A leading force engaging people and ideas in building a better future for rural America.
Former Rural Organizer
Virginia has left her full-time position at the Center for Rural Affairs. She is helping us this summer with some special projects, and will transition to nursing school in the fall. We thank her for all her contributions and wish her the best in her new career!
I’m an urban-to-rural worker bee helping rural people pursue their dreams. I combine policy solutions with on-the-ground practices that make rural areas and their residents thrive. I hope to guide people into farming by finding creative solutions to lack of land and access to capital, health insurance, and mentors.
I grew up in South Minneapolis swimming in lakes, making big batches of basil pesto and going to Minnesota Twins baseball games. College took me to the Appalachian Mountains where I learned to do field work and log with draft horses, followed by a year spent making hay and moving cows in the Big Horns of Wyoming.
I’m now settled on the Nebraska plains, raising my son Forrest, who I hope will someday learn to farm with horsepower.
For the past six years, my life has revolved around the Center for Rural Affairs. Crisscrossing the state of Nebraska, shaking your hand, maybe observing the soil, flora and fauna on your farm and definitely eating the pie at your cafe. In no particular order, below are my most memorable moments of the past six years.
I always knew the Center for Rural Affairs is on the cutting-edge of issues that matter to rural and small-town people. But, on issues of climate and renewable energy, the Center was way ahead of the curve. Recently, I came across a bound copy of the Small Farm Energy Primer, an initiative to help farmers save money by lowering energy costs.
Sheldon Station, Nebraska Public Power District’s coal-fired power plant north of Hallam, Nebraska, will soon undergo a major transition, moving from burning coal to hydrogen in one of the plant’s two units. A planned facility near the plant will produce the hydrogen and co-product carbon black from natural gas.
Approximately 100 residents from Cortland, Hallam and surrounding communities met at the Cortland Community Center in January to discuss the proposed development of a wind farm in the area and other related issues at a Wind Information Forum hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs and Lancaster County Farmers Union.
I grew up in South Minneapolis on busy 42nd Avenue. The student body of my high school was larger than the population of most towns I lived in post graduation. I was pretty anonymous, average by all accounts. I didn’t stand out.