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A Spooky Food and Gardening Awareness

Uitzicht vanaf Victoria Peak

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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Quotes to Raise Your Food and Agriculture IQ

Photo Ben Gisin

Touch the Soil News #211 One of the things we follow is the emergence of a world in which food is less than abundant. It’s a Some of the best sources of information about this topic come from Investment and Venture Capital – viewing food and agriculture as arenas with tremendous investment opportunity. What makes them different is that they are putting their money where their mouth is – pouring billions of dollars into a convergence of food need and limited supply. One such company is Anterra Capital located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Anterra is backed by two of the world’s largest privately held financial institutions – Rabobank and Fidelity…

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Reasons to Garden Are Escalating

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Touch the Soil News # 153 There are hundreds of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) around the world drawing attention to the fact that food availability today – and moving forward – is not as it was. One source we have deemed credible is the World Resources Institute (WRI). The WRI has some 450 experts that crunch data in over 50 countries. The WRI maintains offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. With an annual budget of $65 million, the WRI is one of the world’s top resources in identifying hot spots and issues of ecological concern. While there are a number of areas the WRI focuses…

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Politically Driven Food Crimes

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Touch the Soil News # 151 On Thursday, August 7, 2015, the international news agency AFP reported that Russian officials steamrolled tons of cheese, fruit and vegetables – defying public outrage – to begin a controversial drive to destroy Western food smuggled into the crisis-hit country. Buldozers in Russia commence destroying what could ultimately amount to hundreds of tons of food. The problem begins with Russia’s military actions in the Ukraine, which precipitated Western economic sanctions against Russia. In turn, Russia decided not to buy food from the West. However, in the middle of the political economic wars, many Russians fell through the cracks and have become impoverished and hungry.…

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Food Resilience – Are the Challenges to Food Calling for a Spiritual Awakening?

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Ten years ago, food resilience focused on sustainably- produced foods, with discussions focusing on organic versus chemical farming. Since that time, the world has changed in two ways – 850 million more people at the dinner table and an increase in the number of shocks that the production of food encounters. With this background, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) provides an explanation of food resilience: “Resilience is the capacity that ensures adverse stressors and shocks do not have long-lasting adverse development effects.” This must mean that negative shocks to food must be overcome in the near term and not allowed to fester for extended periods of time. The focus…

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Dacha Gardening – Small Gardens Produce 51% of Food in Russian Federation

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The discussions will rage onwards in terms of dependence upon industrial food systems – and why there should be an exodus. In an interesting twist of fate, turns out home gardens produce 41.1 percent (in terms of value) of the crops and meat produced in the Russian Federation. Small peasant farms produce another 10.2 percent of the Federation’s food. (Source: Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation for 2013 – most recent year for which numbers are available.) Popularly called Dacha Gardens, these home enterprises produce approximately 80 percent of the Federation’s fruits and berries, over 66 percent of the vegetables, 80 percent of the potatoes and nearly 50…

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Food Hardship – Is the Solution Food Gardening?

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The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) recently published its 2014 National, State and Local Index of Food Hardship. Food hardship is a state of being in which there is struggle to put food on the table.  According to the report, food hardship afflicted between 17.2 and 18.6 percent of Americans at various times over the last seven years – that’s between 55 and 61 million people. Here are some of the highlights: Mississippi has the highest food hardship rate of any state at 24.7 percent. About one out of every 4 people in Mississippi is food challenged. North Dakota has the lowest food hardship rate of any state at…

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World Health Organization – We Need Safe Food from Farm to Plate

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April 7, 2015 │ Geneva, Switzerland In a recent press release, World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan (see photo), recently said:  “Food production has been industrialized and its trade and distribution have been globalized. These changes introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.” No small warning from the world’s top health official – Dr. Margaret Chan – which dedicated World Health Day (April 7, 2015) to the issue of food safety. Dr. Chan further stated: “A local food safety problem can rapidly become an international emergency. Investigation of an outbreak of foodborne disease is vastly more complicated when a single…

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Emerging Specs of a Food-Chain Mega Trend (Part 2 of 2)

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In the realm of theory, our culture likes to believe it is possible for the world to produce (and distribute) enough food for everyone – a world with abundant food. In contrast, investment funds are accumulating – like a storm cloud – to take financial advantage of a world in which food is less than abundant. The largest pension fund management company in the U.S. makes no secret about its emerging target of farmland or why it is doing so. The pension company is called Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF).  TIAA-CREF manages $426 billion in retirement assets for 3.7 million employees with…

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Emerging Specs of a Food-Chain Mega Trend (Part 1 of 2)

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There is an emerging correlation between retirement savings and the future of food. Most of us don’t know where our pension funds and retirement plans are invested. In many cases, retirement funds end up in the hands of an institutional investor. Institutional investors handle large sums of money for high net worth individuals, pension plans, endowment funds and municipal treasurers. By far and away, the largest source of investment funds in the U.S. is the retirement arena. Research, by the Investment Company Institute, reveals that at the end of 2008, assets in the U.S. retirement market totaled $14.2 trillion. By year end 2014, that number was $24.7 trillion – a…

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