THE NEW RURAL ECONOMY:
INVESTING IN TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES
Rural communities are creative hubs of economic activity in the United States. However, the recent recession has severely impacted these areas, slowing growth and innovation and leaving behind large numbers of unemployed Americans. Of the 386 persistently poor counties in the U.S., 88 percent are in rural areas. For those living in regions of pervasive poverty, existing barriers to economic opportunity have only been exacerbated by the economic downturn.
There are, however, encouraging signs of renewal. Farmers are seeing an increased demand for sustainable and locally grown foods. Small businesses are getting a boost from regionally focused businessdevelopment efforts, and large information technology centers are sourcing work to rural talent. This Working Group will focus on converting the many assets of rural America into increased entrepreneurial and economic development in small towns and communities across the U.S.
Rural communities can cultivate entrepreneurship by building on local strengths and connecting new businesses to national and global markets.
LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS
Developing and strengthening sustainable food systems and connecting rural supply to national and global demand.
RURAL-URBAN ECONOMIC LINKAGES
Rural communities can serve as prime locations for industries and services to establish and expand diverse supply chains, thereby enhancing regional competitiveness.
National, regional, and community foundations can serve as key sources of innovation by expanding their investments into rural areas.