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Should You Have Your Own Chickens for Eggs?

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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?

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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

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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

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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?

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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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Allotment Awareness – An Awakening Giant?

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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

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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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Commodity Speculation – Another Reason to Raise Your Own Food?

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Touch the Soil News #410 Most of the primary food commodities are traded on commodity exchanges such as the Chicago Board of Trade. Depending upon how speculators buy contracts as long positions or short bets, can influence the price of the major commodities. Yes, billions of dollars flow into these commodity exchanges to speculate on prices. A significant portion of these bets are by hedge funds or other speculative parties that do not grow food, do not buy food and do not process and manufacture food products. Yet, these speculative dollars pose two significant risks to humanity: Lower the price of a farm product below the cost of production –…

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Victory Garden Nostalgia – Some Are Trying to Bring it Back (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #399 Victory garden nostalgia is a powerful force. Posters from WWI and WWII strike at the heart of people’s emotions about food, home and country. For the benefit of our readers, we thought you might enjoy some of the colorful posters of the past related to food gardening. Enjoy. Following is a rare 1942 urgent broadcast in the United Kingdom which is an urgent plea to request an allotment garden plot and to grow food. The nation at war is desperate for adequate food supplies: Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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