Can't We Love Both?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Can’t We Love Both?

I was with a group of women recently discussing local and talking about the size of our community back 30-40 years. It was sad to hear them talk how much change there has been in our particular 'rural' community. Now, compared to the 50's-60's our community of 1300 was around 2400 at that time...a thriving metropolitan “rural” community. I did not know the community in which I live, then, since I am a transplant. I would love to have seen it in its heyday. I can only imagine now.

The women commented that there were farms everywhere and most everyone had a dairy cow or two along with their other cattle. Parents, grandparents and children were farming together on these small farms. Fast forward to today and the land is blotted with abandoned farm houses and barns, our schools have consolidated, and the land is more vast it seems now that so many of the individuals farmers have lost or sold their farms and big corporation farming has come in and taken over. The young farmer concept was a concept of the past, not of the future; or so I am thinking. Young farmers that want to get into farming, really cannot now because land is selling for too much and much of the land when it does come available is being sold at a higher price to corporate farmers.

Big corporation farming too hits a rural community where it hurts as well. No longer do they buy gas, feed, seed from the local area in which they farm. They support those communities from where they are from or bring in their own gas or their own feed and seed. I think relaying this to you I am doing pretty good at stating the problems. I listen to others and talk around the local watering hole, but I was raised city like I've said. The closest I came to a cow was seeing it from my car window on the land or watching the "Ag kids" load a school bus at a location set apart from where the city kids did. So, I think I have learned something these years living in rural America. I do know too I have a lot more to learn.

I do not have as much to learn as the professor from UC in Berkeley CA. The instructor Jackson Kernion that is teaching actual classes to students and took to Twitter to shame "rural Americans" and those who aren't "pro-city." Fox News quoted, "They, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions...and we should shame people who aren't pro-city."

He said "they" should have higher health care, pay more taxes and be forced to live an "uncomfortable" life for rejecting "efficient" city life," Really? REALLYYY? And this guy is paid by UC of Berkeley to teach his 11 philosophical courses? If you were to ask me, they should hang their head in shame. Jackson Kernion is really so far off the mark, and since receiving so much backlash from his comments, he's deleted his tweet. I sincerely hope that he is discredited overall and with that thinking run out of town. He has no clue about rural life. And it angers me the venom he used. Why open your mouth at all about something you know nothing about? Only because you can, and you can mislead students who are gullible and listening in earnest? Man, it angers me.

Rural America is alive and well by the way and loved by many. Small communities are thriving and some even growing because citizens love where they live.  Ben Winchester, a rural specialist from the University of Minnesota Extension and promoter of the rural brain gain migration concept supports this. One reason why the government's statistics reflect that the rural areas are being depleted is mainly because those rural areas are being eaten up by the metropolitan areas. But the brain gain is reflecting:

  • The population of residents ages 30 - 49 years old has increased in rural Minnesota counties.
  • These newcomers have significant education, skills, connections, spending power and children.
  • People migrate to rural communities for 1) a simpler life, 2) safety and security, 3) affordable housing, 4) outdoor recreation and 5) quality schools.
  • Communities can work together to attract newcomers and create a quality of life that all residents enjoy.

So here I am, working for small and local through my employment, business and website. My business is not just about rural but small business whether they're on the country roads or on a city street. I do believe in rural because I have lived it for 35 years and see raising children and living in rural truly as a lifestyle and one that we want to keep. The difficult part may come that in order to keep ruralism, we have to support it. We cannot run to the Walmart's, the metropolitan areas for their health care, and other businesses IF we have them in our communities. An occasional outshopping trip will happen because that has become a pastime for Americans, but when it comes down to it; we snooze on this we lose. Or in Pat McGill’s words, if we don't collaborate, we evaporate. Small rural cannot afford that, so working hard is required in educating our youth, our adults and working together as retailers and citizens to thrive. Once there is thriving, growth hopefully follows.

 

Joe Bartmann, President of Dakota Resources, at RuralX '18 Summit encourages us to be rural-shapers and it's up to us. There is a new rural happening and I want to be a part of it. So Jackson Kernion, you deleted your tweet and found out that surrounding yourself with people that believe like you can come back to haunt you when you share thoughts that are very much asinine. I'm thrilled personally that you felt you needed to take your tweet down and that there was feedback on it. I hope someone takes you by the ear and drags you into a ruralistic lifestyle you know nothing about and get some education. A link to Fox News report on it can be found at https://www.foxnews.com/us/uc-berkeley-instructor-rural-americans-bad-people.

Category: The Directors Corner, County Area News