest fruit trees in neighborhoods and we have heard of Web sites that show you where fruit trees are located in a city. But an emerging faction in the food security movement has come to reality in West Seattle – Puget Ridge Edible Park. Locals care for the park which is located in a food desert. The USDA defines a food desert as a low-income census tract where at least 33 percent of the tract’s population has low access to a supermarket or grocery store. The Puget Ridge Edible Park (2/3 of an acre) hosts heritage…

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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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Economic Intelligence – Is the Nation out of Touch?

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

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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