Sustainability, Rural America, And Youth

Creighton

On the campus of Creighton University. Creighton University. Source: Creative Commons / Troy Johnson

In November, I was invited to Creighton University to speak in front of a group of students participating in an innovative course that directly relates to the work I am so passionate about – creating a new future for rural America through Love Small Town America.

It was an honor to be invited to speak to Barbara Dilly’s class: Sustainability and Rural America. I met an amazing class of bright, well-educated students. It is promising and exciting to know we as a society are teaching our youth to be leaders and to make a difference in our rural communities.

This class talks about why it is important to educate leaders to remain in small towns.  I could tell they were soaking in everything Barbara Dilly was teaching them – and they should be! She is a wealth of knowledge in this area.

I was particularly impressed with some of the projects they were working on. One of which was the task to find any small town in America, learn about the community and find something to do if you lived there for a year.

The class is currently reading “Hollowing Out the Middle: America’s Rural Brain Drain” by Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kefalas and comes highly recommended. It now sits on my nightstand waiting to be read.

More info on Barbara: http://www.creighton.edu/fileadmin/user/CCAS/departments/SocAnt/docs/Vitaes/CV_Barbara_Dilly_Updated_August_2012.pdf

Nicole Godek, CEO of Love Small Town America, presented at Creighton during November 2012.

ROZ Scholarship Applications Announced

You know how passionate we are about small town survival – and about the Rural Opportunity Zones program as a great way to recruit new residents to participating Kansas counties. That’s why we are so excited that the ROZ Scholarship Application is now open. We’ve been working with the Kansas Department of Commerce for some time now, and they agree that Love Small Town America gives small counties and towns the right kind of web presence. They have decided to offer scholarships to Kansas ROZ counties or towns within those counties to cover the cost of a 1-year membership on Love Small Town America. Can you believe that? Lucky ROZ applicants could receive a FREE webpage on LSTA as part of our network for a whole year. That is phenomenal!

This kind of support from state government is what makes us so proud to be from Kansas. We hope all the ROZ counties will feel the same and want to take advantage of the chance to join our network.

In the meantime, we put together a page on our site to help explain what the scholarship covers (and what it doesn’t), why you shouldn’t wait to turn in your application, and what the next steps are.

As always, we’re available to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re so excited to realize that sometime this summer (fingers crossed) we’ll be joining a BUNCH of new communities to our growing family on the web. This means lots more exciting developments ahead, so watch our facebook page and twitter feed for the latest breaking news.

Links:

ROZ Webpage Scholarships

Joining Love Small Town America

Rural Opportunity Zones (KS Department of Commerce)

 

How Can Rural be Sustainable?

At Love Small Town America we are not afraid to say that we love small towns (it’s right there in our name!). We love all small towns. But the truth of the matter is that many of these small towns are in rural areas. In Kansas, for example, half of the population lives in 5 counties. The other half of the population lives in the remaining 100 counties; most of those are in cities or towns with fewer than 10,000 people. So, we keep our ears cocked to hear news that relates to rural life. A recent government report caught our attention. Last week we saw the following:

New Partnership for Sustainable Communities Report: Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities

The HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities and the USDA have released Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities, a report that discusses how the four agencies are collaborating to support rural communities. This publication highlights how small towns and rural places across the country are using federal resources to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life to residents, and build on local assets such as traditional main streets, agricultural lands, and natural resources.  The report includes sections on how HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA programs support environmentally and economically sustainable growth in rural places; performance measures rural communities can use to target their investments; and 12 case studies of rural communities using federal resources to achieve their development and economic goals. It also outlines steps the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is pursuing to support small towns and rural places.  Read the report here.  For more information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, please visit: http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov.

 

The Partnership for Sustainability developed six livability principles:

  • Provide more transportation choices.
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing.
  • Enhance economic competitiveness.
  • Support existing communities.
  • Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment.
  • Value communities and neighborhoods.
We can definitely appreciate the value behind these six principles: some of them guide our business even now. Are there other important issues this partnership overlooked? Love Small Town America works to address economic competitiveness in a big way, and we also think we promote affordable housing through our real-estate ads, support existing communities in a big way, and value communities and neighborhoods. There may be more we can do in the future to branch out into some of these other areas, perhaps enabling rural towns to better advocate for federal policies that are beneficial to small towns.

