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Community Land Rights (food) – The Global Powder Keg (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #423 (Feature photo courtesy of HELVETAS) Here in the United States, we have title companies that document land ownership and enforceable liens on land. Seventy percent of all bank loans are collateralized by land – real estate. It is these loans that stand behind the dollars that banks invoke and are the backbone of the nation’s economic activities. Documentable ownership of land is also the backbone of access to land. Much of the land in Asia, Africa and South America lack the ownership / lien documentation here in the United States. This also limits the use of credit for economic development in third-world nations – creating…

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Economies are Complicated – But Raising Your Own Food Cannot Happen Overnight

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Touch the Soil News #317 The economics of food are quite simple. You have to have something to sell (your labor or a product) so you can translate what you have into dollars. Once you have the dollars, you can then buy food. This plan, however, is fraught with danger. Financial shenanigans, currency speculation, currency devaluations and commodity speculation can turn a simple plan into a national nightmare. There is no nation that isn’t at some level of economic danger due to an inability to adequately incorporate its citizenry into the economy and in a stable way. In the spotlight is Venezuela – a nation of 31 million people who…

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Union of Concerned Scientists – Fix Food and Farming

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Touch the Soil News #283 Usually when we think of the Union of Concerned Scientists we think about things like global pollution, unsustainable energy or climate change. However, the scientists recently came out with a 20-page report that had some pretty bold statements about the nation’s food system. Following are two statements they published: The nation’s cities are at the frontlines of a food system that is sickening millions of Americans every year and keeping many of these same people impoverished. This dysfunctional system is the product of federal food and agriculture policies that encourage overproduction and overconsumption of unhealthy processed foods. Local communities should not have to fight an…

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City Mayors of America Weigh in on Hunger

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Touch the Soil News #282 The mayors of the major cities in America (cities of 30,000 and more) get together each year to discuss topics of mutual concern – one of them being hunger. Their umbrella organization is called the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). There are 1,407 cities of 30,000 or more and each city is represented in this organization by their mayor. President Obama addresses the United States Conference of Mayors. To the extent that America’s mayors get involved in solving hunger and homelessnes is the extent to which political power may increase for the nation’s mayors. Every year, the USCM puts together a report on hunger…

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Food Concerns Leads to Powerful Shifts in Political Power

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Touch the Soil News #255 We are all familiar with the red tape that goes on in Washington. Lots of talk about ending hunger and minimizing food waste – but things move at a snail’s pace. More frequently we are seeing cities and states step up to take climate change action – for example – on their own. When governors and mayors start to act on things that should be taken care of on the federal level – it signals a shift of power. Fossil fuels and alternative energy have been dominating the national and international political debates. However, people and food have been climbing up the “media” ladder at…

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