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Seedling Farm – Quiet Social Revolution

Touch the Soil News #865 (Feature photo – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) The South Dallas area of Dallas, Texas is known for its poverty and lack of access to healthy food. It is considered one of the largest food deserts in the U.S. Folks in the South Dallas area are trying to lift themselves up by the bootstraps through an urban farming initiative. Called the Seedling Farm, here is how it works: Meet with a seedling farm manager to discuss your situation and resources. Select the best types of plants for your project. The selected seeds will be started at the seedling farm until they are ready to replant. You…

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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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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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Urban Agriculture – It’s Big

Touch the Soil News #766 (feature photo – courtesy of FAO) According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FA0), a division of the United Nations, 800 million people worldwide practice urban agriculture. These urban agriculture efforts account for roughly 15 to 20 percent of the world’s food supply. The FAO sees urban agriculture as reaching far beyond just vegetables to include small animal agriculture (rabbits, goats, sheep, dwarf cattle, pigs, guinea pigs and fish). Urban agriculture includes trees for fruit and fuel wood. Small garden plots can be up to 15 times more productive than rural holdings. The FAO is working to expand the recognition of urban agriculture as an…

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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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Urban Food Systems – A New Cornerstone of Urban Infrastructure

Touch the Soil News #754 (feature photo – Joe Mabel – CC SA 3.0) As many of the stories we cover reveal, connecting with urban food (agriculture) is as much about other benefits as it is about the direct food benefit. We are all familiar with the policy directives of the national government through the USDA – ditto for other governments as well. This “centralized” policymaking approach to the world’s food systems is slowly being challenged by Municipal (city) efforts to establish their own food policies. Toronto, Canada has one of the most advanced and mature Food Policy Councils. The 30-member councils is free to be creative in bringing urban…

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Developing New Farmers

Touch the Soil News #724 (Feature Photo – Kimball Musk – cofounder of Square Roots, and brother of Elon Musk of Tesla – CC SA 3.0 GNU Free Doc License) For years, the USDA has been publishing statistics that farmers are getting older and the children are not coming home to the farm. Many young people, who are not farmers, do want to come home to the farm, just not the industrial farm in the hinterlands. Welcome to Square Roots. It’s a company dedicated to cultivating new farmers. Only these new farmers do not have a farming background, they are staying in the city and their getting set up into…

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Is Shipping Container Farming for You?

Touch the Soil News #711 (photo courtesy of Alescalife) Chinese startup Alescalife is promoting shipping container farming. Their business model is to create and sell what they call the EDN (Every Day Nutrition). They refer to the EDN as the all-in-one solution optimized for growers of every size. Alescalife boasts that its shipping container farms can be operated by one person working about 2 hours a day. The farm comes with a one-year guarantee. The company does not publish a price. Alescalife recently came into the news because of the enormous agricultural problems China has. Estimates are that one fifth of farmland in China is compromised by chemicals and toxins.…

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Kelp4Less News – Discovering the Mega-Trends for You

Touch the Soil News #707 (photo – Kelp4Less News Editor Benjamin Gisin) For those of you familiar with our news postings, you know we cut a broad swath as relates to happenings in the food chain. We are now well into our third year of publishing the “News” page. During this time, we are keen to discover trends. Following are three (3) mega-trends we see unfolding that may have relevance to what you are doing: Food tremors (when things go wrong in the food chain) are increasing in size and number. There are two main reasons for this. 1) The financial world has pushed the industrial food chain into a…

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Far Reaching Concepts

Touch the Soil News #670 (photos courtesy of Sasaki) International architecture firm Sasaki, with offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Shanghai, China is looking to re-invent food and cities in a big way. The firm just unveiled plans for a 250 acre urban farm to be integrated into the city of Shanghai, China. Shanghai is the world’s largest metropolitan area of over 35 million people. This urban farm is intended to integrate the latest vertical and urban farming technologies. There will be algae farms, floating greenhouses, vertical walls and seed libraries. Farming models will include hydroponics and aquaponics (includes fish). The project, when completed, is intended to produce enough food for…

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