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. It all started with a late night conversation at The Nineteen14 with Jeremy Mahler and the life story of Katie Harvey Martinez, who at the time I had only heard about and hadn’t even met yet. They had stories that I knew needed to be shared. 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.
Who knew there was such an amazing community that would come together because of this? And that I would meet so many great people in the process? A year ago I had no idea about the new friendships and road trips that were ahead. Or that I would get to be a part of things like the Iowa Farm Dinner and The Ruralist and the Sac County Fair that would help showcase what rural America is all about. Or that I would have the opportunity to serve on the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Force and work towards a common goal with so many fantastic people.
I wanted to create a place where rural dreamers and doers could connect, and Rural Revival has become just that. This year I have seen people across the country connect to help each other learn and to encourage one another in their business ventures and in life, I’ve seen new friendships formed, I’ve seen new job opportunities and collaborations open up for the most deserving people - and all through this community.
There is no denying that a shift is happening in rural America. And I’m excited to, along with you, have a front seat to the action. With so much negative press out there about brain drain and a dying rural America, I hope this has been a place where you have found hope and encouragement. I try really hard to make sure the stories shared here are real, honest, and talk about the challenges and the struggles as well as the good. I hope you have been inspired and impacted by these stories of strength as much as I have. Rural America truly is the New Frontier and you are living proof.
To each one of you who have opened up your lives, your businesses, your homes to me over this past year, and to each of you who shared your stories with me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have made my life and my heart very full. You have become more than just acquaintances, you have become dear friends. And you are the exact reason the future of rural America is brighter than ever. You inspire me and I am so, so proud of you and all you are doing.
We have some exciting things in the works that we’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. And for those of us who haven’t met yet, there are so many more stories to be told and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!
Get ready. Because 2019, we’re coming for you.
>> Danna Larson, Rural Revival Founder
It’s not about numbers. It’s about people and vision. With the right people and the right vision, rural communities will thrive, as we’ve seen in places like New Providence, Iowa. This town of 250 is proof that no place is too small for revival.
Community over competition wins every time. In every rural town I’ve visited where true revival is happening, there is always a strong team approach present. They support each other. They build one another up. They believe there’s room for everyone. And they all benefit because of it.
Buying American made matters. I’ve never paid more attention to the fine print before buying than I have in the past year. And I’ve never been more intentional about shopping local. Because as I have traveled throughout rural America, I see how much supporting local businesses and local makers and creators is a lifeline to our small communities.
Rural broadband access is a non-negotiable. In order for our small towns and rural communities to survive, every rural citizen must have access to broadband internet. Broadband is absolutely essential for our farmers and small businesses to succeed, for people to live rural and work corporate jobs remotely, for education and health care to stay current, and so much more.