Rural Minnesota’s bright spots tell a story of revitalization, not ruin

Photo credit: MinnPost (Courtesy of the City of Milan)

Posted in Vibrant Rural

Rural Pulse 2016 uncovered a number of issues rural Minnesotans considered critical to the vibrancy of their community. But economy, educational opportunities and healthcare aren’t the biggest issues facing rural Minnesota, said Kelly Asche, program coordinator of the Center for Small Towns.

“These problems are symptoms of an underlying ailment: ‘the negative, mistaken narrative that says rural Minnesota communities are dying.’

The misconception that rural towns are emptying out fuels pessimism among residents, which squelches creative thinking about their communities’ futures, Asche says.”

In a series for MinnPost, writer Jay Walljasper reports on a number of bright spots in Southwest and South Central Minnesota that debunk the myth that Minnesota’s rural towns are doomed.

Walljasper examines how rural Minnesota’s shift from an agriculture-based economy has changed small towns — not killed them.

He highlights:

  • Locally-produced foods at the University of Minnesota Morris
  • The brain gain phenomena
  • New London’s thriving Main Street
  • Milan’s vibrant response to multicultural newcomers
  • Albert Lea’s community-wide approach to wellness

Read the full story at MinnPost.