the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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new documentary on wendell berry premiers at SXSW festival

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The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berrypremiered yesterday at SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin. The film spans four seasons; revolving around Berry; his muse of Henry County, Kentucky; and this pivotal contemporary moment in agrarian America. Barbara J. King did a great piece on the film yesterday for NPR, ripe with great Wendell Berry quotes and some contextual food for thought, all of which you can read here.

I scoured the internet for a trailer like a hungry squash bug but to no avail. So I watched every video of Wendell Berry reading his poetry that I could find on Vimeo (wondering if this is how normal people felt about news of the new Star Wars movie), and finally did find a video on the film’s new kickstarted page, which I have happily embedded for you below:

No news yet on where the film will show after SXSW, but you find our more and follow the latest news here.


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america’s rural poor

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Earlier this year, 45 year-old Matt Black embarked from Santa Maria, Calif., his birthplace, and drove 18,000 miles across the country and back again, stopping every 200 miles to photograph cities, towns, and rural areas, where like Santa Maria, more than 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. That is the point at which the U.S. Census considers a community to be a concentrated poverty area.

“The idea behind concentrated poverty in these towns is that once you cross this threshold, poverty begins to affect the entire community not just the parts that are poor,” says Black in an interview with Rural America In These Times. “Everything about the place is impacted from the roads to the schools to the healthcare.”

To read more, click HERE.


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rural perspectives on the farm bill

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Farm Bill out of touch with Rural Americans

by The Center for Rural Affairs, 26 July 2013

The US House of Representatives’ farm bill is out of touch with rural America in its disregard for protecting the small town and rural way of life. If and when a conference committee meets to produce a final farm bill, it should incorporate the Senate’s rural development provisions.

Last month, I reported on our bipartisan poll of rural voters in the Southeast, Midwest, and Great Plains. Nearly 9-in-10 rural Americans say the rural and small town way of life is worth fighting for and protecting; but 7-in-10 worry it is dying. Three-fourths blame politicians for ignoring problems of rural and small town America.

They have a point. Our 2007 study found USDA invested only half as much in rural development programs to serve millions of people in the 20 rural counties suffering the worst population decline in each of 13 leading farm states, as it spent just to subsidize the 20 largest farms in each of those states. It’s not getting better. Real federal investment in helping small towns and rural entrepreneurs has fallen by half over the last decade.

The House farm bill would make it worse, jeopardizing the continued existence of USDA’s primary rural small business development program – the Rural Microenterprise Development Program. It would receive zero funding, resulting in less financing and business planning assistance for rural small businesses. The House would provide zero funding for the small towns on a long waiting list for USDA loans and grants to make critical upgrades to their water and sewer systems.

Finish this article!

Read more: Partisan Rancor Prevents a Meaningful Farm Bill

 

 


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rural wealth creation

an interesting concept…


Creating Rural Wealth

For too long, the resources and assets of rural communities – their natural resources, agricultural bounty, workers, and young people – have flowed out of rural areas. Low-wealth areas, in particular, have struggled to create wealth that stays local. Rural America needs a new way forward. Continue reading

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