Center for Rural Affairs May and June 2024 Newsletter

Small Towns
Farm and Food
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Editor's note:

Last month, I had the pleasure of interviewing our 2023 Seventh Generation Award winners, Larry Harris and Denise O’Brien.

I visited them on their farm north of Atlantic, Iowa, where we talked for two hours at their kitchen table, surrounded by memories. After hearing their story, I told them I was in awe with all that they’ve done.

Denise mused, “How did we do it all?” Then, she said it really came down to their teamwork—her taking the role as activist and Larry taking care of the farm and the kids—as well as their rural community, neighbors, and family.

One example was that she said before leaving on those long trips, she would make a casserole and put it in the freezer. But, when she got home, the casserole wouldn’t be eaten because neighbors had brought over enough food for the kids to eat.

What a good example for why we live in rural communities and why we work toward thriving small towns.

With all the information I collected in those two hours, I could only publish a portion of the story here in our newsletter. Be sure to check out this post with even more on our awardees.

-Rhea Landholm

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