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Louise O. Fresco

Touch the Soil News #1021 (Feature photo – Aerial Drone – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) Most of us have never heard of Louise O. Fresco. She recently made news when she challenged why the world still measures agricultural productivity in terms of land and not water use. One of the most accomplished researchers and scientists from the nation of the Netherlands, Louise challenges the future of food as we know it. Her biography and experience are so extensive, it compels attention. So why is what Louise says important today? She explains that the foundations of food have eroded in ways unanticipated in the past and we are unprepared for what’s…

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Speculation Risks Food Security

Touch the Soil News #979 (Feature photo – Farmland – Public Domain) It is no secret that economics are tossed and torn by the forces of speculation. Bets on what crops will do and bets on farmland have played their own role in displacing farmers from the land. Recently, The Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported a special committee of the Canadian Senate was studying the problems of rising farmland costs that put ownership of farmland by farmers at risk. The committee found that pressures from urban development, farmland purchases by multinationals and farmland purchases by pension funds could destabilize Canada’s food security. According to Dianne Griffin, chairwoman of the special committee:…

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Billion Dollar Sugar Project – Largest in the World

Touch the Soil News #931 (Feature photo – Egyptian Coat of Arms – public domain) Whenever a checkbook comes out to spend $1 billion on an agricultural project, one must take note. Recently, a project called Al Canal Sugar was announced by the Egyptian government and a wealthy Dubai family – both of which will participate in the financing. The plan comes with a 60-year lease on a 190,000-acre farm to raise sugar beets and other rotation crops. The farm will produce 5.5 billion pounds of sugar beets a year. In addition, the plan is also to create a refinery to process the sugar beets into sugar – about 1.8…

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Political Freedom – Versus Food

Touch the Soil News #930 (Feature photo – British Coat of Arms – CC SA 3.0 Unported) Great Britain is a nation of some 66 million people. The nation became part of the European Union in 1973 – 45 years ago. Since that time the politics, economics, finance and trade of Great Britain has become inextricably tied to the European Union. Last year, Great Britain passed a majority referendum to exit the European Union. That effort is popularly called “Brexit”. Now, some British food experts are getting cold feet. Seems that Great Britain now gets one third of its food from the European Union under favorable trade terms. Concern is…

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Food Security Index

Touch the Soil News #828 (Feature photo – Coast Guard crew members help on a food drive) The Dupont Company – through research and investigation – publishes a global food security index on 113 different countries. You’ll be glad to know that for 2017, the United States is number two from the top with a score of 84.6 out of a potential of 100. The number one spot goes to Ireland with a score 85.6. This makes one ponder. Why then are there almost 50 million people food insecure in the U.S.? Were it not for a number of factors – including the presence of the world’s most advanced food…

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Solving Hunger – End War, Stop Climate Change, Send More Money

Touch the Soil News #809 (Feature photo – map of areas of global conflict – courtesy of Futuretrillionaire CC SA 3.0) Under the umbrella of the United Nations are the world’s leading organizations attempting to stop starvation of 815 million people, up 35 million from 2015. These organizations include the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. For perspective, since 2015, global population has grown by over 150 million. Together these organizations have just produced the 2017 – State of Food Security & Nutrition in the World. Their findings are rather sobering: Global hunger affects 11…

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What is a Food Tremor?

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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Over 500 Million People Short of Fresh Produce

Touch the Soil News #630 In the winter, 80 percent of the European Union’s fresh produce comes from modest farming areas in Italy and Spain. These areas much like California, except that this year unseasonably wet and cold weather has compromised production. Low supplies of things like iceberg lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant have already caused rationing in the U.K’s largest grocery chain. In Southern Italy and France, blizzards are destroying the year’s crops of greens, citrus and grapes. The word is out that supermarkets from the U.K. to Germany are low on pretty much all produce. While the Europeans can import some fresh produce from the…

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How Far Off Track Is Food and Agriculture?

Touch the Soil News #519 While politicians fret or ignore the food issues within their own nations, the FAO does the same, but for the whole world. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is charged with making some kind of sense of global food security. The FAO, in order to communicate its concerns for folks being able to eat, recently published “The State of Food and Agriculture – 2016.” Given the pressures of population and climate change, the FAO – in the report – arrives at a simple conclusion: A GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION TO SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE MUST BEGIN NOW. Given that 1/3 of the world’s…

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Another Global City Looks to Act On Food Security

Touch the Soil News #483 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is one of those international tourist destinations. Located on beautiful Vancouver Island, the city has great ferry traffic from mainland Canada and the United States. These large “ferry” ships bring thousands of visitors to the natural wonders of the Northwest Pacific coast and the internationally acclaimed Buchart Gardens. The City of Victoria is looking to pass sweeping city codes to enable local food production and commerce. In addition to the standard vegetables that most market gardeners raise, the new codes would allow raw, unprocessed food such as fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs and honey to be grown and sold within the city.…

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