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Friday, February 20, 2015

Cycles & Markets

bicycle in Florence, Italy
Cycling Routes - one of the top 7 Landscape Architecture trends of the 21st Century

While this may sound like a financial piece, today’s post touches upon trends and something written about earlier this week.  First, let's talk what's trending; one of the top 7 Landscape Architecture trends of the 21st century - cycling routes, which stands as # 4 on the list of 7. In this recent LA Newsfeed article, the European planners and landscape architects seem to be one pedal ahead of the game. Anyone in the design game realizes making cities more bicycle-friendly can prove challenging with the never-ending growth of city traffic, pedestrians and vehicles.  Plus, many U.S. cities were not designed with bicycles in mind. Overall transportation can make or break the economic viability of a region, urban or otherwise. In my Friday morning opinion, cycling routes hit the number one chart on this priority trending list.

With the artic chill and massive snowfall in Massachusetts, bicycles may not appear a logical mode of getting from A to B. But when weather is conducive to riding, it makes for safer travel when there are designated routes as everyone vies for the same destination. The U.S. is catching up in this design realm. Implementing and connecting safe and viable travel cycle routes whenever possible as well as an expansion into the existing infrastructure (i.e., rail-trails) already in place makes for great design sense. So onto the next topic at hand.
A farmers market in Florence, Italy
Buying local and fresh = farmers
It’s a follow-up article to the Wednesday Sound Bites post, where a local forum was mentioned regarding Worcester becoming a food hub for farmers. Here’s a recap from the Telegram. Com about the outcome of the discussion. Unfortunately I could not attend last evening's event but there are a couple of factors worth noting from today's article

Finding that balance of buying local with the associated costs to the local farmer(s) can be a difficult math equation to fulfill. The price a local product or good can be sold for compared to that same product in a larger chain/supermarket is an equation that proves an uneven playing field, especially as the farmer stands to lose out if the product is sold for less than what it cost to grow. So the logic applied - have a farmer contract grow, as was mentioned in the above article. This means putting all your crops into one basket so to speak.The financial flip-side of that equation needs to be looked at as well. Let's taken an easy example - a farmer contract-grows a block of tomatoes and the crop suffers from a blight or some other weather factor tumbles into the roulette of the growing season. That particular contract crop cannot go to market and with all his crops in one basket, it becomes a huge financial loss to the farmer.  Plus there's a large gap for the end user(s) that was counting on that tomato supply as well. None of it is insurmountable but all pros and cons to the farmer and the end user(s) need to be closely looked at to ensure a win-win situation for all. Remember, farmers are business owners as well. 

So back to this frigid February Friday. Are you wondering when we will ever see past the snow? Looking forward to feedback, thoughts, and until then, we’ll count the 28 #daystillsspring.

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)