Urban Farm Proposal Shines Hope on Detroit - The Lempert Report
April 8, 2009
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The Lempert Report for Thursday April 9, 2009
An urban farm proposal shines hope on Detroit
Crushing losses at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have devastated Detroit. Empty lots stain entire neighborhoods, foreclosures taint other at-risk homes, unemployment is high, and people feel low.
Yet prospects of lush, productive urban farms could soon bring some optimism to this gritty city. Hantz Farms proposes to convert barren blocks into inner-city agricultural engines that help feed, employ and regenerate the town. In the first phase, more than 70 acres of underutilized vacant lands and abandoned properties on Detroits lower east side would be used to grow natural, local, fresh fruits and vegetables. They have aligned with Michigan State University for its expertise on agricultural and soil sciences, and with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a leader in community-based food systems.
The idea is not original, but the scale could make it the nations leading example of urban farmingthe combination of land consolidation, blight removal, conservation of city services, and the beautification of the city itself are just some of the byproducts that can come from this commitment to urban farming. Detroit may be depressed now, but fresh ideas like these are essential to the citys uplift. If forests can re-grow after wildfires—with the help of sunlight that nurtures life anew at ground level—this great city driven by human spirit and a common purpose can rise again. It would be an inspiration across the United States. Take one part, bottled water tax, one part a growing demand for clean water and what do you get?
Brita and Pur have already convinced many of us to forgo the bottle and use pitchers that have built in water filters, now, a new competitor - Zero Water goes one step further. With an ion exchange filter that according to the company, is the only one that meets the FDA's definition for purified bottled water. What is most important, is that the pitcher includes this z-tester - a device that tests not only the water in the Zero Water pitcher to let you know when its time for a filter change... but any water, any time. zerowater.com What are you doing to enticing recession-weary consumers? To say that 2009 has been a watershed year for consumer spending would be an understatement. Though food suppliers and retailers havent been hurt as badly as others -- yet, theyre fending off the worst of todays tight spending realities with sharp offers that keep people buying. Nobody knows what will happen. But a new study, Point of View: How Will This Recession Affect the Future of Retailing, by
PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Retail Forward, suggests a rebound will take shape by 2010 and retail winners will be operators who tailor existing stores to specific customer segments and local markets as opposed to adding stores". Look for more creative strategies such as breaking the 80/20 rule with more limited editions to generate shopper excitement. So much the better if these puncture limiting shopper behaviors cited by a majority of respondents to the Retail Forward survey, 65% are reportedly buying only things I truly need, 55% buying fewer things AND 54% shopping less often. The report anticipates that food-drug-mass channels will fare relatively well, though their growth will slow tremendously to 2.4% in 2009, a near three-percentage-point decline from their average annual rate during the 2003-2008 period. The Lempert Report sees that a steady stream of innovative, limited-run products could stand out as small, affordable indulgences. These items will serve an escapism from daily pressures and bring small relief to a tense populace holding on for dear life. For more analysis and insights log on to the B2B page of
SupermarketGuru.com. The Lempert Report uploads right here every Thursday. To reach me directly, please email me at Phil@SupermarketGuru.com For information on New Products, visit our weekly videocast: