We’re sitting down with Mary Heffernan of Five Marys Farms. We met up at their M5 Burgerhouse in Fort Jones, California (pop. 839) to talk about all things Five Marys. Like, how she first discovered her love for small business, why she loves the rural life, the power of Instagram, and so much more. Mary is an entrepreneur at heart and you’ll be so inspired hearing how she and her family have built Five Marys from the ground up.
Why has the American experiment persisted and thrived for so long, even in spite of our society’s flaws and missteps? Why have other nations attempted to copy the American system, only to see it fail to launch or struggle to sustain it in a stable manner? In part, it’s the uniquely American concept of local government and town meetings.
We recently met up with Brooke Clay of Rural Gone Urban as our travel paths were crossing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had a great conversation about the power of story, her Rural Influencer Project and what makes someone an influencer, and why the narrative is changing for rural America. Plus we let you in on the story behind The Ruralist and how that came to be.
In the last decade, something like 90 rural hospitals have closed. 20 of those are in Texas. The National Rural Health Association, our nation’s foremost advocates for rural healthcare, estimates that something close to 800 more rural hospitals are at risk of closing. That’s about one-third of all rural hospitals in the entire country. It helps a little to know that it’s not just us.
What are WE doing on a local level? Are we the thermometer, going with the flow of popular opinion? Or are we the thermostat, responsible for changing the temperature? Are we defending the status quo, giving silent or vocal sanction to the power structures of the community? Or are we the disturbers of the peace and the agitators, putting an end to hatred, injustice, and need within our realms?
This week on the podcast we’re taking you to the farm outside of New Providence, Iowa (pop. 250) with lifestyle photographer and leatherist Ali Nelson. Ali has so many cool things going on and she’s giving us a look at her life as a farm wife, creative, and small town entrepreneur.
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.
If you want to be optimistic about the work ethic of our youth, spend some time at a local junior livestock show. While you’re there, you’ll also learn about the generosity of local communities. The experience might reassure you about the general future of America.
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.
All of us in local leadership—whether elected, volunteering, or just an interested citizen—are the ones to decide if we want to “save” our piece of rural America. Austin isn’t going to do it. Washington, D.C. isn’t going to do it. We are the ones who must do it.
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.
This week on the podcast we’re talking with Lexi Marek, an ag communicator and influencer and sixth generation Iowa farm girl. She’s sharing why she’s passionate about women in agriculture, how competing for Miss Iowa changed her life, and why she’s a big advocate for branding.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with the commercial aspects of Christmas. Our lives can be happier with children taking pictures with Santa Claus, family members exchanging gifts, and streets full of beautiful Christmas lights. But was it worth what it took to accomplish it?
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.
Rural Revival presents this season’s best gifts - from sporting to jewelry, home goods to apparel - all made in America by rural makers and creators. As part of this holiday season, let's #shopsmall and #shoprural and support business owners who are working hard to create amazing products all across rural America. And be sure to check out the other products available from these makers and creators, too, and find something special for everyone on your list!
If the colonists can stop to give thanks for a successful harvest, and if President Lincoln could see the big picture of America’s blessings amidst war, then we too can see our blessings. If we stop and look for them, we can find countless reasons to be thankful for our individual communities and for rural life in general.
This week on the podcast we’re sitting down with Randa Starnes of Tennessee River Music Company, a registered Hereford and Angus operation in Fort Payne, Alabama. Randa’s talking about life on their family’s cattle production farm, what it’s like to grow up with a famous dad, and how they unexpectedly grew their operation with a new business venture.
War is an awful, terrible thing, sometimes needless and sometimes necessary. No matter the circumstances, every American war has been fought the likes of Dan Crenshaw, regular men and women who sacrificed career, family, and immeasurable pain out of duty on behalf of the rest of our society. As Congressman-elect Crenshaw said, we can forgive one another and remember the things that bring us together.