We’re in Brimfield, Illinois (pop. 933) this week on the podcast with Mikaela Endress and Kami Stahl of Kamaela’s Kreamery. Mikaela is a student and Kami is a farmer, and together they have a pop up ice cream shop in a vintage trailer called Little Dipper, and can be found hitting up fun locations across Illinois all summer long. Kami and Mikaela are sharing about how this all started as a dream when they were four years old and riding their bikes to the local ice cream store.
I dream of our rural communities being a place of economic prosperity and high quality of life. A true quality of life is when a community can be honest with each other and support one another. When someone is struggling, I want us to be comfortable to ask for help and be uplifted by the rest of the community. Our rural communities are great about helping when someone’s physical health is suffering. We need to do the same when someone is suffering mentally.
This week on the podcast we’re in Underwood, Iowa (pop. 917) with sixth generation farmers Kevin and Sara Ross. We’re talking about Kevin and Sara’s important role in connecting with farmers and advocating for agriculture, including Kevin’s new role as President of the National Corn Growers Association. We also touch on life on the farm with their four boys, the importance of technology and connectivity in farming and rural America, Sara’s involvement with CommonGround, and some great stories around her transition to farm life.
When an outsider drives through a poor town, they might not see shiny new retail businesses or freshly-paved streets, but the existing improvements might be maintained with care. What about a dirty town? Are the streets and sidewalks overgrown with weeds? Does trash collect on every street and vacant lot? Are broken street signs and park equipment left to linger for months? Are city codes properly enforced?
This week on the podcast we’re in College Grove, Tennessee with Mary Morgan Gentry of Gentry’s Farm and Hatcher Family Dairy. From growing up on the farm in Franklin, Tennessee to working in several shops on Franklin’s historic Main Street, Mary Morgan has had a front row seat to the revival that’s happened here. Now she’s stepping fully into the ag world as the new wife of a dairy farmer, and she’s telling us all about it, including the important role agritourism has played in bringing both her and her husband’s family farms into the next generation.
Some of you have great neighbors. You might even live next door to family or close friends. Loving your neighbor comes easy when you have neighbors like that. But what about THOSE neighbors, the nasty, bothersome ones? What about the ones who look different from us or act differently? What about the neighbors who have different values? What about neighbors who live a life that we don’t understand?
We’re celebrating FarmHers everywhere this week on the podcast, and we’re so excited to have Marji Guyler-Alaniz, creator of FarmHer, with us to share her story and how she has built the FarmHer brand. From quitting her corporate job to start what she didn’t know at the time would be FarmHer, Marji talks about how she somewhat unexpectedly turned her passion for photography and writing into a household name.
On September 11, 2019, the legendary T. Boone Pickens passed away. He was far from perfect (as are we all), but he was inspirational. He was self made. He was a visionary entrepreneur who took daring risks. He was honest about his failures, alongside his successes. He never retired, working hard into his 90s. He improved the lives of countless people, by giving away a majority of his fortune.
I guess you could say I inherited the “junking” gene from my mom, as I spend many weekends as a kid going to garage sales looking for treasures. I started out having a space in a local shop with my mother when my kids were little. And then one day the historic train depot building came up for sale. I remember thinking what a great antique shop that would make, and wishing I could buy it.
Mountain magic and valley bliss, long summer days, and deep fluffy winter months make Columbia Falls, Montana an outdoor enthusiast’s haven. Situated at the edge of the wilderness, where the sparkling Flathead River flows from Bad Rock Canyon and meanders along the edge of the town, hometown hospitality and original small town flare are the norm in this quaint community.
This week we’re in Columbia Falls, Montana (pop. 4,710) with Alyson Dorr of The Red Barn. Alyson is a fourth generation farmer who is helping bring up the next generation of family farm kids. She and her husband Casey share their little slice of heaven through The Red Barn, their luxury loft vacation rental, their farm-grown peppermint oil, raw honey, and pastured, all-natural pork. And she’s telling us all about it on today’s podcast.
This week on the podcast we’re in Pawhuska, Oklahoma (pop. 3,589) with Callie Lee of Osage Outfitters. Callie and her husband Joey moved to Pawhuska in 2013 to open their store, and since then have helped completely transform the town’s historic downtown and bring the best quality boots and highest end of western fashion in the area.
We never know when it’s our time. None of the victims of the 9/11 attacks expected their time to come that day, but it did. All we can do is live our life the right way, with the right priorities, every day, so that when it IS our time, we’re ready. But the truth is, we really don’t know if tomorrow is coming. We carry on and make plans for tomorrow, taking for granted that tomorrow will come. But what if it doesn’t?
This week we’re in Cody, Wyoming (pop. 9.885) with Jesse Renfors of Cody Coffee Roaster. From a professional luger to a stay-at-home dad turned coffee roaster, Jesse is sharing about his journey and how he has grown his company from a side hustle to an international success. From turning an older service station into the ultimate Cody Coffee shop or opening two locations in a month, this episode is packed with value.
When you drive by a vacant building, how do you see it? Do you see it for what it is? Or do you see it for what it can be? Or maybe, if you remember its past life or know its history, do you see the building as it used to be? Each of us might see buildings through all three prisms, from time to time. As we look at individual buildings and consider our own dreams, we’re actually dreaming about the whole community, whether we realize it or not.
Our lives are short and they pass by quickly. Using life for the right reasons, to glorify the right things, requires us to have the right priorities. Andrew Luck was clear about his priorities, so when he came to a fork in the road of his life, he had no trouble making that decision, even if millions of people couldn’t and wouldn’t understand his decision. His decision inspired me to think—how often do we think about our life priorities?
This week we’re back in Harrington, Washington with Karen Allen of Hotel Lincoln, The Electric Hotel. Karen and her husband Jerry have a love for restoration and their work on this hotel, originally built in 1902, is a labor of love that is ten years in the making. It was called The Electric Hotel because the building was provisioned for electricity before the City of Harrington had electricity supplied to the town. At the time it was very innovative and a cornerstone for the development of Harrington. Now Karen and Jerry want it to be the cornerstone for redevelopment.
Living in the middle of nowhere was never a thought that crossed this city girl’s mind! I know you’ve heard this scenario a time or two — “city girl meets country boy.” I can truly say there is something that magically happens when country meets city. I call it, “Wheat and Roses.” In my early 20’s, falling in love with my farmer/rancher was all things exciting, new, and came with lots of learning curves. This new found country lifestyle was packed full of changes for me.
In 1980 I moved back to Harrington to work the family wheat farm. This allowed me to independently develop my art and design career. With the newly regenerated community enthusiasm in Harrington to awaken the past, and push to the future, a new spirit has arisen. I have spear headed the effort to repaint and electrify old and new neon and signage to enhance the downtown look. My past love for graphics has now found a new life in Harrington. I have become a passionate member of the Rural Revival.
I left my job working for the county almost four years ago to be more available to our ranch. Even though our older boys became extremely helpful, there was always more to do as we grew our herd and then of course our family. We had Cass in 2016 and my role on the ranch took a different turn. Looking for ways to create income from home while chasing a toddler, Ag Swag was born.