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U.S. Treasury – Protector of 100,000 Indigenous African Farmers?

Touch the Soil News #420 Virtually every day there are stories of indigenous African small farmers being removed from their small farms. While each story is different, the themes are similar: 1) Large investment and farming interests say African small farmers produce low yields. Greater yields can lead to exports and cash for cash-strapped nations. 2) Taking their land, employing them as farm labor, or helping them transition to mono-crops for export, the small farmers switch from self-sustenance to more expensive debt – mono-crop farming. The kind of farming that has eliminated 70 percent of American family farms. 3) Often times the “cash” piece provides incentives for corruption in which…

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Agricultural Assets – A Modern Game of Monopoly?

Touch the Soil News #355 The Australian Broadcasting Corporation recently reported on the trend of Chinese investors owning and controlling Australian agricultural assets and farmland. According to reports, Chinese agricultural investors spent $375 million buying various agricultural assets including dairy, beef and cotton in 2015. University of Sydney professor Hans Hendrischke said one of the reasons why Chinese investors come to Australia is because in China, there’s a crisis in the food market, a crisis of confidence, and people don’t trust food security in their own country. The place to go is Australia. Australia’s coat of arms. It’s not just agricultural assets that foreign investors are looking for, but other…

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Drama in Africa – Target of Global Agricultural Investors

Touch the Soil News # 159 In a recent 2015 special report called “The Journal of Peasant Studies” the focus is on Africans being dispossessed of their land as global interests swoop in to control farmland and all things agricultural. The report finds that in many situations, foreign investors want to invest in projects, but don’t want to engage with the locals who have undocumented control of the land. In the United States, title companies keep meticulous records of ownership, title transfers and accurate legal descriptions. In many African nations, particularly in rural areas, ownership is often one of possession that may go back several generations. Hungry for cash or…

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Impossible Foods – Getting the Google Eye

Touch the Soil News # 148 To get a more complete picture of what is going on here, a few words about Impossible Foods. Impossible Foods was created by Patrick O. Brown, MD, PhD and a Stanford University Biologist. The business is three years old and is located in Redwood City, California. To date, Brown has assembled an impressive staff of researchers and developers to include over 50 scientists, farmers and engineers. Their goal – make the best meats and cheeses you’ll ever eat – from plants. The team looked at specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate a very realistic experience of meats and dairy…

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Should Home Gardeners Get Into Producing Their Own Meat/Proteins?

Touch the Soil News # 130 The logistics of raising fruit and vegetables are one thing. The pursuit of meat and protein is another.  There has been a revival of backyard chickens for eggs and meat. More and more cities that had restrictions on urban chickens are lifting or reducing them. It is hard to imagine that in 1859, residents of Manhattan were keeping over 50,000 pigs in the city. Posing the question as to whether or not home gardeners should be concerned about their own meat stems from a more basic question: Should meatpacking be more decentralized and are meat companies getting to big? This question came again to…

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

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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