About Rural America

Rur­al Amer­i­ca is home to fam­i­lies num­ber­ing 63 mil­lion peo­ple, 16 per­cent of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion. Those fam­i­lies are spread out over 72 per­cent of the country’s land area.

In the next 20 years it is esti­mat­ed that 400 mil­lion acres of the America’s rur­al land will change hands. This rais­es the ques­tion, Who will con­trol that land?” But with much of the nation’s press clus­tered in New York and the Belt­way, such ques­tions and the sto­ries of the peo­ple liv­ing in the hin­ter­lands” are too often giv­en short shrift by both com­mer­cial and inde­pen­dent media.

Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times cor­rects that deficit by pro­vid­ing a forum for the peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions in rur­al Amer­i­ca that are on the front­lines of some of the most sig­nif­i­cant — yet most under­re­port­ed — move­ments of our time. These include the ongo­ing strug­gle for an agri­cul­tur­al econ­o­my that is cen­tered on peo­ple and ded­i­cat­ed to envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty; inno­v­a­tive exper­i­ments to cre­ate resilient com­mu­ni­ties; the devel­op­ment of inclu­sive eco­nom­i­cal­ly viable economies; the cre­ation of land-based liveli­hoods, and the rur­al coali­tions that have formed in the myr­i­ad local bat­tles against frack­ing, frack-sand min­ing and pipelines.

Rur­al Amer­i­ca has a rich tra­di­tion of com­mu­ni­ty coop­er­a­tion from which to draw inspi­ra­tion, from the grange move­ment of the 19th cen­tu­ry Pop­ulists to the Amer­i­can Agri­cul­tur­al Move­ment of the 1970s. This his­to­ry helps pro­vide an anti­dote to the Big Ag-cen­tered agen­da of 4‑H, FFA (Future Farm­ers of Amer­i­ca) and the Farm Bureau.

The only assump­tion Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times makes about its read­ers is that they can read and that they care about the life of their com­mu­ni­ty. This blog will strive to be a site of dis­cus­sion, and to include voic­es from var­i­ous sides of an issue. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions research indi­cates that, rather than speak­ing to a choir, open debate in which doubts, fears and prej­u­dices are freely expressed is the most effec­tive way to get peo­ple to re-exam­ine their own assump­tions.

Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times is writ­ten and edit­ed to be acces­si­ble to read­ers from all walks of life, regard­less of who they vote for or where they live. For exam­ple, some of our most ardent organ­ic farm­ers hold a lib­er­tar­i­an per­spec­tive. Rur­al Amer­i­ca is where hip­pies and red­necks eat elec­tion night din­ner togeth­er. The land and its care is the uni­fy­ing project that helps smooth out this polar­iza­tion.

Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times cov­ers Native com­mu­ni­ties and ini­tia­tives of the First Nations on both U.S. reser­va­tions the Cana­di­an reserves.

The per­spec­tive of Native peo­ples, who were for thou­sands of years able to thrive in har­mo­ny with nature, will prove invalu­able as life on Earth expe­ri­ences the rav­ages of cli­mate change and envi­ron­men­tal despo­li­a­tion.

Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times” strives to over­come the exist­ing rur­al-urban divide. The blog seeks to build bridges, facil­i­tate com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fos­ter coop­er­a­tion between urban peo­ple who under­stand the val­ue of a healthy and sus­tain­able agri­cul­tur­al sys­tem, and the farm­ers in our rur­al com­mu­ni­ties that pro­vide food that we all eat. We cov­er the farm-to-table net­works cur­rent­ly being devel­oped and the chal­lenges such enter­pris­es face.

In its cov­er­age of Rur­al Amer­i­ca, this blog will also endeav­or to pro­vide the eco­nom­ic con­text of the day-to-day efforts of rur­al men and women to pro­vide for their fam­i­lies. Few peo­ple know that a child who lives in the coun­try is more like­ly to live in pover­ty than a child in urban Amer­i­ca. Nor do they real­ize that 16 per­cent of rur­al peo­ple make up 41 per­cent of the mem­bers of the U.S. mil­i­tary.

