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Fleet Farming – A Portal to the Future of Food

Touch the Soil News #174 As luck would have it, we were able to connect with Heather Grove, program director of Fleet Farming – thanks to introductions facilitated by Roxanne Christiansen of SPIN Farming. Normally, we try to keep our news pieces quite short. However, something comes out of this story on Fleet Farming that has “geometric” potential to evolve humanity in many arenas, not just food. Thus we have a little longer piece. The theme of food organized around not-for-profit endeavors is one we have covered before. This does not mean efforts at food production should go uncompensated. It means organizing something solely around financial considerations is not broad…

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Growing Food – Help for War Veterans Getting Back to Normal

Touch the Soil News # 156 When a good idea hatches, it usually takes a little time for the word to get out and for a vision to take form. Back in 2012, U.S. Marine veteran Chris Brown co-founded Growing Veterans – an organization that combines sustainable farming with helping veterans re-establish some semblance of a normal life. Recently, Growing Veterans have been making news and the word is getting out. Brown, with three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, knows of the injuries veterans come home with that are physical and mental – that can lead to isolation, substance abuse, unemployment and even suicide. Turning attention to growing food and…

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Food, Social Enterprise and the Caring for Others

Touch the Soil News # 142 So what is the world coming to? A bright young woman with a Masters in Business Administration from Portland State has no interest in pursuing the Wall Street Model of business and profit. Instead, she is striving to bring healthy food to the underserved with a goal of only breaking even. Meet Amelia Pape. After graduation, she bought a van and started a mobile business called My Street Grocery in Portland, Oregon. Her mission was to sell healthy food in areas of Portland where there was little access to grocery stores. As her work and idea began to gain visibility she eventually approached Whole…

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What Are Food Hubs? Can They Help You Become A Successful Local Farmer? (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 140 A few years back while visiting La Montanita Food Cooperative in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we learned about local food hubs. The Co-op had asked its 8,000 members about where the Co-op should source its food. The message came back loud and clear – source food locally and regionally. The Co-op was interested in not only fresh and local, but protecting and developing the areas food shed. A food shed strives to enhance the production, processing, delivery and consumption of food within a regional geographic area. A food shed normally incorporates enough area (and customers) to support diverse food production and processing. To fulfill their…

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Grow A Row – Is This a Window into the Future of Food?

Touch the Soil News # 127 The non-profit  “America’s Grow a Row” was started by a non-farmer – Chip Paillex – some 14 years ago in New Jersey. Back in 2002, Chip and his daughter rented a small 30’ X 30’ plot and started planting food crops for the first time in his life. One day they saw a three-line article in the paper that said if you ever have extra produce, “grow-a-row” for the hungry and bring it down to the food pantry. Chip Paillex – Founder of Grow A Row (photo courtesy of Grow A Row) Moved by the simplicity of the message Paillex and his daughter began…

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The Urban Farm Collective – Cornerstone to a New Food Chain (Part 2 of 2)

As we wrote in Part 1, the Urban Farm Collective (UFC) is an effort of many people working together on 15 urban garden plots in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.  Contemplating the UFC enterprise brings up the age-old question: Are we better off working together or going at it alone? Our modern economic system has an entrenched double standard when it comes to working together. In the food chain, for example, grocery stores go head to head in heated competition. However, inside each competing grocery store, there is a charge for team work and working together. So, when a food enterprise shows up on the scene that is about working…

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The Urban Farm Collective – Cornerstone to a New Food Chain (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #122 Food and access to food has been the subordinate child of a chaotic Wall Street with demonstrated insensitivities to planetary ecology and human health. It should not be surprising then that not-for-profit ventures – as relates to food – are exploring beyond the mentality of the corporate board room. From Left to Right – Ari Rosner, Janette Kaden (Founder of UFC), Holli Prohaska (Current Director) Thanks to Holli Prohaska, who worked with us in getting this story together, we get an inside look at the Urban Farm Collective (UFC). The UFC organizes people wanting to work for food, organizes access to land and organizes what…

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