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Rural communities tapped by craft breweries

Brewing beer is big business in the U.S. In 2016, this centuries-old practice generated $64 million in annual tax revenue and accounted for nearly 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Today, the beer industry employs more than 64,000 individuals nationwide.

These numbers are on the rise, especially when it comes to craft brewers. According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Breweries that meet this definition have increased in number from 1,596, in 2009, to 5,234, in 2016.

Cultural connection to food has been lost

Prior to European colonization efforts, the Santee Sioux people in northeast Nebraska were a “food sovereign” nation – they existed in a closed loop system in which they provided for themselves, by their own efforts, from their own land, and without dependence on outside governments and systems. By producing and preserving their own food, the people ensured they had access to abundant sources of healthy food year round.

Small towns: Unique and exciting

Small towns can be places of art and culture showcased in unique and exciting ways. Folks assume that only cities have such opportunities, but our project shows that assumption is not correct.

We looked at community-supported art as one way to bring attention to arts and culture in the small towns of Decatur, Lyons, and Oakland. These towns then worked together to organize and lead the Byway of Art Tour held Sept. 30, showcasing these cultural gems in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

Staff Spotlight: Rock focuses on water and clean energy in Iowa

Katie Rock recently joined the Center for Rural Affairs, where her focus will be on water and clean energy issues in Iowa. She is based in our Nevada, Iowa, office.

“I’m excited to join the Center’s staff in Iowa. There is a lot at stake for rural communities when it comes to water and clean energy,” said Rock. “How Iowa handles these issues will leave a lasting legacy for families, communities and the land. I have a real passion for making sure rural areas have a voice on these issues and can benefit from new opportunities.”

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