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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…

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When People Work Together

Touch the Soil News #847 (Feature photo – courtesy of Braddock Farms and Superior Motors) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has an unusual restaurant – it’s called Superior Motors. Chef Kevin Sousa, with the support of over 2,000 dedicated supporters, raised over $300,000 to build the restaurant. It’s called Superior Motors as the restaurant was a renovation of the defunct Superior Motors car dealership. Bucking the trend when it comes to the formation of capital and starting a new business, Superior Motors Restaurant is not finished. The Restaurant is now in the process of developing a greenhouse on its roof and a 4,000 square foot raised-bed farm on its grounds. It is the…

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Go Marcy Kaptur

Touch the Soil News #799 (Feature photo courtesy of Marcy Kaptur) Never heard of Marcy Kaptur? Well, most folks have not. However, Marcy holds the distinction of being the longest running woman representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. In office since 1983 (34 years), Marcy is introducing a new kind of agricultural bill. Called the Urban Agriculture Production Act of 2017 (H.R. Bill #3699), the Bill intends to help create the next generation of local, urban farmers and food producers. At the heart of the legislation is to attack the food-security erosion in much of America – often found in what is termed “food deserts”. As a preface to…

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Seeds of Change

Touch the Soil News #760 (feature photo – Downtown New York – Alex Proimos CC SA 2.0) The history of New York City is the epitome of paving and urbanizing farmland. Since its founding in 1624, New York City and its surrounding metro areas have grown. Today, New York City proper has a population of 8.5 million people. The larger New York City metropolitan area has 23.7 million people. Originally, New York was the lands of the Algonquain Indians, which sold the island of Manhattan in 1626 to Peter Minuit. Minuit was charged with building of the New Netherland for the Dutch. A few days ago, New York councilman -…

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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…

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World’s Most Sweeping Urban Food Vision

Touch the Soil News #536 Strathcona County, located in central Alberta, Canada, is for most of the world not the center of attention. However, this small county of 100,000 inhabitants has decided to rethink its food future in a major way. It would set an example that could attract international attention. What makes Strathcona County different, is the sweeping changes it has identified for potential incorporation into local laws. If Strathcona County moves on its visions, it will be one of the most sweeping remakes of a community in modern world history. Following is an outline of the proposed actions:   Action #1 – Community Gardens Amend land-use laws to…

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SPIN Webinar – Grassroots Profits from Market Gardening

Touch the Soil News #486 In today’s world, economics and finding a business model are more important than ever. SPIN Farming is one of the most effective platforms (with lots of peer support) in building a market garden business. Each month they sponsor a Member Meet-Up where they review the finances, economics, marketing, production and work flows of a successful market garden. SPIN stands for small plot intensive – it’s the most effective route to a successful market garden business.   What: A one-hour Webinar featuring Justin Vandenbroeck of Fleet Farming   When: Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time   Registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7395569572806299651   Connect…

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Agricultural Technicians in Thiruvananthapuram?

Touch the Soil News #485 Thiruvananthapuram is a long weird name for a city in India with a population of 2.6 million. It came to our attention because of an unusual food plan for the city’s inhabitants. A number of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the municipality of Thiruvananthapuram are undertaking an aggressive organic and local food initiative. The initiative is designed to develop a new business model around providing fresh, pesticide-free vegetables to homes in the city – 10,000 homes to be specific. The initiative offers “terrace farming” services in the city. Residents can choose 12 vegetable seedlings from a venue of 30 different offerings. A typical residence can sign…

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Urban Agriculture – Las Cruces Pushes the Envelope

Touch the Soil News #416 The level of public collaboration emerging in the U.S. to foment urban agriculture would not have happened just five years ago. Taking the lead today is Las Cruces, New Mexico – a metropolitan area of some 220,000 people. With the expertise of a 10-person Urban Agriculture Working Group, the City Council, the City Manager, an 11 person technical review team and input from local citizens, the Las Cruces Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Plan was created. The plan was approved by the Las Cruces City Council of June 6, 2016. The 76- page document takes urban food planning to levels previously unheard of. At 3,900…

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