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Recent posts by Kathie Starkweather

Are we biased?

Are we biased? The short answer is yes – everyone is, like it or not. Our brains categorize people based on what we’ve learned from our family, community, television, social media, and other sources.

Our brains, in part, function like a filing cabinet where we store “information” – accurate or not.

For example, when I was a kid, I was certain the only way ice water would be cold was if it was stirred with a fork. Yeah, I know, not rational. But my dad always stirred his ice water with a fork, so it had to be true.

Small towns: Unique and exciting

Small towns can be places of art and culture showcased in unique and exciting ways. Folks assume that only cities have such opportunities, but our project shows that assumption is not correct.

We looked at community-supported art as one way to bring attention to arts and culture in the small towns of Decatur, Lyons, and Oakland. These towns then worked together to organize and lead the Byway of Art Tour held Sept. 30, showcasing these cultural gems in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

Think beyond biases to create welcoming communities

We all discriminate.

It does not matter if you are a person of color or not, female or male, young or old, gay or straight. We all discriminate.

I’m not talking about intentional discrimination, like denying housing based on gender or the color of skin. I’m talking about nonconscious discrimination that is caused by the way our brains work; and we are completely unaware.

Virtual Leader Development Program Goes Rural

Leaders are the life-blood of small towns and rural communities. The success or failure of community development efforts often rests with the degree of leadership local citizens are willing to provide. You can see our 4-part series on leadership here.

Now our colleagues at The University of Nebraska Omaha have asked us to share a new rural leadership program with you. Several of our Farm and Community team are participating, so you will be in good company! Their description of the program follows.

Farm to School Continues to Build in Nebraska

“Healthy students learn better because they eat better,” stated Dr. John Skretta in Beatrice during the Center for Rural Affairs’ most recent Farm to School Regional Conference. Skretta, school administrator of Norris School District in Firth, NE, started off the conference on the Southeast Community College campus with a powerful keynote.

Dr. Skretta talked about the need for farm to school programs. He noted they take “all hands on deck,” from administrators to great food service staff, teachers, and parents. And it is well worth the integrated approach.

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