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What is Your City’s Foodbowl?

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Touch the Soil News #474 Knowing how much farmland it takes to feed your city and the ability of that food to come from regions around the city is not of importance to global financiers, economists or even higher education. Financiers, economists and educators have focused our attention on global free markets. While the global free market has its benefits, but it has also caused us to have a narrow focus. Global consciousness about how a particular city is set to feed itself is close to zero. The standard assumption is food will come from somewhere and local pursuit of growth and paving farmland should not be interrupted. Another assumption is…

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Urban Agriculture – Las Cruces Pushes the Envelope

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Touch the Soil News #416 The level of public collaboration emerging in the U.S. to foment urban agriculture would not have happened just five years ago. Taking the lead today is Las Cruces, New Mexico – a metropolitan area of some 220,000 people. With the expertise of a 10-person Urban Agriculture Working Group, the City Council, the City Manager, an 11 person technical review team and input from local citizens, the Las Cruces Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Plan was created. The plan was approved by the Las Cruces City Council of June 6, 2016. The 76- page document takes urban food planning to levels previously unheard of. At 3,900…

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The Most Impacting Food & Ag Discovery of the Century

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Touch the Soil News #331 Do we really know why food has to travel thousands of miles? Why does food on an average dinner plate have to be a concoction that may be sourced from several continents? For most of us, we think that the answer to this question is simply that it cannot be produced locally. Research at the University of California at Merced under the direction of Professor Elliott Campbell has just proved us all wrong. Using satellite images and soil data banks across the nation, it was discovered that 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their…

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A Spooky Food and Gardening Awareness

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Touch the Soil News #285 Imagine one day waking up and realizing you need to go home, but you are a million miles from home. Home in this sense is the family farm of three to four generations ago that had a vegetable garden, a couple of milk cows, chickens for eggs, a few acres of grain for bread and some meat animals. The reason you want to go home is that you have found yourself in a city of 7.5 million people (Hong Kong) that is on the edge of China with 1.4 billion people all looking for more food. The realization hits you that everything must be imported.…

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How Much of Humanity Hinges on Urban Farming?

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Touch the Soil News #251 The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is an arm of the United Nations. It is the only organization in the world that looks at the global picture of food. Recently, the FAO created a new website to promote the development of urban and peri-urban food around the world’s major metropolitan centers. At the heart of the vision of the FAO is a shocking new concept called “City Region Food Systems.” In essence, agriculture needs to become the domain of cities – each city should strive to establish and develop its own food security. This is a 180 degree about face from the present system where…

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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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What Are Food Hubs? Can They Help You Become A Successful Local Farmer? (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 141 The growing development of food hubs is materially populated with not-for-profit visions that do not seek high returns, but primarily the cash flows necessary to keep the doors open. In Part 2 of this food hub coverage we’ll take a brief look at five (5) successful food hubs and their operations. Information about these food hubs came from a research project by the Wallace Center. It is encouraging to see enterprises and communities support a change from the industrial food system. Red Tomato food hub, Plainville, Massachusetts Red Tomato has annual sales of approximately $4 million with 7 employees. Red Tomato, established in 1997,…

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What Are Food Hubs? Can They Help You Become A Successful Local Farmer? (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 140 A few years back while visiting La Montanita Food Cooperative in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we learned about local food hubs. The Co-op had asked its 8,000 members about where the Co-op should source its food. The message came back loud and clear – source food locally and regionally. The Co-op was interested in not only fresh and local, but protecting and developing the areas food shed. A food shed strives to enhance the production, processing, delivery and consumption of food within a regional geographic area. A food shed normally incorporates enough area (and customers) to support diverse food production and processing. To fulfill their…

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