By Brian Depew, Center for Rural Affairs
Reflecting upon the work of the Center for Rural Affairs, I think it’s an exciting time in rural America, with growing opportunities in sustainable farming, clean energy, healthcare, and small business.
As a new Community Development Financial Institute we’re building capacity to meet growing capital needs of small businesses, and exploring needs in the farm sector and in neighboring states.
We launched a land legacy stewardship effort to allow donors with farmland to secure their legacy, help the next generation of farmers get a foothold, and steward the Center’s work. Meanwhile, 160 beginning farmers participated in our training programs. And we’ve undertaken an innovative new rural arts initiative to drive socially engaged art projects forward in four small Nebraska towns. The work is a model for what can be done in small towns across the nation.
As part of a national initiative, we led the Midwest team focused on putting food from local farms on the trays of school children. We worked with nearly 50 small rural districts to bring local food programs to rural kids too. If we can do it here, you can do it anywhere.
Rural people will undoubtedly face new challenges in coming years. The Center for Rural Affairs will face these challenges head-on, just as we have for 41 years. Because we believe that by acting together in each of our communities, and banding together across the nation, we have the power to create a vibrant future for rural people and rural places.
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.