Small Towns

Rural communities hold the keys to survival in their own hands. With help from policies that build on their strengths as desirable places to live and raise families, they can thrive.

Community Development

To thrive, rural communities must invest in themselves and their futures, including rural schools and rural leaders.

Community Food Systems

Local farmers markets, community gardens, and local and regional food systems provide fresh, healthy food for all and keep money circulating in the local economy.

Rural Groceries

Small towns across rural America are losing their grocery stores, and we’re working to help groceries stay around.

Small Towns Notes

 

Rural America: It’s Complicated, Really Complicated

There are two closely held, and widely believed, narratives about rural America.

The narrative in the national media is a fatalist one. Rural places are dying. The people are leaving.

This narrative has roots in the farm crisis. It lives on strong at the Brookings Institute and on the pages of The New York Times. It is fueled by demographic trends that show decades of population decline across many areas of the nation.

Conservation Helps Build Tourism Dollars in Western States

Small towns and rural communities depend on recreation and tourism for large parts of their economy. This was obvious to me growing up. I’m from Wisconsin, where the summer tourism industry depends so heavily on student labor, public schools and universities can’t even start before September 1.

Western states also depend on recreation and tourism. Visitors to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sagebrush landscapes spent an estimated $1 billion last year, according to a recent study.

Remembering Community Life in Rural Mass

When people sign up for our newsletter, they often share their story. Here's a great essay from Andrea Morgan, who gave us permission to share it with you.

I grew up in rural Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Everyone knew their neighbors at their end of the town. We had a big yard where my mother enjoyed a big garden, and my cousin who lived upstairs played basketball every day with a group of friends on our huge driveway.