The Great Rural

Fighting to reclaim stolen land

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 5 mins
Black heirs share their stories of land theft
When you are robbed of your land and legacy, what’s next?
Listen 12 mins
Taos Pueblo won back its sacred lake after long battle
It's rare for Indigenous tribes to have their land returned, but it is possible. The story of one Pueblo in New Mexico shows how difficult and how meaningful it is for Native communities to get back their land.
Watch 4 mins
‘Every community has its own Standing Rock’
A-dae Romero-Briones, a member of the Cochiti Pueblo, explains the connection of land and food, how her community lived through the creation of the faulty Cochiti Dam, and how the current pandemic has brought full-circle the necessity of living off the land.

The Great Rural

Community science

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 6 mins
Nature lovers heed call to observe and report
Citizen scientists played a significant role in field research as the pandemic lockdown put a strain on scientific resources. From rain totals to data on plant and animal life, ‘backyard observers’ lent eyes and ears to projects.
Watch 4 mins
Photographer keeps watch over killer whale pods
Marla Smith turns her passion for orcas into action as a citizen scientist, helping to track endangered Southern Resident Orcas in Washington state’s Puget Sound.
Listen 10 mins
Volunteers find antidote for pandemic isolation outdoors
During the pandemic, citizen scientists have found a sense of normalcy and solace in the safety of outdoor pursuits — even in urban areas. Some scientists also made exciting discoveries.

The Great Rural

9 to 5 — and way beyond

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

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Why the hustle? Second jobs satisfy passion and purpose
Some rural folks take on more than one job, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.
Read 4 mins
Two jobs? For some that’s just a reality of rural life
People are juggling multiple gigs to pay bills, and they have plenty of company. But for some, a second job is about making a plan for the future; for others, it's a temporary means to an end.
Listen 7 mins
Mom’s example, community support set this coach on path
When she was 16, Jamie Lindstrom’s mother died. The people of Hudson, Wis., rallied to support her and her family, which helped shape her determination to help young people. She talks about the pivotal moments that led her to coaching and social work.

The Great Rural

This land is their land, too

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 7 mins
Coffee shop owner brews sense of belonging in Mankato
After ‘escaping’ to the Twin Cities for a few years, Melby-Kelley came home to open a safe space for LGTBQ people and a welcoming place for all. 'I want people to feel good about who they are the second they walk in the door.’
Listen 17 mins
Gay bars, drag life and coming of age in Cedar Rapids
Growing up Black and gay in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the 1980s wasn't always easy for Göran Gustav-Wrathall. He found his place and power in the city's underground gay bar scene.
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LGBTQ residents are right at home in rural Ohio area
In Athens County, located in the Appalachian foothills, signs of unity and support for each other, and the community at large, are evident throughout the town.

The Great Rural

Heart of the community

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 6 mins
Scrappy rural librarians find the gaps and fill them
Roughly 4,000 rural library systems in the U.S. supply a varied lifeline of services for their patrons, from broadband internet connections and coding camps to bicycle repair stations.
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When the ‘Bookmobile’ had four legs and saddlebags
During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration launched the 'Packhorse Library' initiative to deliver books to remote impoverished areas with low literacy rates in eastern Kentucky.
Listen 8 mins
Questa library grows into a 'grounding place' for locals
Step inside a rural library that became a critical asset following a local economic disaster and is continuing to blossom as a community gathering space in the remote mountains of northern New Mexico.

The Great Rural

Race and Rural America

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

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Loyal neighbors, customers, bind family to Kersey, Colo.
Toby Cardenas has lived in Weld County, Colorado, since the mid-1950s. He bought the Kersey Pool Hall in 1979, where he and his son, Lupe, serve his authentic Mexican dishes for lunch and dinner.
Read 6 mins
Many cultivate rural roots despite racial aggressions
Advantages of small-town living, such as slower pace, ancestral ties and economic opportunities, outweigh harassing incidents and outright rude behavior of some community residents.
Listen 8 mins
To end biases, get educated about a people's culture
Audrey Thayer, White Earth Ojibwe, reflects on the conflicts and tensions that run through rural towns like Bemidji in northern Minnesota. She is working with Native people and non-Natives to change that dynamic.

The Great Rural

They're playing our songs

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 5 mins
As rural American music evolves, diversity emerges
The sounds and the artists who make them are eclectic and innovative. And fans can’t get enough of the fresh fusions.
Watch 6 mins
'My gut led me to this part of the country'
During Lissie’s time in California, she recorded music and built her career as a musician. Trips home to the Midwest stirred something in her that she hadn’t known was missing.
Listen 10 mins
The woman behind the ‘Lilith Fair’ of Fargo, North Dakota
It took moving to Fargo, North Dakota, for Deb Jenkins to claim her identity as a musician. For the past 24 years, she’s helped other women to do the same through the Celebration of Women and Their Music Festival.

