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Can a 'New Ruralism' Save Small Towns?

Small towns are in crisis. To save them, it might take a "new ruralism" of community leadership, volunteerism, and ventures in the creative economy.
July 3, 2017, 10am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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U.S. Department of Agriculture

Can a "New Ruralism" help bring America's small towns out of their slump? Jared Green writes, "In many struggling small northeastern rural towns, the drug epidemic has ravaged communities already weakened by the loss of manufacturing jobs. But it's clear there are also many using 'creative economy' approaches to revitalize themselves."

That means focusing on the hyper-local level, both in terms of economic opportunities and social cohesion. "Small towns now part of this nascent movement seek to define themselves on their own terms, not just in relation to nearby cities."

Green discusses plenty of examples throughout the Northeast. For example, "In Vermont, the farm-to-plate economy, a 'state-wide but closed-loop' system, now accounts for $8.6 billion, up 24 percent since 2007. There are 7,300 farms, employing 61,000 farm workers, on 1.2 million acres of farmland."
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Published on Sunday, June 18, 2017 in ASLA The Dirt
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