Friday, August 16, 2013

Gaining Ground

photo of orchard buildings at WEI Farm at Amador Hill
© harrington
Hi! Thanks for visiting. If you've been here before, you might have noticed one of several mentions that we've made about having shares in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)  at the Women's Environmental Initiative Farm at Amador Hill. One of the reasons we became members is to have access to  delicious, fresh, certified organic vegetables. Recently, another, not so obvious reason to be a member occurred to me. This CSA effort, along with many others, strengthens rural urban connections in Minnesota. One of the themes we've stressed here on My Minnesota is our interdependence. Urban areas such as the North Side of Minneapolis aren't the only places to suffer from disinvestment. Rural Minnesota has also lost people and investment. Not as bad as the farm foreclosure days, but bad enough that there are too many empty buildings where there used to be businesses. Operations such as WEI's are a source of reinvestment in rural Minnesota. A long-time Minnesota Institution, Minnesota Public Radio, has been reporting for more than three years now, through a project called Ground Level, on what many rural communities in Minnesota are doing in their fight to survive and thrive. I had heard some of their reports from time to time as I listened to MPR while driving to and from work. I learned today that it's become a multimedia production and an ebook through the Daily Yonder blog. The trailer, if you care about rural Minnesota, will move you. (One of My Minnesota's regular readers commented that I should say it's really, really important that you watch the trailer.) The ebook may be the reason I finally get an iPad. I've had the pleasure of visiting many of the small towns captured in the trailer, including during some of our infamous Minnesota Winter weather. We are all truly in this together. I don't believe we can protect the wonderful natural environment we enjoy in Minnesota unless we also create great cities. To that I'm pleased, if belatedly, adding "and wonderful, thriving small towns. " Ground Level legitimately and effectively makes the point that cities depend on thriving rural areas for food. (Research the growth in farmers' markets and CSAs.) To food, I'd also add urban dependence on rural Minnesota for water supply and, increasingly, for renewable energy.
photo of rural Minnesota farm with wind turbines
© harrington
 I'm extremely grateful that there are those, at organizations like WEI and MPR who recognize how much we have to loose if we let either rural or urban Minnesota fail. I'm also grateful that we have leaders in Minnesota  who are willing to take the risks necessary to help rural and urban places thrive in this climate-changed, new economy of ours. It's up to the rest of us to keep zealots, whether red or blue, from driving wedges between us so they can gain a political advantage. We need to acknowledge and act on the knowledge that we all need and depend on each other. That's what community is about. Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.