The Great Rural

The indelible impact of trains

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 5 mins
Retired railroad worker: Freight lines are here to stay
The network, encompassing 140,000 miles and hundreds of rail lines, is projected to lose jobs over this decade. But the industry remains an essential part of the U.S. economy, with 40% of the nation’s freight moved by rail.
Watch 2 mins
Rail freight system is vital link in goods-to-consumer chain
Though the railroad industry has declined since its pre-WWII peak, industry experts forecast a 30% increase in freight shipments over the next two decades, which could pay dividends for rural economies.
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Rural train depots are remnants of America’s past
Nearly a century ago, passenger trains powered the economy of many rural communities, creating jobs up and down the line. After rail traffic declined, as cars and freight trucks took to the highways, some depots — and towns — were left at the station.

The Great Rural

Luxury bunkers? There's a market for that.

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 5 mins
Gym, pool, theater, dog park: Luxury, 200 feet below ground
Larry Hall has repurposed Cold War missile silos into a luxury survival condo empire in rural Kansas. The niche real estate market can be found throughout the U.S., from Arizona to New York.
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A historic look at missile silos on the Great Plains
Images of the Minuteman missile silos from the archives of the National Park Service.
Listen 8 mins
Old missile silos are doomsday shelters for ultra-rich
Originally built as part of the United States' Cold War defenses, these decommissioned military facilities have been transformed into high-end living spaces to weather just about anything the world could throw at a home.

The Great Rural

Making it work

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 8 stories

Read 4 mins
Town puts out welcome mat amid pandemic uncertainty
In Branson, Mo., which depends heavily on tourism to bolster the local economy, venues and businesses are adjusting to Covid restrictions and keeping the doors open.
Read 4 mins
What’s a crafter to do in a pandemic? Improvise.
For many craftspeople and artisans, income is way down. But for some, all is not lost.
Watch 6 mins
Working together, Maine businesses tackle challenges
Small businesses that rely on tourism dollars in Brunswick, Maine, are collaborating and changing to survive and thrive during the pandemic.
Watch 6 mins
Mill owner remains upbeat: ‘Everybody wears socks’
Pandemic dents fiber mill’s in-person sales but family business on the Colorado plains finds measure of success online, sending their products all over the country.
Listen 12 mins
Vermont business owners: ‘One winter can’t kill us’
Despite travel restrictions, tourists are flocking to Vermont. Business owners like Eliza Greene and Justin Hyjek face a tough decision: close to keep the community safe, or open their doors to tourists the community depends on.
Listen 9 mins
Artist Michelle Defoe revives traditional Anishinaabe arts
An intimate look at Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) cultural arts that were almost lost but are being honored again in a revitalization of indigenous ceremonies and celebrations.
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Crested Butte weathers Covid shutdown; ski lovers returning
Tourism-dependent Gunnison County, Colo., barred outsiders from visiting for nearly two months in the spring of 2020 in hopes of stopping the Covid spread. By September 2020, area hotels reported record bookings.
View
Pottery artist finds her quiet place and creative community
Former New Yorker Beth Weingroff found land and quiet in a vibrant community outside Athens, Ohio, in the foothills of Appalachia, where she harnesses her creative energy.

The Great Rural

It's not what you say, but how you say it

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Listen 10 mins
When ways of speaking create great divides
A scientist dives into the perceptions of Kentucky accents. Pronounced divides between the state's various regions fall along the fault lines of urban-rural accents.
Read 8 mins
Let me tell you a story about a girl named Emiene
When I speak, you might not hear my British-Nigerian roots. And that’s by design. By Emiene (em-ME-in-ay) Wright
Watch 6 mins
‘It has to do with culture; it has to do with identity’
Dialect coach Denise Woods is using her Hollywood experiences to talk about how diverse dialects can help people find their true voices.

The Great Rural

Some 21st-century TLC for the soil

Life beyond the big-city limits

In this episode 3 stories

Read 5 mins
Farmers return soil to its healthier roots, gradually
Regenerative agriculture is emerging as the key to the health of the land and the food it yields.
View
Honoring the land by regenerating the soil
Starting with a small farm, a pair of brothers do their part to improve the environment through their farming.Their goal is to create healthier soil.
Listen 8 mins
Inside the world of regenerative aquaculture
Bill Dewey, senior director of public affairs at Taylor Shellfish Farms in Washington, found his calling in sustainable aquafarming.

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