Entrepreneurs

U.S. economy rebounds thanks to huge growth of farmers markets

WASHINGTON– In a surprising turn of events, new financial data from the Federal Reserve brought jubilation to both Main Street and Wall Street yesterday as the economic picture for job growth, new business starts and overall household income improved markedly improved since last month. But financial analysts were bewildered about the source of this sudden economic rebound: farmers markets reopening for spring with fresh produce.

“The looming economic recession that kept Americans on the edge of their seats for the past months has been entirely and unexpectedly averted by an infusion of revenue generated at local farmers markets,” said a grinning Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, at an appearance with President Bush at a farmers market in suburban Reston, Virginia. “We should never have underestimated the economic prowess of public markets simply because of their small size, lack of business experience, or previously tiny share of the commodity system.

 clip_image003_0004_large.jpg George Bush and Ben Bernanke

The outlook is even rosier for April and May, as farmer’s markets reopen in many states outside the Sun Belt. Concerns were raised by many economists about what happens late next fall when local farmers markets shut down at the end of harvest season, but Congress was busy all day yesterday drafting emergency legislation to construct thousands of indoor year-round public markets.

The Clinton-McCain-Obama Act, named for its chief sponsors, passed unanimously in both the House and Senate yesterday and was signed by President Bush in a special ceremony at Washington’s Eastern Market this morning. It appropriates more than $37 billion dollars to construct and manage indoor public markets in every county seat and community of more than 2500 people across America.

“Obviously, these sources of local food, public gathering places, and intra-neighborhood commerce are the engine that will drive the economy of the United States,” Bush said as several members of the White House press corps fainted in shock.

While this marks a sudden and fundamental shift in the Bush Administration’s policy, press secretary Dana Perino reminded reporters, “George Bush and Dick Cheney have always been true believers in market economics.”

“This administration may have devoted too much attention to large businesses in our first seven years,” Perino admitted. “But in our last ten months we will do everything possible to level the playing field by boosting small-scale farmers and enterprises that serve Americans right in their communities. Farmers markets are just the beginning. We also intend to boost small, independent neighborhood businesses.”

Economic analysts attribute this huge growth in farmers markets to consumers’ newfound interest in eating locally-sourced food, improving public health, boosting their local economies, creating community gathering places and supporting small, environmentally-friendly farmers everywhere.

“We must publicly acknowledge the new power of farmers markets in the U.S., and admit that we have so far missed the boat on what consumers want: healthy, locally-grown food,” said Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. “We cannot stand in the way of progress. We plan to add organic farmers markets to each Wal-Mart store and will look into tearing up the parking lots to plant heirloom tomatoes.”

Interest in locally produced food is expected to grow substantially, fueled in part by a report to be released next week by the federal Centers for Disease Control that unearths long-buried research establishing clear links between eating locally and wildly prolonged human life expectancy.

Read this and all the other April 1 News at Faking Places. Hope your day was a pleasant one…

Wow ! Newcomers make another impact

See The Spectacular 33 N. Main Renovation Thursday

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What a difference in the building at 33 N. Main in Belmont from August to March!

And here’s your chance to see the renovation that owner Richard LaVecchia has achieved as the new Designing Brides and the relocated Peppermint Shoestring hold an open house and grand opening Thursday, March 13, from 10 AM until 7 PM.

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Nancy Lepore, owner of Designing Brides, and Lynnelle Dobbins, owner of the Peppermint Shoestring Children’s Boutique, extend a special invitation to Chamber members and friends to come by between 5 p.m and 7 p.m. for tours and refreshments.

The building, which was once used as a funeral home, a clothing store, and most recently, a gift basket shop, will be a fine addition to the thriving downtown community.

Several neighbors and friends met Nancy Lepore and her husband, Patrick, last summer during the Friday Night Alive activities.  

Pittenger property plans shown

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The Observer is reporting today that the plans for the 1,100 acres below South Point HS have been shared with city planners.

Almost 3,000 new homes are planned, along with a 36-acre “regional” park, and an additonal 30-acres for an elementary school site.

It is great to see their plans, but some of the land reserved for the park and the school site are basically very difficult and expensive terrain to develop.

It is both a good news and bad news type of story. The good news is that they plan a long term build out of the project — 15 to 20 years; The bad news is that the road plan is also a bit questionable. It is relying heavily on the use of South Point Road and an unfunded “spine” road closer to the South Fork River, connecting with Armstrong Ford Road(Main Street) near Timberlake and connecting to the Garden Parkway.

We hope that this particular road is built BEFORE the proposed houses and towncenters are approved. If you think South Point Road is busy now, wait for this development to take off.

Unfortunately — well maybe fortunately — the state builds roads, Senator Pittenger has a very cozy relationship with the development firms around the state. We would not be too surprised if this “spine road” gets fastracked. As former city councilmember Irl Dixon once stated, the TIP ( transportation Improvement Program) had already designated that a road needed to be built and overlayed a road path. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan by the City of Belmont accepted this overlay, so all things considered, the road could be a go…

Hopefully, the funding will be forthcoming from the state legislature. We know that Representative Wil Neumann of Belmont is supportive, if not for re-election purposes at the very least.  

wil-neumann.jpg (Neumann)    pittenger.jpg (Pittenger)

Other good news on this project is the developer. Haden Stanziale is a recognized leader in large tract development. The project will certainly be first class. The bad news about this developer is that it contributes to the notion of economic cleansing concerns that many in-town and long-time residents have expressed.

When the property taxes on revaluation of property goes sky high two things happen. Pleople sell their property, or they can’t afford the tax bill. In this “bubble-burst” period of housing slowdown, both the resale of existing homes and new homes may help keep the tax values from rising too quickly.

We have a county commission that is very averse to raising pennies on property, but willing to hit the sales tax side for “good causes”  — this is a whole ‘nuther story completely so we won’t talk about it right now.