Posted on

Village Farms – The Changing Face of Fresh Produce

Photo courtesy of Village Farms

Touch the Soil News #170 Village Farms is one of the world’s largest greenhouse fresh-produce operations with some 250 acres of greenhouses under food production – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. CEO Mike DeGiglio in a recent video explains that in the 1980’s only 1 percent of retail tomatoes came from greenhouses. Today roughly 80 percent of retail tomatoes come from greenhouses. Awsome is the reaction to these super-size greenhouses – (photo courtesy of village farms) Village farms boasts that its produce ripens on the vine longer, allowing natural sugars to develop and that they have the shortest times from hand-harvest to grocery store. Recently, Mike DeGiglio was interviewed in…

Read more

Posted on

Dacha Gardening – Small Gardens Produce 51% of Food in Russian Federation

russian-dacha1

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…

Read more

Posted on

Should Hydroponic Enterprises Be Allowed Organic Certification?

National_Organic_Program

The subject of hydroponics receiving organic certification is raging. On April 25, 2015, The Washington Post brought the issue to the mainstream public. While the debate has been going on for years, it has heightened recently. Jeff Moyer, longtime farm director of the Rodale Institute was quoted by the Washington Post as saying: [quote]“Those heads of lettuce that are grown indoors? Yes, they are beautiful. But it’s just a green leaf with water in it. They can’t possibly have the vitamins and minerals that lettuce grown in the soil would have.”[/quote] Moyers words hit the core of the debate – should soil-less forms of food production be allowed organic certification? There…

Read more

Posted on

Food Hardship – Is the Solution Food Gardening?

AmpleHarvestRegisteredFoodPantries

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…

Read more

Posted on

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

KatieWithCropsNow

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…

Read more

Posted on

Symphony of the Soil – A Film Review

DVDCoverPhoto

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…

Read more

Posted on

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

SprayPlane

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…

Read more

Posted on

Why do my tomatoes get Blossom-end Rot and how can I stop it?

blossom end rot

You’ve seen it. A gorgeous tomato: bright, colorful, round . . . until you look at the bottom. Leathery, brown, awful. This is the dreaded Blossom-end Rot. Blossom-end Rot What causes it? How can you get rid of it? Well, surprisingly, blossom-end rot is not a disease. It’s actually caused by a calcium imbalance in your tomato. Blossom-end rot occurs not only in tomatoes, but also in squash, peppers, cucumbers, and melons. When you see blossom-end rot, you need to pick the fruit and get rid of it, because it will rot and infect the plant eventually. So what can cause the calcium imbalance? Well, not having enough calcium in…

Read more