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What is a Food Tremor?

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Touch the Soil News #635 A food tremor is something more than background noise. It casts a hint of what a food problem can grow into. For example, in nature tremors often foreshadow a volcanic eruption or earthquake.   Food Tremors Now Happening The global demand for vegetable cooking oil is so great it is driving rainforest demolition and people exploitation. Peoples of all nations are competing voraciously for the same pool of cooking oils (palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil and olive oil). This tremor can drive food inflation. Congested crop farming leaves little room for nature to mitigate disease. Wheat rust is a fungal disease that compromises wheat,…

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Closing Golf Courses – Emerging Potential Source of Urban Farmland

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Touch the Soil News #260 As the world’s available farmland and water resources shrink relative to population gains, have you ever looked at golf courses as food safety nets? At first glimpse it may sound absurd. However, the sport of golfing is in serious decline. Hundreds of thousands of golfers are leaving the sport each year. Bloomberg Business news reported that in 2013, 260,000 women took up the sport while 650,000 men quit – a net reduction of 390,000 players. According to the “Economist” there are three reasons for the decline in golfing: 1) Golf no longer fits with many modern lifestyles and takes up too much time. 2) America’s…

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Fleet Farming – A Portal to the Future of Food

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Touch the Soil News #174 As luck would have it, we were able to connect with Heather Grove, program director of Fleet Farming – thanks to introductions facilitated by Roxanne Christiansen of SPIN Farming. Normally, we try to keep our news pieces quite short. However, something comes out of this story on Fleet Farming that has “geometric” potential to evolve humanity in many arenas, not just food. Thus we have a little longer piece. The theme of food organized around not-for-profit endeavors is one we have covered before. This does not mean efforts at food production should go uncompensated. It means organizing something solely around financial considerations is not broad…

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Besides the Farmers, What Other Costs Are in Our Food Dollar?

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Touch the Soil News # 126 The USDA just released a corrected and updated estimate of where pieces of the food dollar go.  The USDA data on this report is always a couple of years behind, thus represented here by 2013 numbers. Info graphic #1 below shows how many pennies out of each dollar go to the respective pieces of the food chain. Farm Production, the actual money that goes into producing food, is 10.5 cents. For clarification, grocery stores fall under Retail Costs and restaurants fall under Food Services. When one studies Info graphic #1, the food chain has become so complex and expensive that it is no wonder…

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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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The Urban Farm Collective – Cornerstone to a New Food Chain (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #122 Food and access to food has been the subordinate child of a chaotic Wall Street with demonstrated insensitivities to planetary ecology and human health. It should not be surprising then that not-for-profit ventures – as relates to food – are exploring beyond the mentality of the corporate board room. From Left to Right – Ari Rosner, Janette Kaden (Founder of UFC), Holli Prohaska (Current Director) Thanks to Holli Prohaska, who worked with us in getting this story together, we get an inside look at the Urban Farm Collective (UFC). The UFC organizes people wanting to work for food, organizes access to land and organizes what…

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Home Gardens and Local Food – Can they Carry More Responsibility?

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Touch the Soil News #114 –– includes 2 videos If there is one urban farmer trying to make a go of it, there are thousands. If there is one home gardener trying to make a difference, there are millions throughout the nation. America has millions of acres in lawns and vacant city lots (estimates are over 40 million acres). Most urbanites have access to water for gardens. Access to assets that can produce food may be a welcome buffer as national interests around the world are scurrying to control farmland and food production for their respective homeland security interests. This brings an entirely different investment mindset coming to the table.…

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Food Not Lawns – Is This Issue on the Rise to Stellar Heights?

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It was back in 2006, Susan and I were publishing the magazine Touch the Soil. We were doing stories in Eugene, Oregon and hooked up with Heather Flores who had just published the book “Food Not Lawns.” Since then, Heather has sold over 25,000 copies and helped launch the Food Not Lawns movement: http://www.foodnotlawns.com/about.html Since then the Food Not Lawns movement has spread into over 55 chapters across the United States, three in Canada and one in Australia. This year, Heather Flores is embarking on an International Tour to some 30 cities in the U.S., Canada and the UK. In a rather unanticipated emergence of events – drought and poverty…

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