Changing rural health through economic development

The American countryside tends to bundle together and assume that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. What do developers, funders, policy makers, and the public misunderstand about rural locations?

Appreciation of the diversity of the economic base of different rural areas. I love popcorn, but I’m tired of pictures of cornfields representing the American countryside. The majority of rural workers work in industry than in agriculture, but we still describe the American countryside primarily as farmland.

People also don’t understand who lives there. One in five lives in the countryside, and 20 per cent are colorful; many immigrants who are new to the country live in rural areas.

In almost every race, the poverty rate is higher in rural areas than in cities. You cannot deal with economic or racial differences without focusing on rural areas.

People also do not understand the interdependence between rural and urban areas. The American countryside is in many ways a “necessary worker” for the nation. It manages natural resources in ways that are not fairly compensated, and provides all kinds of resources that a nation needs, be it food, energy, or water; and it offers a lot of productivity and skilled workers and managers in many industries.

Finally, people do not value rural places as a source of innovation. Too often, the countryside is post-thinking, marked by policy and program design.

You’ve noticed that development fails if it doesn’t apply to everyone. How important is local ownership of this work or ensuring that those most affected are at the table?

This is people-centered design. If I try to do something better, I can imagine in my mind what the problem is and then deliver a solution that I believe will work. But it probably doesn’t work because I didn’t ask people for a solution to help with what their real barriers are and what design elements are necessary to catalyze a workable solution.

You’ve heard the phrase “None of us, without us.” Another reformulation of this, which I have heard from the community activist, is: “If there is for us, free we, it is No of us. “We have to take it to heart. Can we negotiate? Can we share the power of co-planning? Can we respect the wisdom of the people we are trying to help? And can we meet people where they are?”

How is Flourishing countryside approached inclusion when it comes to working with tribes and peoples according to a broader definition of rural areas? How did you notice these differences in practice and what do they mean for rural development?

The Thrive Rural Framework is a tool for organizing learning, strengthening understanding, and catalyzing and directing action around what is needed to ensure that all communities and indigenous peoples throughout rural America are healthy places where everyone belongs, lives with dignity, and thrives. The tool focuses in particular on dismantling practices and practices that intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against the countryside on the basis of geography / size or race or category.

We have just released the Thrive Rural Field Perspectives – ideas and experiences from actors and experts that provide new ideas for rural development. One focuses on building indigenous peoples as a critical element of early action in improving tribal economies and why respecting and supporting nation-building, recognizing and appreciating tribal sovereignty and the unique governance structure of each tribe, and accepting their culture, traditions, and practices. is vital for rural development.

In the chapter of the book by the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, you discuss your turning points in making rural development different. What were they?

Every community has a different starting point. And you need to learn to combine and utilize your assets in this starting point. Start with local analysis and data in the room to identify the starting point for resources at the location. How do people in the area interpret what is true in the community and what liberates more action? And bring more sounds to the room that can share experiences and expand opportunities.

Then evaluate what people and key players in the area already know how to do or door what they are most likely to adapt and what is the demand. Identify operational or resource gaps that may address this need and fill these gaps with the help of local businesses, build local capacity through new learning, and use local assets and energy to help important partners.

Finally, the intention is to design primarily equity and measure results that confirm, do not significantly consume (or destroy) local property. increase equality; and build local ownership and control.

Can you discuss the role of rural development centers or intermediaries in building wealth, building capacity and creating opportunities?

There are points in the countryside for small communities that may be miles apart, but they all think they are part of the same area. And this area is the area they identify with, whether it’s geographical similarities, similar history, commuting habits, industries, media markets, or economic base. All sorts of things can make you feel, “I live in Thumb” Michigan, but “The Thumb Government” doesn’t exist. No one develops or improves the Thumb area unless they create it themselves. It is logical to act regionally, but not a formal institution for that.

With the RWJF grant, we talked to 45 about what Aspen CSG calls Rural development centers understand how they do this work and what the challenges are. We learned that there are a number of organizations in some rural areas that have worked across the area on critical issues and brought the area together to address them together. We need to strengthen these concentrations without other structures and create or catalyze them when they do not exist.

Looking ahead, what are the main things you would like to see in the field of rural development in the future?

  • Bringing together all the areas around what the real results of development should be, including how and what we measure to achieve success. This is particularly important for reducing health, wealth, social and racial inequalities.
  • Organizing and utilizing the collective voice of the countryside in the design of programs affecting the people of the countryside at the local, state, and national levels. People have started working together for the benefit of the countryside. It should be formalized.
  • Addressing the climate and related natural disasters as an opportunity for local people to understand and act. This is the opportunity for the future to improve health, future livelihoods and the economy, as well as all built and natural capital.

Read more about Thrive Rural, which aims to build stronger rural and regional economies, more inclusive rural communities and healthier rural people.

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