GOOD

The Economic Case for Loving This Spiky, Tropical Fruit

The underrated breadfruit holds big promise for independent farmers and small business owners in the Caribbean

Original image by Hans Hillewaert via Wikimedia Commons

A while back, I first wrote about the spiky, green football that is the breadfruit. It was perhaps the most enthusiastic endorsement of a piece of fruit I’ll ever pen in my life. Several groups had been promoting the low-maintenance, bountiful, and nutritious produce as a partial solution to hunger in the world’s poor, rural, and growing tropics. Unfortunately, breadfruit carried a reputation for blandness, and getting new groups to adopt it had been a challenge. But that initial blandness also makes breadfruit an excellent blank slate as it can be adapted into a variety of different foods. I suggested that once the fruit’s modern culinary potential had been further explored, some organizations would start to work beyond breadfruit’s basic ability to feed the hungry. By finding new ways to preserve, package, and sell this fertile, yet highly perishable produce, an emerging breadfruit industry could create new jobs and businesses around the world.

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When Mental Health is the Best Investment

Businesses’ investment in mental health is proven to boost their bottom lines. Can developing economies benefit from the same strategy?

Mental health disorders are among the most common debilitating afflictions in the world. This reality is almost certainly exacerbated in poorer countries, given a lack of mental health resources and the demonstrated linkage between poverty and the risk of developing adverse psychological conditions. Yet pervasive social stigmas about mental health still make it difficult to convince governments, businessmen, and donors to invest in campaigns for greater resources, especially in economically struggling countries. Fortunately, there may be a way to convince hardheaded people all over the world that contributing to mental health provision efforts will be in their interest. Even if they don’t participate out of the goodness of their hearts or the recognition of the realities of mental health’s personal ravages, there’s a good argument to be made that providing these service just makes practical business sense. Because these days, a growing body of literature suggests funding improved mental health resources is one of the best economic investments a country or company can make.

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Encouraging Small Businesses

Vacant storefronts keep a healthy block from feeling complete. How to bring small, local business activity to these under-utilized commercial spaces?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUmSs72z2ZM

Even the most vibrant neighborhoods haven't emerged unscathed by the recession. Small commercial districts have suffered a loss of small businesses, and with them come vacant storefronts, which not only become targets for vandalism, but also keep a healthy block from feeling complete. As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities Dallas, the Elmwood Neighborhood Revitalization team tackled the challenge of bringing small, local business activity to these under-utilized commercial spaces in the community of Elmwood, in Dallas. After conducting research in the neighborhood, the team realized that myriad issues—from absentee owners to a lack of identity—contributed to the high vacancy rate, but the one way they could quickly improve the area was to increase the vibrancy on the street with unique, affordable-to-execute experiences.

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