Andrew Heller: We could all use some more concern for our blueberries.” That headline sure enough caught my eye the other day. Heller’s blog post for a Michigan online publication related the origin of the “concerned about the blueberries” headline and its billboard inspiration.

Long story short, “I’m concerned about the blueberries” is shorthand for our everyday concerns (blueberries aren’t getting enough rain, in the first instance) and how we can - in a “pay it forward” mind set, if you will - help each other lighten the load of our worries. From the blog:

 “We all go through the day and we see people who have blueberries – their own issues – and we don’t do anything. Even when it’s not about rain, when it’s something we can impact, we show just how desensitized we’ve become. We aren’t as helpful to the common man in even the small things in life.”

So he put up the billboard. And the billboard’s message is supposed to communicate to you and me that, as Shaltz puts it: “Blueberries are the concerns and the hurdles and the struggles that all of us deal with in a day.”

They are? OK, I don’t quite get it either. But apparently a lot of people do. The news stories about the blueberries have been shared a bazillion times online. A Fenton woman credits Shaltz’s message with helping her recover from the death of her daughter’s father, saying, “It is important to remember that, in the face of our struggles, we all face our own blueberries and even a kind word from a stranger can make a difference in someone’s life.”

And now Shaltz is collecting stories about those blueberries on a new website ( The idea is to share your concerns and maybe motivate others to help others “just because,” even if it’s just with a kind word.


If you are blue about blueberries, or apparently anything else, check out the website.

Fittingly, Michigan Sen. Debbie’s Stabenow “blueberry” concern is the farm bill. The first public meeting of the farm bill conference committee will occur tomorrow. I’ll listen on the expected hours-long parade of opening statements online. After the posturing that will take place tomorrow, we may have a bit better idea if the farm bill conference can produce a winning result. Check out the details of the meeting here .

The USDA’s Economic Research Service has a database that is searchable for research on nutrition assistance programs.


Argentina’s consumers have it rough, with the price of salad recently higher than the price of steak, the USDA reports . Also of interest on the international scene is this 17-page report on the Mexican retail market.