Today is Good Friday, when Western Christians begin celebrating the central narrative of our faith around the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a time people often spend with family, and I’ll be heading down to visit mine.
Which brings up something that, while I guess it isn’t a big secret, many people don’t know about me, which is that I actually grew up in a rural area. Although I am the Urbanophile, I spent over half my life in the country and small towns. So in honor of that, and a recent delightful visit to the small college town of Alma, Michigan, I wanted to highlight some resources for those of you who are interested in rural development.
The first is Mike Knutson’s most excellent blog Re-Imagine Rural. This is probably the best site I know containing serious thinking focused on rural issues. It’s a must read and I have it in my reader.
Richard Longworth is another great resource. Another Midwestern small town product who lives in Chicago, he literally wrote the book on the Midwest economy in the modern age, Caught in the Middle, which contains some great material on rural areas and agriculture. He also blogs over at Global Midwest and tags his posts about rural areas so that you can easily find them. One particular great starting point is A Region on the Mississippi.
Longworth’s organization, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, also publishes a series of research papers called the Heartland Papers. One of them is called Past Silos and Smokestacks: Transforming the Rural Economy of the Midwest by Mark Drabenstott at the Rural Policy Research Institute in Missouri. It’s very focused on regionalism in rural economic development and definitely worth a read.
The US Department of Agriculture has also done some interesting work. One of their research papers I’d particularly like to highlight is Nonmetropolitan Outmigration Counties: Some Are Poor, Many Are Prosperous (h/t Jim Russell).
This is a short starter list. Please feel free to add your own pointers and treat this an Easter weekend open thread. See everyone next week.