Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 7

In Part 6 of our series, How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty I introduced you to a native wonder plant called Duckweed. Today I'm going to introduce you to a second wonder plant native to North Carolina but first I'd like to address how the City of Greensboro could make these things happen if there were the political will to do so.

In Part 3 I brought up the fact that the City of Greensboro currently has $272 Million Dollars invested in stocks and bonds outside of Greensboro that should be invested in Greensboro. Allowing our own population to do without while building enormous wealth is simply unacceptable. Besides, all that money is under the control of Wall Street Banksters who are without a doubt stealing every penny they can get their hands on. Just last year Greensboro had $273 Million Dollars in that same said account.

It's time to bring our boys back home where they belong.

Not only could the City of Greensboro invest in businesses as I've mentioned in this and previous parts of this series, the City of Greensboro could found for profit businesses as the major investor in publicly traded corporations then over time sell off the City owned shares at a profit. As I wrote in Part 2:

 "This entire series is to be considered an evolving plan and any post is subject to be edited with feedback from readers or as I gleen more information from other sources. After all, any economic plan so set in stone that it cannot change to reflect changes in markets and current economic conditions is doomed to failure from the onset."
That goes for my ideas as well. This is solely my opinion, Duckweed may not be the solution Greensboro wants or needs but it is established fact that economic development through real estate development is and always has been putting the cart before the horse. Empty industrial parks are a sign of failure and have even less potential than an empty field which can still be farmed and might still someday become an industrial park when the need arises. And for this City to keep investing in such pipe dreams while poverty remains above 21%, unemployment is the highest in the state if not the nation and Greensboro remains the second hungriest city in America is simply absurd and inexcusable.

One doesn't have to go through Wall Street to form a publicly traded corporation. Ever heard of over the counter stocks? They can be sold at banks, credit unions, brokers and all sorts of institutions across the country. I learned of this from Mrs Silo, Bessemer Elementary School, 6th grade half a century ago. Other than Gus who owned the Alpat Restaurant on Bessemer Avenue, she was the only Greek person I knew then. That was the same year I read all 20 volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia. Don't tell me I didn't know everything.

And then the gang violence started and school was no longer a safe place to be...

But I was supposed to be talking about another plant called Azolla, native to North Carolina and so common it's sold it pet supply stores as an aquarium plant called Fairy Moss or Mosquito Fern. Azolla caroliniana is the species that grows locally and as you can see from clicking on the first link it has many established uses including animal feed, mosquito control, compost, organic fertilizer, mulch, human consumption. Azolla also grows well on shaded bodies of water where Duckweed doesn't grow.

It's important that both these plants are great for animal feed and can be grown in places where traditional sources of animal feed cannot be grown but what is probably more important is the fact that one of the byproducts of successful farming of Duckweed and Azolla is fish. And the fish that eats these plants the best is Tilapia,  one of the most grown and most sought after fish in the world. 

And were you aware that the world's largest fish farms are located within sight of large toxic, leaking oil refineries? How safe is the food you are feeding your family and how do you know?

Seriously, Folks, Greensboro is currently under contract to buy 52% of the water from the Randelman Dam. That's more water than the City of Greensboro uses and that doesn't take into account our City owned lakes. We have a glut of water at a time when the world's food supplies are endangered, our citizens are the second hungriest in the nation and the highest unemployment in the state. And there's empty properties everywhere you look-- especially in the neighborhoods hit hardest. Do the math: Greensboro should be a major exporter of food, not an importer.

Duckweed and Azolla as an energy product could be piped out of Greensboro via Colonial Pipeline and hauled on trucks and trains. Duckweed and Azolla as food and feed could be grown almost anywhere there's a connection to City water and sunlight. Rain water is preferred but a back-up is needed and water is needed for cleaning. A packing and processing house and a mill would be needed. It's a big undertaking but it would spin off many smaller family owned businesses in Greensboro and beyond as more and more see the potential and get involved.

Or my uncle and I will just raise what we can in our backyards, having free feed for our chickens, fish, parakeets, finches, doves, hamsters, rabbits, worms, etc while the rest of you struggle on. We'll not go hungry, will you?

It's not about the fact that we don't have the assets we need, it's about how we use the assets we have and use them in a sustainable manner. We can be leaders or followers. For the entirety of my 58 years here in Greensboro we've been followers only to end up with over 21% poverty, the highest unemployment in the state and the 2nd hungriest population in America. It might be that my ideas aren't the best solutions but what's been tried so far damned sure hasn't worked.

When I see the status quo trotting out some ideas that aren't just more of the same ol' same ol' then I'll be ready to listen. Until then you might want to give my ideas some thought. 

In Part 8 I'll share an e-mail I sent to the Greensboro City Council.