Dilly named to Center for Rural Affairs Board 

Small Towns

Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager, rheal@cfra.org, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

SHELL ROCK, IOWA – Barbara Dilly, of Shell Rock, Iowa, has been appointed to the Center for Rural Affairs Board of Directors.

The Center for Rural Affairs is a private, nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic and environmental issues.

“Barbara is engaged in her community and passionate about the issues that matter to the future of small towns and rural places,” said Brian Depew, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “We are excited to welcome her to the Board of Directors.” 

“The Center for Rural Affairs is important to rural America because the staff do their homework; they know the facts and realities of rural lives,” Dilly said. “They are a trusted source of relevant and timely information that also serves to inform the decisions made by rural business operators and workers.”

Prior to joining the board, Dilly worked alongside Center staff on the subject of rural health care. Dilly had taught a course at Creighton University on rural health and studied the rural health system in Australia.

“I joined the board because I wanted to be closer to the action and to contribute to it with insights and knowledge from studying rural communities and actively living in one,” she said. “The topics and subjects that most excite me are focused on climate change, environmental sustainability, small rural community vitality, and public folk arts in rural communities.”

Dilly is a full professor emerita of anthropology at Creighton University, where she taught courses in food studies, sustainability, and environmental anthropology for 20 years. Previously, she was a freelance folk and fine artist in Southern California.

“The time I have lived and worked in rural communities convinces me that these people are well worth the effort and talent the Center devotes to their lives,” Dilly said. “They are precious because they care about each other and keep the home fires of America burning. They are largely hard-working and fun-loving talented people who are under-recognized and underserved by the larger society. They deserve a fair share of our nation’s resources, respect, and recognition for their thrift, labors, innovations, courage, humor, and their strengths.”

In her retirement, Dilly has returned to her interests as a folk artist painting community murals. She is also establishing a public folk art society studio to promote local folk arts in Shell Rock.