Posted on

Getting Farming into the City

Touch the Soil News #880 (Feature photo Great Seal of Long Beach, California) While an industrial farm may manage tens of thousands of acres, the number of potential young farmers that can leverage into an operation of this size is virtually non-existent. The farming revolution of today is how new farmers are starting – in the city. This trend is supported by changes in tax laws that provide incentives to put urban land into agricultural production. Long Beach, California – a city of almost 500,000 – just passed an agricultural land tax ordinance to promote getting land into agricultural production. Essentially, the idea is to give landowners a tax break…

Read more

Posted on

New York City is Concerned About Raising Food?

Touch the Soil News #848 (Feature photo – Bernie Sanders (left) with Rafael Espinal – photo courtesy of Rafeal Espinal) The New York City Council is considering a bill – proposed by Rafael Espinal – to develop a comprehensive urban agriculture plan. Wow, a city of 8.5 million people where there is an average of one person every 1,000 square feet. While it sounds quite far out, the point is that there is a lot of sentiment that the industrial food system has too many problems to fix. People have to fix it from the ground up. In specifics, the law proposed by Rafael Espinal seeks to establish a comprehensive…

Read more

Posted on

A Long Shot At Rethinking America

Touch the Soil News #662 The State of Illinois is considering legislation that would formalize urban food and farming throughout the whole state. Illinois State Representative Sonya Harper (Democrat) is proposing urban agriculture zones. Illinois is the sixth most populous state with a population of almost 13 million. Sonya Harper has lived in a food desert most of her life. What this legislation aims to achieve is to break up food deserts and put vacant lots to use by establishing urban agriculture zones that would incentivize the sale of locally grown foods. An agriculture zone would be made up of organizations or individuals who grow produce or other agricultural products…

Read more

Posted on

Creeping Away from Wall Street?

Touch the Soil News #587 Twenty years ago, urban sourced food was not a threat to Wall Street, organized capital or industrial food models. For all practical purposes, food was the domain of big farms and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The past few years have seen tremendous consolidation among grocery chains, farm chemical companies, food manufacturers and ever larger confinement animal feeding operations. Underneath, Wall Street news is packed with industry consolidations and stockholder triumphs over labor when it comes to access to company profits. So while it looks like Wall Street is thriving, there are definite counter-currents that are attracting the passions of people. Worthy of note are…

Read more