We’re curious to stay tuned and find out how this develops in the future. What do you think? How can rural be sustainable? And what can we do to help?

Love Small Town America would like you to be our friend on facebook. Click here to see our page and click ‘like’ to join the conversation. We have big plans to offer our facebook friends exclusive giveaways, promotions, and contests. Plus, it’s just plain fun. Who can say no to that?! www.facebook.com/lovesmalltownamerica

Growing from Grainfield

 

A sampling of images from the Grainfield photo gallery on Love Small Town America

Love Small Town America is based in Grainfield, Kansas. It’s where CEO Nicole Godek grew up, and where she returned to find her roots. We thought it was only fitting that as we launch this blog as part of our expansion to bring Love Small Town America to towns across Kansas, that we pay homage to where it all started.

Grainfield is a lot like many other Midwestern towns, built on a solid base of agricultural interests. With a population of 289, it certainly fits the bill of a “small town”. Grainfield’s inhabitants are hard-working, friendly people who are more than residents; they’re a community. As Love Small Town America’s home base, it is only natural that Grainfield be one of the first communities to come online.

When Nicole returned to Grainfield after living in bigger cities, she knew she would find the small town advantages she sought. What she didn’t realize was how difficult it would be to find everything else. Her difficulty finding local resources she sought to remodel her new home online prompted Nicole to realize that if she couldn’t find small town resources on the web while she was living in the heart of a small town, there were probably 1.) a lot of other people out there who couldn’t find them either 2.) a lot of small businesses and small towns who weren’t connecting with customers, residents, etc. Nicole helped Grainfield make those connections and now Grainfield has a great online presence full of information about community events, local schools, businesses, and even job opportunities.

Seeing the community embrace Love Small Town America and helping our local business owners to find a way to have an affordable, professional web presence helped us to know, right from the beginning, that what we were doing would work; that communities need what we offer, that they support our mission to put small towns and businesses back on the map, and most importantly, that we are making a difference.

One of the Grainfield businesses that we helped create a custom website for is D&D Ranching. Until Love Small Town America came along, D&D Ranching didn’t even have a website. Now, they proudly share with the world their decades of experience in the cattle industry. Their business webpage under the Grainfield umbrella makes it easy for anyone looking for the services they offer to find them. (Anne adds: I just tried googling them – and sure enough, I wound up at the Love Small Town America page!)

D&D Ranching is a family owned, small feed yard offering the latest in technology, individual pens and rations, and bunk feeding.”

We’re proud of all the Grainfield businesses we’ve brought online, some joining Love Small Town America and linking to external webpages, and others coming online for the very first time. This town has supported us and given us a great place to call home. Some day, we think we’ll be calling Grainfield by another name: national headquarters of Love Small Town America. 

 

Welcome to the Love Small Town America Blog!

Love Small Town America has been helping people form coast to coast find a map to the "good life".

Hello everyone!

You might be an old friend of Love Small Town America or this might be the first time you’ve heard those words.

To all our old friends – thank you for stopping by, and we hope you’ll say hello in the comments! We’ve got big plans to keep this blog updated with fun, fresh content we think you’ll like. If you’re here, we know you love small towns – or are willing to be enticed! –so we’ve got all sorts of projects in the works, from travel segments to recipes to photo contests that we hope are going to make this a fun destination that you’ll check every day. So, settle in, say “hello”, and let us know what you’d like to see! If you’ve got favorite blogs about small town life, rural issues, or anything, let us know that, too! We’re new to this blogging thing and would love to jump in and make some friends.

To all our new visitors, allow me to introduce Love Small Town America. Love Small Town America isn’t really just a business or a website, although we take what we do pretty seriously – it’s more than that.

Love Small Town America is the only website offering a comprehensive listing of small towns and their assets from community organizations to businesses to real-estate

By joining Love Small Town America, people are getting a professional website at an affordable cost and joining a network that we are growing from the ground up of people who live in small towns, shop in small towns, run businesses in small towns – or would like to move to a small town.

In the coming days, weeks, and months we’ll share lots more with you about what Love Small Town America is, why we love small towns so much, and all sorts of goodies that we think you’ll like – from events to tips on growing your small town business.

For now, we’d just like to say, “howdy” and encourage you to join the conversation. We can’t wait to see where this road takes us and we sure hope you’ll ride along.

Share a comment with us! We can’t wait to meet you!