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Special Series: Primer on Renewable Energy and Transmission

Writer Loren Flaugh, a longtime friend of the Center, is uniquely interested in energy. Living in Central Iowa, a region heavily committed to renewables, he’s had no shortage of inspiration. Loren enjoys a front-row seat as his region reaps the benefits of renewable energy investment.

It wasn’t long ago that he realized most of these benefits – clean air, low rates, and local economic development – depend on infrastructure that moves that energy from where it’s produced to where it’s needed most.

Rooted in Place, Speaking Nationally

Just this week, I heard from people in New Jersey and England. Both wrote to say the values of the Center connected with them.

The writer from New Jersey asked a question. “Your work appears to be applicable to rural communities in any state, but the discussion on your website often seems to focus on the midwest and central plains. Are the challenges faced by rural communities in other regions on your radar screen?”

The answer is yes.

SNAP Benefits and Rural Households

Our newest report looks at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) by where people live. SNAP is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture and offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net.

Our report Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Rural Households makes the following findings based on federal Census Bureau data:

Iowa Loses Solar Opportunity

In mid-July, the state of Iowa gave up a $1 million grant that would have helped the state take steps to become a national leader in solar power, just as it has with wind energy. The U.S. Department of Energy grant was aimed at analyzing state policies that affect solar energy, and assist them in removing barriers to expanding solar in the state.

Eating Is Education

Food culture in America is changing. In the book Lunch Wars, author Amy Kalafa describes her concern that her children were exposed to unhealthful school food. She investigated and then approached the superintendent of schools to share her findings.

His response? “It was not the school district’s responsibility to feed the kids, just to educate them.” Citizens across the nation are speaking up with challenges to this statement.

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