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Challenges that Shaped the Center’s Character

It’s Throwback Thursday (#tbt). Here's an article by Center Co-founder Marty Strange for a special 25th Anniversary Edition of the Center for Rural Affairs Newsletter.

What happens when you speak truth to power, which has been the Center’s habit over the years? You get whooped a lot. And you learn a lot. In 23 years with the Center, and since, I’ve had plenty of occasion to reflect on the challenges that have shaped the Center’s character. Here are a few thoughts about the lessons we’ve learned from facing those challenges. 

Creating Jobs and Self Sufficiency Through Self-Employment

Microenterprise and microfinance have the power to empower people and transform lives. The concept was pioneered in 1976 by Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The bank was established for the purpose of making small loans to the poor − predominantly women – to help them obtain economic self-sufficiency.

"You're looking pretty rural!”

My sweet former neighbors and landlords must have be feeling festive, or feisty at least. They called out to me, "Hey, Erin! You're looking pretty rural!" I was crossing the yard, headed home from a veggie delivery run, but turned back with the “What?!” response you'd expect. I mean, who says that? And what does it even mean?! Does everyone think I look rural? Is that my look, RURAL?!

4 Gifs for Rural America

To me, Rural America is many things. It is at once harsh and exciting. Quiet, and also full of the sounds one simply can’t hear in a city. It’s a space to cultivate community, carve out a good life, and set down roots. To be bowled over by a storm. Its a space that offers itself to your imagination, and, if you pay attention, imparts the wisdom and wonder of growing things.

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