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Svalbard Global Seed Vault

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Touch the Soil News #704 (feature photo – CC SA 3.0) The Svalbard Seed Vault is a repository of global plant diversity. The seed vault is in an abandoned Arctic coal mine, deep inside a mountain on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The island of Spitsbergen covers an area of 14,546 square miles, slightly larger than the state of Maryland. It has a permanent population of 2,600 people and borders the Arctic Ocean to the North. With over 4.5 million seeds in its vaults, the Svalbard Seed Vault has become the “safety net” of humanity. It recently served to provide genetic seed stock that was destroyed in the ongoing war…

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Mankind Scores a Food Victory – Despite Itself

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Touch the Soil News #256 We’ve all heard about the social disruption in Syria due to military maneuvers and self-destructive activities in the region. So, whoever thinks about the agricultural risks brought on by war? In the midst of the Syrian conflicts and mass emigrations of the local people, not only has agriculture been compromised, but so have the regions agricultural “seed” resources. The International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) was forced to move its seed collections from Syria to Morocco and Lebanon. In all of the turmoil, some of the seed stocks were compromised. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway – the world’s safety net…

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The Dow & Dupont Merger – Are the Giants Faltering?

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Touch the Soil News #254 When investors want more money, Katy bar the door. The recent merger announcement by two of the world’s largest farm chemical companies suggests that it was masterminded by behind-the-scenes investors pushing for an unusual merger and subsequent restructure into three (3) companies. Both Dow and Dupont are giants in the farm chemical industries (chemical factory painting by Carsten Eggers) So who are the biggest stockholders in the two companies? Actually they are the same. They are not individuals, but two (2) different investment management firms. The first is Blackrock, Inc. which owns 6.3 percent of Dupont and 5.5 percent of Dow. The Vanguard Group owns…

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