Rur­al people’s con­cerns are not only eco­nom­ic. It is our rur­al cit­i­zens who are bear­ing the brunt of frack­ing, min­ing, ben­e­fi­cial” resuse and cli­mate change, with its result­ing droughts and oth­er exam­ples of extreme weath­er. Oth­er sub­jects of cur­rent con­cern include the ascen­dan­cy of the patent­ed GMO seed indus­try and run­away oil trains. The blog will also show­case promis­ing local rur­al ini­tia­tives in both the First and Third Worlds.

Our goal at Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times is to reach a civi­cal­ly engaged audi­ence of both urban and rur­al peo­ple — those indi­vid­u­als active in urban and rur­al com­mu­ni­ties, Native and non-Native, who are com­mit­ted to sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and healthy rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. This blog’s mis­sion is to pro­vide the pub­lic ser­vice of help­ing make the issues that rur­al Amer­i­ca is grap­pling with part of nation­al dis­course.

Rur­al Amer­i­ca In These Times does not rein­vent the wheel. Valu­able infor­ma­tion and orig­i­nal research on crit­i­cal rur­al issues is cur­rent­ly pro­vid­ed by the fol­low­ing orga­ni­za­tions and out­lets:

Acres USA
Amer­i­can Farm­land Trust
Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Busi­ness Alliance (AMI­BA)
Amer­i­can Indi­an Insti­tute
Bioneers
Busi­ness Alliance for Local Liv­ing Economies (BALLE)
The Buf­fa­lo Com­mons
The Car­rot Project
Catholic Rur­al Life
Cen­ter for Com­mu­ni­ty Action and Envi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice
Cen­ter for Food Safe­ty
Cen­ter for New Economies
Cap­i­tal Insti­tute
Civ­il Eats
Colum­bia Land Con­ser­van­cy
The Cor­nu­copia Insti­tute
Dai­ly Yon­der
Deep South Cen­ter for Envi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice
Earth­jus­tice
Envi­ron­men­tal Health Coali­tion
Farm Aid
Farm Show
Farm­ing Mag­a­zine
Food & Envi­ron­ment Report­ing Net­work
Food and Water Watch
Four Direc­tions
Friends of the Earth
Green­horns
Great Lakes Indi­an Fish and Wildlife Com­mis­sion (GLIFWC)
High­tow­er Low­down
Insti­tute for Agri­cul­ture and Trade Pol­i­cy
The Land Insti­tute
The Land Mag­a­zine (UK)
Land Stew­ard­ship Project
The Leopold Cen­ter for Sus­tain­able Agri­cul­ture
Local Economies Project
The Milk­weed
Nation­al Fam­i­ly Farm Coali­tion
Nation­al Young Farm­ers Coali­tion
New Econ­o­my Coali­tion
North­east Organ­ic Farm­ing Asso­ci­a­ton (NOFA)
On the Com­mons
Organ­ic Con­sumers Asso­ci­a­tion
Pachama­ma Alliance
Prac­ti­cal Farm­ers of Iowa
PR Watch
RAFI — USA
Rad­i­cal Joy for Hard Times
ReSource Insti­tute for Low Entropy Sys­tems (RILES)
Rudolf Stein­er Foun­da­tion (RSF) Social Finance
Savory Insti­tute
Scenic Hud­son
Schu­mach­er Cen­ter for a New Eco­nom­ics
Sci­ence and Envi­ron­men­tal Health Net­work
The Stock­man Grass Farmer
Stone Barns Cen­ter for Food and Agri­cul­ture
Sus­tain­able Economies Law Cen­ter
Sus­tain­able South Bronx
Thomas Jef­fer­son Hour
Water­keep­er Alliance
White Earth Land Recov­ery Project
Yes! Mag­a­zine