Tag: local produce

My Small, Local Stimulus Package

I live in rural Columbia County, New York.  Columbia County is about 25 miles SE of Albany, New York, in the Hudson Valley.  It abuts Berkshire County, Massachusetts.  And it’s really beautiful.  It’s also experiencing the same recession as the rest of the country.

The current recession has already thrown the real estate market into a deep freeze, so that home sales are very, very slow.  Fortunately, there have not been a huge number of subprime mortgage foreclosures, though there have been a few.  Gasoline is down to $3.21/gallon today.  Heating oil is $3.389/gallon.  There was an announcement last week that the state was going to close the Hudson Correctional Facility, the second largest employer in the county, within a year.  The Correctional Facility employs 277 workers.  Local politicians of all stripes are fighting the proposal; I’m not optimistic that those jobs will be spared.  Most likely, the jobs will be moved away.

Two decades ago Columbia County used to be filled with dairy farms.  Those farms disappeared during Reagan’s dairy farm liquidations.  There are few dairy farms left.  This has resulted in huge herds of deer, which browse land that was formerly pasture, and a large growth of second homes for people from New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, and Boston (all about 2 hours away).  Two decades ago Columbia County had factories.  Now there are very few.  Mostly, the county is filled with rural, second homes, people who provide services, or telecommute, or commute to Albany, or to Hudson.  There is no Starbucks in Columbia County.  There is a Wal-mart.  There is no Home Depot or Lowes.  There is no large mall though one is planned.  There is a lovely, new food coop in Chatham.  There are many restaurants. There is theater, and an excellent film festival, and art and sculpture.  There are amazing, organic farms.  But I digress.