Today, I ask you: what are we doing to improve the lives of those around us in rural America? Are we acting as extremists for love and the extension of justice? Are we working through our churches, our community organizations, our businesses, and our elected positions to ensure that all of our people prosper and are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, no matter their net worth, skin color, or religious affiliation? Are we extremists like Dr. King and Jesus? Or are we the modern day descendants of the white moderate? Do we prefer an absence of tension to a positive peace, satisfying ourselves that we are a “silent majority” hoping for the flow of time to cure all ills, while we remain comfortable and inactive?
One in three women in America have experienced domestic violence during their lifetime. One in four men have experienced domestic violence. I heard these shocking statistics this past Sunday in a presentation at church from Dan Cox, executive director of the Noah Project in Abilene, Texas. I walked away educated, but heartsick.
If you’re looking for rural development strategies, then this week’s podcast is for you! We’re sitting down with Chris Deal from Jefferson, Iowa (pop. 4,345) to talk about the amazing revitalization happening here. Chris moved back to his hometown to help with the family business, Deal’s Orchard, but his role in the community has since expanded way beyond that. He has had a key role in the revitalization of Jefferson and some exciting projects happening here.
We’re so excited to bring you this week’s interview with Joni Nash, the Executive Director of the Pawhuska, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. Pawhuska just happens to be the home of Ree Drummond — The Pioneer Woman, and Joni has been right in the action as this small town has been revived literally overnight.
It is often said that sharing a table and a meal is one of the most powerful, leveling experiences that a group of people can have together. Every year, I look across the dining room and I am reminded of the accuracy of that statement. I see people sitting side-by-side whose paths might never otherwise cross, from all ages, backgrounds, and creeds. Then I see something even more special. They don’t just wolf down a meal at the same table and then depart. They eat. Then they trade desserts. They re-fill each other’s drinks. They talk to each other’s kids. They visit about their lives. They STAY. Together.
It’s hard to believe that here we are on the last day of 2018. Seriously, What. A. Year. Last year at this time, Rural Revival was nothing more than a spark of an idea that I should start a podcast. I wanted to show people what’s possible in rural America through what is already happening here. And to look back on this year and see all that this has become? It overwhelms me in the best way.
This week on the podcast we’re sitting down with Jeremy Mahler of The Nineteen14 in Minburn, Iowa. The Nineteen14 is an old railroad depot that Jeremy turned into a restaurant that draws thousands of people each year — mostly through the local bike trail. As a creative and an entrepreneur, Jeremy is always involved in lots of fun projects. He’s also sharing why, after living and traveling all over the world, he decided to return to his roots in small town Iowa.
Norm and Teresa Gielda are the new owners of The Davis General - a modern day general store in the rural community of Boston, just on the outskirts of Franklin, Tennessee. This week on the podcast they’re sharing their story about how they chose to relocate from California to Tennessee and return to Teresa’s southern roots, and how becoming small business owners has helped them build community in a new place.
It's no secret I love to stay busy. I finished my master's degree in nursing education, and still work as a nurse three days a week. However, I needed something to fill a creative void in my life. I needed a side hustle. So here I am, working three days in the clinic, making custom leather, and running a photography business.
The Grand Theatre beautifully sums up why the “good old days” are a complicated thing. Memories of the theatre span eight decades. Each generation remembers a different version of the theatre, each of which took place in a different era of the town’s history. But to that generation, their memory is the “good old days,“ and guess what? Each group is exactly right.
Why New Providence? I get asked this regularly. It’s home for me and goodness, I am so thankful every day that I have grown a business in an area full of such supporting people. Everyone in this community treats you like family and they are so positive, always encouraging others, looking for a way to give a helping hand, and celebrating everything and everyone’s accomplishments. Why wouldn’t you want to surround yourself with that everyday?!
One definition of community is, “a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” In my opinion, New Providence has just that, and other small communities should strive to have the same. Our small size keeps us together, focused, and driven to be successful as a whole. I’m proud to be part of a community that is dedicated to making the place we call home a little better each day.
It was always a dream of ours to open a flower, plant, and gift shop, so I opened The Rustic Rose and am living out our dream! This experience has been amazing. The town of New Providence is an absolutely awesome place to have my business. I couldn’t be more happy with my choice.
This week on the podcast we’re taking you to New Providence, Iowa, where we’re sitting down with Blake Richie, owner of BR Designs. Blake is one of several millennials who has decided to call New Providence home. He’s talking about why he chose this town of 250 people as the place to start his business, why no town is too small for revival, and how he started a county-wide young professionals group to help people learn and connect.
With three weeks before Christmas, there are many opportunities for us to improve the Christmas season by changing our own piece of society. It doesn’t require a large event serving a meal to your community. It may be as simple as taking an evening to spend some time with an older neighbor. It might mean a quick trip to Walmart to purchase a toy for a local toy drive. It might be pressing a $10 bill into the hand of a clearly-struggling mother doing her shopping at the store one day.
Thanksgiving is all about gathering around the table to share a meal and celebrate the blessings and many reasons we have to be thankful in our lives. So for this special Thanksgiving edition of the podcast, we’re sitting down with someone who actually makes the tables we gather around - Walt Henson, Owner of Red Tower Design in Canyon, Texas.