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Could Feeding the World Be Hard on the Planet?

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Touch the Soil News #583 This is a disconcerting thought at best. But are there any indicators that the scope of agriculture is overwhelming the eco-systems that sustain the world? In order to keep up with global demand for just cooking oil, tens of thousands of acres of a shrinking area of forests are being further deforested for palm oil every year. Repurposing land into farmland is the driving cause of global deforestation – a primary source of oxygen and biodiversity. Last week in Cancun, Mexico, representatives of 167 nations (195 total nations in the world) met to discuss, among other things, agriculture’s consumption (destroying) of global biodiversity. In short,…

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Words of Premonition?

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Touch the Soil News #498 The chairman of the Chinese overseas trade council – Jiang Zengwei – recently made a foretelling announcement. “We must help Chinese agriculture go global, as people have an increased demand for agricultural products with improved quality.” Less than two years ago, China was still steeped in policies that obliged the nation to attempt to produce its own food. That failed, and China is now openly grazing around the world for agricultural assets. Yes, some of the food will be purchased on the global market. However, much of it will come in the form of owning agricultural assets – farmland, food manufacturing facilities, transportation facilities and…

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Clutching for Health

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Touch the Soil News #471 Imagine waking up in the morning in a nation that must feed almost 1.4 billion people, but has slightly less productive crop land than the U.S. with only 325 million people. Now, if that is not enough, imagine that you must compete for a healthy diet with other consumers bidding up the price. Yes, you are in China. This all sets the stage for a booming demand in China for what is called algal EPA-fortified eggs. At the heart of the matter is algae and special strains of algae from which the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is derived. Laying hens are given feed that contains the…

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The Emerging Food Domino Effect

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Touch the Soil News #276 Emerging in the global food landscape is what could well be called the domino effect. In past decades, the effect of one nation’s struggle for food did not necessarily domino over to other nations. Most nations tried to be somewhat food self-sufficient. Many nations had subsidy programs to support and encourage their national foods and farmers. However, no nation ever considered balancing its population with its ability to feed itself. Then came the World Trade Organization (WTO). To join the WTO, nations had to eliminate subsidies in order for farmers across the oceans to be able to compete with farmers of someone’s homeland. The world’s…

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Feeding Ourselves Versus Climate Change

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Touch the Soil News #272   For 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO (a division of the United Nations) thought we ought to put climate change into perspective. That perspective being how climate change poses risks to global food production. Following are their some of their top concerns:   75 percent of the world’s poor and food insecure rely on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. They are unprotected in the path of climate change. World food production must rise 60 percent to keep pace with population gains and emerging nations eating higher on the food chain. Crop yield declines of 10-25 percent may be widespread by…

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When Big Ag Corporations Think for Us

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Touch the Soil News #209 The agriculture media is saturated with warnings about demand for food outpacing the world’s capacity to raise food. This “fear” so to speak is being leveraged by large industrial agriculture enterprises to gain public support for practices that are unsustainable and exploiting people. Food must be sustainable in order to sustain big populations (photo courtesy of Rakesh Krishna Kamur – Creative Commons 2.0) What would you say to a food security plan that says sustainable production doesn’t work and we need to change focus? That focus being full bore ahead with chemical farming, soil compromising practices and GMO foods that collapse seed diversity and promote…

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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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Impossible Foods – Getting the Google Eye

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Touch the Soil News # 148 To get a more complete picture of what is going on here, a few words about Impossible Foods. Impossible Foods was created by Patrick O. Brown, MD, PhD and a Stanford University Biologist. The business is three years old and is located in Redwood City, California. To date, Brown has assembled an impressive staff of researchers and developers to include over 50 scientists, farmers and engineers. Their goal – make the best meats and cheeses you’ll ever eat – from plants. The team looked at specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate a very realistic experience of meats and dairy…

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Global Super Farm Boggles the Imagination

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Touch the Soil News #108 – Includes 1 video The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has the fastest growing population in the world. The increase in people is driven primarily from immigration. It is no secret the UAE is food insecure and is looking to shore up its food security. The UAE is farmland and water challenged – totally incapable of growing its own food within its national borders. As we reported in an earlier news piece, food imports into the UAE totaled $100 billion in 2014. The UAE government estimates that imports will rise to $400 billion in 10 years. National Emblem of the U.A.E. National Emblem of the Republic…

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Employment Opportunities High in Food and Agriculture

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May 11, 2015 │ Washington D.C.   In partnership with Purdue University, the USDA funded a report called: “Employment Opportunities for College Graduates – in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources and the Environment. Over the years, the USDA has had a special relationship with Purdue University on research projects. The report revealed that between 2015 and 2020 there would be an average of 57,900 job openings each year in the fields related to food and agriculture for graduates with bachelor degrees or higher. Estimates are that there will be only 35,400 college graduates with degrees applicable to the job openings – only 61 percent. The unfilled jobs will go to people…

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