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The Cost of Not Eating Your Fruits and Veggies

Touch the Soil News #773 (feature photo CCA 2.5 Generic) The Canadians have come up with a way to measure the cost of not eating enough fruits and veggies. The Canadian Journal of Public Health found that three quarters of Canadians fail to meet the Canadian Food Guide recommendations for daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Two years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that only 1 in 10 Americans eats enough fruit and veggies. Here is where it gets interesting. The Canadian Journal of Public Health reports that the deficiency of Canadians in eating fresh fruits and veggies costs Canada about $4.39 billion a year. There is…

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Falling Fruit – Organizing Food Foraging in Cities

Touch the Soil News #252 Falling Fruit is an organization that focuses on the overlooked culinary bounty in our city streets. The goal is to build upon the world’s largest data base of fruit trees and other plants that offer free-foraging in the cities around the world. Falling Fruit’s data base presently contains over 790.443 locations that have a diversity of 1,317 different types of edibles, most of which are plants. Falling Fruit has identified over 790,000 trees in urban areas where you can glean food. For fun, we looked up some of their data sheets. The city of Rochester, New York has published a “Public Food Map” that shows…

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Russian Households and Peasants – Keep a Strong Hand in Food

Touch the Soil News #221 For most American’s, the production of food is a process materially left to large farms. The Russian people, on the other hand, still materially participate in a number of basic foods. The Russian government publishes statistics on the volume of food that households and peasant farmers (often 1 person market gardens) produce. Following are the Russian numbers of how much households and peasant farmers produce of the nation’s basic foods: Grains such as wheat and barley          26.1 percent Sugar beets                                                10.8 percent Potatoes                                                     87.8 percent Vegetables                                                 83.2 percent Meat                                                              29.8 percent Milk                                                              53.0 percent Eggs                                                              21.6 percent Fruit & Berries                                          …

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Can Market Gardeners Capitalize on the Increasing Prices of Food?

Touch the Soil News #208 The increasing price of food from the industrial food system is driven by a number of factors. Identifying these factors can help a market gardener create strategies that help them compete with industrial-scale efficiencies. Kurtis and Roxanne Williams of Waterwheel Gardens (Emmett, Idaho) are full-time market gardeners. Through innovation and creativity they have found ways to compete for a share of the nation’s food dollars. Perhaps the first concept of opportunity for market gardeners is that industrial-scale efficiencies also come with industrial scale problems and inefficiencies. So let’s make an attempt at identifying the factors driving up food prices that a market gardener may be…

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Food, Social Enterprise and the Caring for Others

Touch the Soil News # 142 So what is the world coming to? A bright young woman with a Masters in Business Administration from Portland State has no interest in pursuing the Wall Street Model of business and profit. Instead, she is striving to bring healthy food to the underserved with a goal of only breaking even. Meet Amelia Pape. After graduation, she bought a van and started a mobile business called My Street Grocery in Portland, Oregon. Her mission was to sell healthy food in areas of Portland where there was little access to grocery stores. As her work and idea began to gain visibility she eventually approached Whole…

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

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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National Farmers Market Week – And the Nation’s top 10 Farmers Markets

Touch the Soil News # 136 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has declared August 2 through August 8, 2015 as National Farmers Market Week. This year marks the 16th annual National Farmers Market Week. On Saturday, August 1st, Anne Alonzo, the administrator of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, will kick of ceremonies at the Santa Fe Farmers Market – one of the top 10 markets in the nation. The growth of farmers markets in America has been nothing short of stellar. Interesting to note is that despite economic problems in the nation, the number of farmers markets has nearly doubled from 2008 to 2014. Some of that success also comes…

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News Roundup – Food-Chain News You Might Have Missed

Touch the Soil News # 134 Kraft-Heinz Merger, Now a Reality The much publicized merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is now completed according to a recent company press release. Together, the two companies form the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The Company’s immediate focus will be on integrating the two businesses, establishing a new organizational structure and delivering its 2015 financial objectives. Unfortunately for the employees, stockholders have high expectations, some of which will be funded by eliminating jobs. Estimated are 7,000 job cuts at Heinz and as yet an undetermined number at Kraft. Following is a short…

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High Pressure Food Preservation – Is This the Next Food Rage?

Touch the Soil News # 131 “Treating foods with high pressure rather than high heat or chemicals is a natural choice for better maintaining flavor and nutrients,” says biologist Carole Tonello. A high pressure processing machine (photo – courtesy of Hiperbaric) Tonello works for Hiperbaric, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of high pressure processing machines. High pressure processing evenly subjects fresh foods to high pressures in the range of 70,000 pounds per square inch and higher. The effect of this high pressure is to kill microorganisms while maintaining the biochemical properties of food. Tonello explains that with high pressure, there is very little effect on a food’s flavor, nutrients and…

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Grow A Row – Is This a Window into the Future of Food?

Touch the Soil News # 127 The non-profit  “America’s Grow a Row” was started by a non-farmer – Chip Paillex – some 14 years ago in New Jersey. Back in 2002, Chip and his daughter rented a small 30’ X 30’ plot and started planting food crops for the first time in his life. One day they saw a three-line article in the paper that said if you ever have extra produce, “grow-a-row” for the hungry and bring it down to the food pantry. Chip Paillex – Founder of Grow A Row (photo courtesy of Grow A Row) Moved by the simplicity of the message Paillex and his daughter began…

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