Archive for December, 2009

Gardens on Wheels – A home grown way to improve the quality of life of Seniors

December 28, 2009

It strikes me that many economic development initiatives and efforts are too grand, too vague, too lacking in specifics and focus, lacking in metrics that are necessary to measure progress, and just do not connect with people in a manner to be effective.  Many ED professionals apparently fail to recognize something obvious:

  • ANY ACTIVITY that people do as a group is economic activity
  • ANY ACTIVITY that organizes people is economic development

Take any simple activity that people can do by themselves.  Then, organize that simple activity.  You will have conducted economic development and created economic activity.  You will have promoted business formation and growth, and job growth by simply organizing simple activities.

Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to Senior Citizens.  Gardens on Wheels is a program that delivers container garden plants to Senior Citizens.

With approximately 40 million (40,000,000) Seniors age 65+ in the United States, Gardens on Wheels has the potential to produce a demand for 100 million (100,000,000) units. (It takes more than one plant to make a garden.)  Expanding this beyond the 65+ age groups would provide the potential to grow a significant, domestic industry.  (You can estimate the potential job creation.)

One summer, I drove to Missouri to visit my parents, ages 90 & 87.   Riding with me was a potted tomato plant.  Dad used to maintain a garden, but could no longer.  The potted plant survived the drive.  All Mom had to do was water the plant, and they had fresh tomatoes for a few months. (Tomato plants bear a lot of fruit.)

Gardens on Wheels is a program to provide potted garden plants to Seniors so they might have container gardens.  This could be done in conjunction with local growers and farmer’s markets, and would promote local produce.  The container plants would effectively be a vegetable “coupon” or “sample,” and seniors would acquire a taste for more produce.

Gardens on Wheels would enhance Senior nutrition, promote self-sufficiency, and generally improve the quality of life.  (While a plant does not provide the companionship of a puppy, many Seniors do have enough time on their hands to watch plants grow.)  Also, there in an increasing prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency because people to not spend enough time outside.  Gardens on Wheels give people a reason to go outside for a dose of sunshine.

Here is a very general procedure or project description for Gardens on Wheels:

Gardens on Wheels – General Procedure

Unemployment Rates for February 2010 likely to hit 35% for Anderson,SC & 15% for Anderson County, SC

December 6, 2009

10 Year Unemployment Rates for Anderson, SC & Anderson County, SC

It looks like it will be a long, cold, hard winter in Anderson County, SC

“Unemployment near 30 percent in city of Anderson”

“According to figures provided by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Anderson’s preliminary unemployment rate in the city was 27.9 percent as of Sept. 30, while the county unemployment rate stood at 12.5 percent.

Since January, the city unemployment rate has averaged 27 percent, up 12 points over the 2008 average, and 15 points over the 2007 average.”

It will likely get worse.

In looking at BLS unemployment rate (UR) data for the City of Anderson and Anderson County, the Feb. 2010 UR is likely to hit 35% for Anderson and 15% for Anderson County.

This was determined from looking at UR data from 2000 through 2009; specifically, the percent change in the UR from the months of November to February, and December to February.  From December to January in the above graph, the slope of the UR consistently increases as it crosses the New Year’s Day line.

For the City of Anderson, the average UR increase from Nov. to Feb. is 35% and from Dec. to Feb. is 28%.

For the Anderson County, the average UR increase from Nov. to Feb. is 27% and from Dec. to Feb. is 22%.

The preliminary October 2009 UR for the city and county are 28.1% and 12.9%, respectively. The following, historical data suggests that the UR rates are likely to increase by approximately one-third (1/3) for Anderson city and one-fourth (1/4) for Anderson County between now and February:

Nov.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson City
2001 117
2002 15
2003 7
2004 10
2005 17
2006 46
2007 8
2008 26
2009 66

Dec.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson City
2001 89
2002 13
2003 13
2004 12
2005 16
2006 51
2007 8
2008 14
2009 33

Nov.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson County
2001 119
2002 15
2003 6
2004 12
2005 17
2006 4
2007 0
2008 13
2009 56
Dec.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson County
2001 90
2002 13
2003 13
2004 13
2005 15
2006 7
2007 9
2008 7
2009 31

Christmas shopping season will conclude and the extra retail workers will not be needed. Construction activity will slow during the dreary, winter weather. Tourism jobs take a winter break in Upstate South Carolina.