As someone with a passion for cooking who loves coffee and being around family and friends, I have always wanted to start my own business and have talked it about for years. It wasn’t until my kids were off to college and I found myself a single parent with nowhere to grow in the job I had that I finally took the plunge. After being in the corporate world of sales and marketing, I decided it was my time to start a new chapter in my life. I knew I needed a change, and it was scary - and still is at times - but I did it!
This week on the podcast, Emily Vollmar Doxtad of Rooted Boutique in Holstein, Iowa (pop. 1,396) talks about doing the unlikely thing of bringing a modern, contemporary boutique to her rural community. She shares about the journey of her business that started in a snowmobile trailer and how it has grown and changed over the years into a fun brick-and-mortar shop!
We’ve got a fascinating conversation with lawyer, farmer, and mayor James Decker of Stamford, Texas (pop. 3,124) this week on the podcast. James is setting an example we can all learn from when it comes to the revitalization of and commitment to our rural communities - and you’re about to find out why.
Revival can take place in many forms. But in the case of the purchase of the old Hotel Colonia, the first stage of revival for our community was the natural inclination to share how the building connected with each one of us and remembering our past with a smile. Slowly, as the community heard the news of the purchase, we were so blessed to hear story after story of moments that the building had touched people’s lives!
I’ve spent months thinking about the addiction problem in our rural communities and the decay and decline that comes with it. I learned a long time ago that identifying problems does no good if you aren’t also willing to identify and apply solutions. Today, I bring you a conversation about solutions.
In a recent road trip through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, I realized the actual site of Little House on the Prairie in Independence, Kansas was just a mile off of my route and I knew I had to stop. I have to admit, it was a bit of a surreal moment. As I stood in front of the replica of that little log cabin on that windy day and looked at the land where the Ingalls family had settled, I couldn’t help but think of the parallels between their life as pioneers and our new generation of pioneering.
This week on the podcast we’re talking with Shellie Hughes and her dad Bobby Earl Bertram with Old Glory Schoolhouse in Monticello, Kentucky. You’re going to love hearing about all the creative ways they’re repurposing this old schoolhouse - and their fun connection to Magnolia in Waco, Texas. Plus a few fun stories from Bobby to keep us all entertained!
USDA research finds that rural drug use is a symptom of several problems. Most important, in my mind, is that drug use has become a primary form of self-medication. Drug users are medicating for a number of reasons, including depression and despair, as well as lacking economic opportunity (which, in itself, only further fuels depression and despair).
When you think of northern California you probably think of San Francisco, and the wineries of Napa and Sonoma. All are gorgeous, amazing locations! But, what you might not know is that the heart of northern California runs deep within the small rural farming communities north of Sacramento. Think rice farming, Friday night football, and simple small-town living.
Opioid abuse is called an “equal opportunity” problem because it touches every demographic—all races and ethnicities, backgrounds, and income levels. Many stories have been written about the opioid crisis in poverty-stricken areas, but the problem is far broader. Because rural areas tend to have higher poverty levels than the national average, opioid abuse disproportionately affects rural communities.
At the recent West Texas Rural Summit, drug addiction—causes, challenges, solutions—was a hot topic. Drug overdose rates are higher in rural America than the country at large. As we work to improve our communities—beautify them, bring jobs and amenities, make them more prosperous for all—drugs must be tackled by all of our community leaders.
This week on the podcast we’re talking with Becky Wilber of Wilber Fertilizer Service in Cherokee, Oklahoma. If you’re thinking about moving back to rural America, this episode is for you. This is a really important discussion where Becky shares openly and honestly about her decision to move back to her hometown and help run the family business, and why she says it was one of the hardest - but best - decisions of her life.
On August 22, Stamford city councilman Paul Wright and I attended the first West Texas Rural Summit in Lubbock. Through a day’s worth of panel discussions, Q&A, and informal conversation, something is abundantly clear: throughout West Texas, we share the same problems. Each local place has its variations, but the big picture problems are the same. Rather than fight battles alone and do things the hard way, local leaders are starting to work together.
Scott Stebner is a nationally published agricultural photographer and videographer. Or, to put it more simply, Scott creates photos and videos of people with grit. Scott’s sharing about some of the amazing projects he’s been involved with, why he has started to focus more on video, and why he’s not afraid to fail. Plus you’ll learn how an unlikely ag background led to where he is today and has given him a really unique perspective.
Stephanie Bradley Fryer is a lawyer and cattle producer from both Stamford, Texas and Chattanooga, Oklahoma - who also happens to be a fifth generation landowner. This week on the podcast she’s telling more about how she makes it work splitting her time between two places, and how she’s established her place as a woman in both ag and law.
We've been struggling to drum up support for the library I work for over the past few years. There just hasn't been a lot in the way of funding to go around. Not much interest. But you see, our library is not just the library. It is a safe place for kids to play in, it's a place where people come to catch the town news, it's a community center, a town hall, a place to come for help of any kind. So what happens here affects the entire community.