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.
I know growing up in a small town and a farming community has helped me exponentially in life, from work ethic to common knowledge and motivation to go out and accomplish something I want to achieve. I think all kids should have to spend a summer working harvest or stretching miles of fence. It seems to give people a different level of respect for the things that you have to work for in life. I want my children in the future to know the value of hard work and a handshake...I want them to grow up in a community like this.
This week on the podcast we’re in Pawhuska, Oklahoma (pop. 3,377) with Steven and Tiffany Poe, owners of The Grandview Inn. Steven and Tiffany are sharing how a homeschool group connection introduced them to Ree Drummond — who we all know as The Pioneer Woman — which led to them moving to Pawhuska, and how they now have their own piece of Drummond history at the Inn.
This week on the podcast we’re in Bedford, Iowa (pop. 1,440) with Sandy Schubert of Hedgie’s Books, Toys, and More. Sandy and her husband moved to Bedford a little over four years ago. From taking a chance on a new town, to the success of her store, to the way this community has embraced her and her husband, you’ll love hearing Sandy’s story and how this move was so right, in so many ways.
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.
This week on the podcast we’re talking with Shellie Hughes and her dad Bobby Earl Bertram with Old Glory Schoolhouse in Monticello, Kentucky. You’re going to love hearing about all the creative ways they’re repurposing this old schoolhouse - and their fun connection to Magnolia in Waco, Texas. Plus a few fun stories from Bobby to keep us all entertained!
Can a rural town revive itself on trendy restaurants, or does too much focus on that aspect of a town become “glitter on rust”? Rural communities need jobs, healthcare, schools, and infrastructure. This is a perpetual struggle in planning rural development ideas. Each of our communities has opportunities for glitter that will attract new traffic, whether it be new restaurants and retail, tourism and cultural events, or something other unique feature. But can that glitter sustain a town?
The small-town environment gives us a lot of opportunities to be involved in the community. It has given us the opportunity to teach our children that volunteering and taking pride in your community is important. We have found since moving back home, we have more opportunities and a more fulfilling lifestyle than we ever did in the city. We are invested in the community and we want to help make this a great place to live!
It seems only fitting for a community whose slogan is “it’s refreshing” to embrace the idea of adding an outdoor aquatic center to its already well-developed indoor aquatic facility, and as one who loves the sun, summer, and soaking it all up by the water, I feel compelled to help lead the fundraising efforts.
It’s important to tell the difference between “traditions” and “bad habits.” Sometimes, an idea is successful for a while, but after changes in populations, economies, or the world around us, that idea stops being successful. We can do one of two things: we can recognize that circumstances have changed and recalibrate our tradition to fit the new circumstances, or we can ignore the new circumstances and let our once-successful tradition slide into a bad habit.
Manning, Iowa (pop. 1,500) is our featured rural community this week. Manning has been recognized as an Iowa Small Business Administration Community of the Year award, winning out against cities of all sizes, and was highlighted for demonstrating ideal collaborative community efforts to support small business success. We'll be sharing stories throughout the week of some local business owners who are making an impact in the community.
If a community can’t be inspired to look good for its most important event of the year, it’s unlikely to look good the rest of the year either. Once you establish the pride for your major events, truly setting a permanent, higher level of expectation in your community requires expanding that pride throughout the year. The true test of our community pride is what we do when the crowds AREN’T in town.
We are beyond excited to bring you this week's podcast interview with Katie Harvey Martinez of Harvey’s Diner in Redfield, Iowa (pop. 826). Katie's story is what first inspired us to start the Rural Revival podcast, and you will quickly understand why. From the Iowa farm to Broadway and back, Katie's life is one amazing adventure. But her most recent move back to Iowa to open Harvey’s Diner is quite possibly her most exciting adventure yet.
If you’re tired of the national news this past week, let me tell you about the news in Stamford this past week. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got our share of struggles and issues, but three developments stand out. Different people, stepping up in their own ways, with one goal: to improve their community.
Our rural communities will not survive and thrive into the future without our people working together for the community’s big picture. Perhaps our best way to establish unity is over a meal of reconciliation, conversation, and hopefulness. Even if there’s no immediate, apparent tension in the community, there are still gaps to be bridged. How better to overcome those concerns than sharing a table together?
This week on the podcast we’re taking you to an exciting new destination in downtown Grinnell, Iowa in our interview with Angela Harrington, owner of Hotel Grinnell. Here she has led the charge in converting a former school building into an incredible contemporary boutique hotel. During the interview we found out Angela also happens to have a lot of experience in small town economic development.
The surprising recent death of Anthony Bourdain brought a couple of topics into focus for me that I feel called to write about today. Men’s Journal wrote that Bourdain’s showed the unifying power of food — “how a shared meal can break barriers, challenge assumptions, and build bridges.” Crossing these bridges will bring together our people into a single unifying purpose, growing our community for a prosperous future.