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The Urban Farm Collective – Cornerstone to a New Food Chain (Part 2 of 2)

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As we wrote in Part 1, the Urban Farm Collective (UFC) is an effort of many people working together on 15 urban garden plots in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.  Contemplating the UFC enterprise brings up the age-old question: Are we better off working together or going at it alone? Our modern economic system has an entrenched double standard when it comes to working together. In the food chain, for example, grocery stores go head to head in heated competition. However, inside each competing grocery store, there is a charge for team work and working together. So, when a food enterprise shows up on the scene that is about working…

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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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Hooligan Farm – David Elias Rises to the Challenge

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David Elias from New Jersey (see photo of David with daughter Jasmin) started food gardening in 2010 after losing his job. The immediate economic need to supplement his family’s nutritional needs precipitated the gardening effort. “What motivates me is giving my family an opportunity to eat better at affordable prices and allow them to eat real food that is not processes junk,” says Elias. For Elias, food gardening for the family awakened other visions and opportunities. As a jujitsu teacher and competitor, Elias started seeing the benefits of eating cleaner. Soon he was growing so much that he could sell the extra to friends, family, co-workers, fellow athletes and coaches.…

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Katie’s Krops – How One Girl Re-instates the Connection Between Gardening and Solving Hunger

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As much as we may try, the connection between eating and raising food is permanent. From subsistence farming, the world passed the gavel of raising food to farmers and now to industrial farming. In world almost exclusively organized around dollars, hundreds of millions of people have been externalized from the money it takes to buy from the farm via the grocery store. It took a nine year old girl to figure out that solving hunger was somehow related to raising food. Back in 2008, Katie Stagliano – a third grader, took on a school project to raise a cabbage. Her cabbage turned out to be a 40 lb. wonder. She…

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Market Farmer Profile – Stop Waiting and Jump Right In

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Farmer Erik (Erick Halvorson) – also a student at WSU Vancouver, Washington – thinks it’s best to take action with one’s dreams. With access to five (5) farmers markets within a 30 minute drive from his small enterprise, Halvorson is one of some 70,000 farms in the U.S. that only sells directly to consumers. Halvorson began in 2013, leasing 5 acres from his parents to fill, what he calls, a childhood dream. Halvorson started his first year on the animal side of things – based on pasture-raised regimens. He offers eggs, pork and turkey. For 2015, Halvorson is expanding his offerings to include vegetables from a ¾ acre market garden.…

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Symphony of the Soil – A Film Review

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Symphony of the Soil is a full-length film (104 minutes). Produced by Deborah Koons Garcia, the film received a New York Times “Critics’ Pick” listing. Garcia is also the producer of a previous film called The Future of Food – an in depth look at the dangers of GMO foods. Garcia’s style is to find world-class experts on the subject of her films and then weave their testimony between stunning facts and revelations. Symphony of the Soil brings experts together on the story of what soil is, the diversity of life in soils, how plants and microbes work together to survive, the farming and ranching practices that can maintain and…

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Old New MacDonald Had a Farm – eee iii eee iii ooo

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What is a farm and what is food? I remember my shock when learning about Roundup Ready GMO corn. The corn has been tampered with to create toxins. When the corn borer eats the corn, it kills the pest. Since when does a plant – whose role is to be a pesticide – become food? Most sweeteners, especially in soft drinks, come from corn sweeteners sourced from GMO Roundup Ready corn. In my previous life, as a consultant to stressed farms, many of my clients raised sugar beets. Controlling weeds was a major problem. Around 2008, the sugar beet industry – nationwide – converted to GMO sugar beets. The sugar…

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Garden Therapy for Seniors – Unique Georgia Non-Profit Cultivates the Way

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Garden therapy plus social interaction is the goal of the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA). The Council believes that gardening aids seniors in maintaining good physical and mental health by creating and working in food gardens. The ACCA has developed two gardens for use by seniors. The gardens were especially made with raised beds for easy access. To enhance the program, ACCA provides volunteers to interact and assist the seniors. Additional help for the seniors comes from volunteers from The University of Georgia’s UGArden program. The UGArden program teaches students how to raise food organically and sustainably. The first garden was once an abandoned parking lot. It is now…

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Top 5 Best Ways to Enhance Your Garden

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Number 1: Foliar Sprays By Far Most Important: First and most important, is a Foliar Spray. This is a very basic technique used by many expert level growers. Regardless of, if you are in an indoor environment or an outdoor environment, your plants uptake 8-20 times more nutrients through the leaves than through the roots. That means foliar spray, and regularly. But What Do I Spray? Some of the best products to spray on your plants to promote and enhance growth are, Organic Acids. Organic Acids consist of Soluble Kelp, Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid and Amino Acids. These products you can Foliar Spray on anything from indoor house plants to large outdoor trees…

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