Great thinking and writing on rural community development

5 Jun

We’re rural. Some of us here in the Hood think we’re urban, maybe even a part of Portland but separated by 60 miles of park space. But we’re not. We’re small town, rural, and for me, anyway, that’s the way I like it. But urban and rural communities in Oregon have volleyed shots for years across a high divide. Urban equals money and jobs and liberal pieties. Rural equals poverty and natural resources and conservative values.

True enough, to some extent, but no more universally true of one than the other. I hate that liberal-conservative dichotomy. I’m a little of both. I suspect you are, too. Who speaks for us? Or maybe the question is, who listens — because we speak perfectly fine.

Choosing rural, living rural, working rural invites its own basket of challenges. In Oregon, Rural Development Initiatives in Eugene walks point on that patrol. But I just got a note today from Mike Knutson, of the Rural Learning Center in Howard, S.D. If you’re interested in rural community development — better yet, sustainable rural community development … of people, business and the economy — check out Mike’s wonderful blog, titled Reimagine Rural. He talks about the Midwest a lot, but the ideas apply here, too. Dive in, and see what answers you take away to the big question: How do you make a good life, while living close to the land?

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