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Will the Perma Cube Change the World?

Touch the Soil News #769 (Feature photo courtesy of Perma Cube) Estimates are that 90 percent of Americans used to grow food. Now that number has dropped to 10 percent. America has transitioned from an agrarian society to an industrial one. Enter the Perma Cube. Designers of the Perma Cube bring lots of stuff to the project to include: Each Perma Cube contains enough room for 72 square feet of growing space. A chicken tractor holds up to 10 chickens. The aquaponics system can hold 50 to 70 fish. A filtration system and atmospheric water generator ensure you have clean water available. Together, the vegetables, fish, chickens and eggs provide…

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Food Bank Gets Into Agriculture – Is This a Game Changer?

Touch the Soil News #693 (photo courtesy of Regina Food Bank) (A news editorial by Benjamin Gisin) Involvement in the economy in direct physical terms (limiting, if not bypassing, the use of money) is simmering around the world for one reason – too many hungry people. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is very large – about the same size as Texas. Its capital city – Regina – is a modern city of 220,000 people. Regina is known for having one of the most progressive food banks in the world. In a nutshell, they collect an average of 3.5 million lbs. of food a year (almost 90 semi-trailers) and fulfill almost 100,000…

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On the Edge – Re-inventing Food

Touch the Soil News #692 (photo courtesy of Lawrence Community Garden) Federal Government finances seem to always be a few months away from shutdown. But economic shuttering in many areas of the U.S. has become a stark reality. The small town of Lawrence, Indiana, which is on the edge of the Indianapolis metropolitan area of some 2.5 million people, just happens have some of the largest food deserts in America. A food desert is an area where robust finances, food stores and many jobs have left the scene. In response to the situation, the Lawrence Community Gardens was born. It is not your typical community garden in that there are…

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Should You Have Your Own Chickens for Eggs?

Touch the Soil News #586 (feature photo – Phil Catterall CC 2.0) The consolidation in the agricultural industry just keeps on going. This is illustrated in virtually all farm-raised foods, including eggs. Not that you are going to jump out and start raising chickens in your backyard – which by the way is gaining popularity in the U.S. Twenty years ago, 99 percent of all eggs produced came from around 350 different farms. Today, 99 percent of all eggs produced come from only 192 farms. There is little question today that the national egg supply can be at risk to Avian Influenza outbreaks (see news piece #581 – Got Eggs?).…

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Walk Away from Wall Street?

Touch the Soil News #573 (Feature photo – courtesy of Oakland Avenue Urban Farm – Detroit) While much of the steam over Occupy Wall Street has diminished, one wonders: Why we should occupy Wall Street? Wall Street is where the debts of the world are traded and where stock traders try to extract as much as they can from the employees of the world’s largest companies. While it has no official name, there are many trends emerging that – in practice – are definitely in the realm of “Walk Away from Wall Street.” Take for example the recent surge in residents – connected to the New York City Housing Authority…

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Oprah and Grow Your Own Food

Touch the Soil News #539 (Feature photo CC. 2.0 Flicker) With the holiday season approaching, Oprah released her list of favorite things to buy. Item number nine (9) was urban grow kits. The grow kits come with one pack of organic seeds, one balanced bag of organic soil and one container to grow the plant in. https://www.urban-agriculture.net/collections The urban grow kits are created and shipped by the Urban Agriculture Company of Los Angeles, California and range in price from $17 to $19. In her own words, Oprah explains the kits: “I absolutely love cooking with fresh produce from my garden, and these urban grow kits will give city folks the…

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The White House Kitchen Garden

Touch the Soil News #507 (Feature photo – President Obama hugs First Lady Michelle at the dedication of the White House Kitchen Garden to future generations (photo courtesy of the White House). Few folks know that in 2009, under the direction of First Lady Michelle Obama, a kitchen garden was launched and carved out of the White House lawn. Recently, Michelle Obama was celebrating what would be her last tour of duty in harvesting the produce from the White House kitchen garden. The kitchen garden has been a focal point for tours to the White House and the hundreds of youngsters that have come to help in the mundane duties…

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What is Your City’s Foodbowl?

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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Allotment Awareness – An Awakening Giant?

Touch the Soil News #457 The week of August 8 is National Allotments Week in the U.K. Allotment Gardens are primarily a European and U.K. phenomenon. An allotment is an area of land, leased either from a private or local authority, for the use of growing fruit and vegetables. In some nations, some allotments are protected by national law and obligations of governments to provide allotment gardens to the citizenry. U.K history is steeped in allotment garden rights and laws. The U.K is celebrating National Allotments Week this week. The National Allotment Society of the U.K. reports that there are approximately 330,000 allotment plots in the Kingdom. When you consider…

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Allotment Food Gardens – Under Pressure to Also Serve As Residence

Touch the Soil News #443 As the world continues to grow mega cities, it’s not particularly what people want. The need for open space and gardening cannot be erased with pavement. In economics, when millions of people compete for a limited space, the free market can push housing prices out of reach – pushing people away from the city. In Europe, gardening has had several centuries of evolution. The allotment garden – a legal obligation of government to provide gardening space to citizens – was historically a place to practice horticulture. In some European nations, like Denmark, there is an evolutionary trend to “colony gardens.” A colony garden is when…

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