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Should Food Co-ops Be a Cafeteria?

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Touch the Soil News #466 One of the biggest problems the food chain faces is food waste. One of the biggest challenges grocery stores face is the spoilage of fresh produce before it is sold. Add to this that American’s love to eat out and maybe there is something to think about here. A recent Gallup poll showed that consumers voted restaurants the top business sector ahead of the computer industry. All other business sectors came in less and the Federal Government came in last. The National Restaurant Association’s research shows that nine out of 10 consumers say they enjoy going to restaurants and two in five say restaurants are…

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The Most Impacting Food & Ag Discovery of the Century

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Touch the Soil News #331 Do we really know why food has to travel thousands of miles? Why does food on an average dinner plate have to be a concoction that may be sourced from several continents? For most of us, we think that the answer to this question is simply that it cannot be produced locally. Research at the University of California at Merced under the direction of Professor Elliott Campbell has just proved us all wrong. Using satellite images and soil data banks across the nation, it was discovered that 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their…

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How Much of the Free-Enterprise Food System is Unhealthy?

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Touch the Soil News #302 When national governments pass laws and regulations to curb certain foods, you know the problem is big. On the radar screen for curtailment in Mexico is soda pop. Of concern is Mexico’s out-of-control obesity and diabetes rates. Mexico has the highest rate of overweight and obese adults in the world along with an estimated 10 million Mexicans who have diabetes. The latest reports reveal that 7 out of 10 Mexicans are overweight and 1/3 of the population is clinically obese. Obesity rates among the poor in Mexico are even higher. In 2014, Mexico implemented a 1 peso per liter tax on sugary drinks in attempts…

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Russia Wants to Lead the World in Organics and No GMOs

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Touch the Soil News #257 Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Russian Parliament that Russia should become the world’s largest supplier of organic foods. As Putin said: “It is necessary to have a nationwide approach on the issue and also by 2020 to fully meet Russian demand for locally produced Russian food.” Vladimir Putin (63) is publically ostracizing GMO foods and striving for an organic-based farming culture in Russia. In January 2015, Putin signed the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences into law, which included a new article establishing liability for the violation of mandatory labeling of food products that contain GMO’s. Russia is adopting a policy of not…

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Changing Public Perception Precedes Big Change

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Touch the Soil News #235 Public perceptions of the fossil-fuel industry are rapidly turning sour. This is a pattern of thinking not totally unlike perceptions about food and industrial agriculture. Is it possible that by observing current fossil-fuel perceptions that we see a pattern of thinking that could further infect attitudes towards industrial agriculture? For market gardeners and urban farmers, it is probably worth following the emerging demise of the fossil-fuel industry. Attitudes towards fossil-fuel burning will not only affect big oil companies, but $ trillions in investments as oil, gas and coal stocks loose value. In many ways, the loss of investments in fossil fuels will hurt many investors…

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Urban Farming / Market Gardening News Round-up

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Touch the Soil News #233 The urban food landscape is one of the most dynamic spaces in the modern world. It is where minds meet, where creativity springs forth and where people have a fresh look at the future. Following are some recent examples of this exciting new paradigm. Futurists and Sustainable City Design Engineers are increasingly incorporating urban farming into city planning. Design engineers from Human Habitat ( http://www.humanhabitat.dk ) of Copenhagen, Denmark have put their heads together to design the Impact Farm. The farm is intentionally designed to take advantage of under-utilized urban space. It consists of an assembly-kit of pre-made components that when they are put together…

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News Roundup

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Touch the Soil News #214 Beer Breweries Illustrate Public Demand for Diversity The demand for a more diverse supply of agricultural products is not just in food, but drink as well. The Brewers Association recently announced that the U.S. now has over 4,000 breweries. That last time this was so was in 1873. California Leads in Curtailing Antibiotics in Farm Animals According to Reuters, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that sets the strictest government standards in the United States for the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The bill, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, will restrict the regular use of antibiotics for disease prevention…

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Hometown Versus Wall Street

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Touch the Soil News #172 Going public (your stock is sold on Wall Street) means you’ve achieved a certain size, standardized financial control and a potential for growth. Going public means you can sell stock to savvy investors. First and foremost in the minds of investors is the return. We are all familiar with the kinds of things that getting a return sacrifices in order to deliver gratuitous CEO salaries, stock dividends and rising stock values. To corral all the money investors want, we can generally expect: 1) A decline in product quality. 2) Pressure to keep folks at low wages. 3) Taking environmental shortcuts. 4) Exporting jobs overseas. However,…

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Reasons to Garden Are Escalating

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Touch the Soil News # 153 There are hundreds of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) around the world drawing attention to the fact that food availability today – and moving forward – is not as it was. One source we have deemed credible is the World Resources Institute (WRI). The WRI has some 450 experts that crunch data in over 50 countries. The WRI maintains offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. With an annual budget of $65 million, the WRI is one of the world’s top resources in identifying hot spots and issues of ecological concern. While there are a number of areas the WRI focuses…

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Food-Chain News Roundup

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Touch the Soil News # 149 Billionaires and Food Vietnam’s only billionaire, Pham Nhat Vuong, through his investment company Vingroup, is putting together a $46.5 million dollar greenhouse food enterprise. Up till now, Vuong has been involved in property development – making agriculture a total departure from his norm. Helping in the project is Israeli company Netafim. Netafim builds out greenhouses and is the world’s leader in drip irrigation products and technology. Vuong represents just one small investor, among a growing flock of investors looking to harness their dollars in food and agriculture. Greenhouse food production near cities attracts billionaire Farmers Open Grocery Store Two Canadian farmers – Simone Rudge…

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