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Farm Lot 59 – What’s the Message?

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Touch the Soil News #643 (feature photo courtesy of Farm Lot 59) In 1881, in what is now known as Long Beach, California, the city’s early founders identified a 4,000 acre area to create a new town. Of this land, 300 acres was carved out for the city portion and the other 3,700 acres were divided into 20 acre small farms numbered from 1 through 185. Farm Lot #59 is the last remaining plot that has not been urbanized. Owned by the city of Long Beach, Farm Lot 59 has been leased to Long Beach Local – a nonprofit that now oversees the operations of Farm Lot 59 as a…

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Should You Join the Urban Food Movement for Economic Reasons?

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Touch the Soil News #495 Officials say the U.S. economy is getting better. Poverty has marginally decreased, hunger in America has gone down by a percent or two and average incomes are up by a hair. Who are we trying to kid here? Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau does what it calls the American Community Survey. In the survey, they divide the population up into 5 parts (quintiles). Each quintile represents 20 percent of U.S. households. The average household has 2.54 people. The following Info Graphic #1 illustrates income averages for the U.S. population broken up into fifths (quintiles): Translating labor into dollars is becoming more of a challenge.…

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SPIN Webinar – Chance to Meet Real Market Gardeners

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Touch the Soil News #439 What: Meet professional SPIN market gardeners Annabel Khouri and Eric Stoffer. They are the owner/operators of Bay Branch Farm in Cleveland, Ohio. When: Friday, July 29, 2016 Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time Zone How to Register: Click on the following link to register ahead of time: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6285720334624546562 Eric and Annabel’s first year’s gross was $4,517 on 5,000 sq. ft. working as a team about 20 hours per week. Since then they have moved, honed their growing skills, developed an impressively varied crop repertoire, and established multiple sales channels.  Now they’ve got 6,500 sq.ft. and a hoop house and are looking to maximize sales. But they…

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SPIN Webinar – Meeting Market Garden Revenue Targets – July 21, 2016

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Touch the Soil News #429 What: Professional market gardeners John Greenwood, Cale Sprister and Sam Gessaman explain how they are meeting their revenue targets at Lil’ City Farms. When: Thursday, July, 21st Time: 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time Zone How to Register: Click on the following link to register ahead of time: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8375919427305192450 Join in to find out if they’ve met their early season targets for: –plantings –harvests –sales We’ll review what changes they are making to their crop plans, pricing and workflow. Plus, we’ll take an in-depth look at how they are building their brands with both online and offline marketing: –sampling –secret discounts –recipes –facebook shop –text alerts –and more….. BYOQ -…

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SPIN Webinar – The Nutritionist Market Gardener – Feb. 25, 2016

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Touch the Soil News #311 What: Professional nutritionist Caroline Barrington joins the SPIN Webinar series as she explains how to mesh nutritional science with the successful market garden business plans of SPIN / Seed to Cash. When:  Thursday, February 25, 2016 Time: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time Zone How to Register: Click on the following link to register ahead of time: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4972315209847504652 Want more information on creating your own market garden business? Look into Backyard Riches Seed to Cash program and join the thousands of others who are building profitable home-based businesses serving the food needs of their local communities. Three different guides show you how to achieve a…

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Following the Cities

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Touch the Soil News #277 The local food and urban farm movement is catching the attention of cities across the nation. No, they are not directly subsidizing local farmers, but they are trying to implement new codes and regulations that are local food and urban farming supportive. In this news piece we are going to sample some of the cities in which grass-roots efforts have paid off. Mostly below the media radar, local food activists are getting cities to become urban farming friendly San Antonio, Texas (from the Rivard Report http://therivardreport.com) Effective 1/1/2016, the city of San Antonio created a new zoning designation called the “residential market garden” as a…

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Recycling Freight Containers for Farming

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Touch the Soil News #248 Called Freight Farms, the company manufactures what they call the “Leafy Green Machine.” It’s a fully contained farm in a used 40 foot shipping container. The unit comes with its own computerized brain that allows you to monitor and control temperature, moisture, humidity and nutrients flowing to the hydroponic system. And, you do all of this with your smartphone. All yours for about $75,000 per container. The growing lights are a pink hue and there are Bluetooth-connected speakers embedded in the ceiling making it easy to access our favorite playlist. But, don’t let the smallness of the shipping container fool you. In an area of…

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Detroit Urban Agriculture – Flirting With 20,000 Acres

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Touch the Soil News #238 The city of Detroit has evolved into a kind of ground zero for re-inventing the economics of the world. The blighted city has caught the imagination of urban farmers. In 2013, the city filed bankruptcy. Through a series of tense negotiations and restructuring, the city was able to exit bankruptcy in November of 2014. In deep economic trouble, there were 26,406 properties affect by tax foreclosures last year – more than three times the number recorded in 2009. When added all up, the number of vacant lots in Detroit add up to a staggering 20,000 acres. At the top of the list of what should…

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Moving to a New Neighborhood? Oops, I mean Agrihood

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Touch the Soil News #234 Welcome to Serenbe, a real estate development south of Atlanta, Georgia. Serenbe’s developer, Steve Nygren, was raised on a farm. As a successful restaurant operator, Nygren purchased 1,000 acres of forest and farmland. He felt it was time for a new kind of living. Serenbe is an upscale community with some 200 homes at present. In the middle of the development is a 25 acre organic farm run by professional organic farmers. At first, Nygren was apprehensive about the success of such a project. However, the first 20 lots that were put on the market in Serenbe were sold in 48 hours.  In a recent…

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Atlanta, Georgia – Bring on Market Gardening and Urban Farming

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Touch the Soil News #232 Every once in a while you get surprised when an institution of power steps forward to do the right thing. It just takes you back as the media is full of the opposite. This time it is a municipality – the City of Atlanta. Under the leadership of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the City Council, the city recently passed historic laws to enable urban food and agriculture to flourish in the city. The Seal of the City of Atlanta, Georgia. It is of the Phoenix symbolizing re-brith as the Phoenix comes back to life out of the fire. While it may not be a…

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