Small Communities and Rural Migration

Busy street downtown in Webster City, Iowa. Photo by Deb Brown.

Stop by most any rural coffee shop and you probably will hear a discussion about attracting more people to the community. Then the question arises, can it be done? The Center for Small Towns, located at the University of Minnesota, Morris, plans to look at that question. Mark June 4th and 5th on your calendars and learn what has worked and what are the myths. See their announcement below for more information and their website.

Looks like a great opportunity to network and discuss the issues facing rural communities.


SAVE THE DATE: 2014 Symposium on Small Towns (June 4-5, 2014):

The Rural Futures Institute is partnering with the University of Minnesota Morris’ Center for Small Towns, among others, to plan the Symposium on Small Towns event which will be held in Morris, Minnesota. Held on June 4–5, 2014, the event is themed: Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed. Hosted at the beautiful University of Minnesota, Morris campus the symposium will address the changing truths of small towns and debunk the current myths surrounding migration to and from small towns.

There will be a series of breakout sessions, discussions, and keynotes during the 2-day event. We encourage you to consider attending this event and share your experiences with others from the Great Plains region. Some goals of the symposium include:
• Improving the dialogue surrounding migration research in rural areas.
• Exemplifying the ways communities are connected through migration.
• Exploring the role narrative language plays in recruitment strategies.
• Delineating the strategy differences between youth and adult recruitment.
• Developing a strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts.
• Exploring common recruitment strategies between states.
• Gathering experiences with place-based strategies; i.e. Land incentives, internships, alumni.

As a partner in planning this event, the Rural Futures Institute encourages interested individuals to partake in the conversation. Visit the conference website for details.

About Glenn Muske

Glenn Muske is the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.

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  1. Jim Ellis says

    HOW I WISH that were true in our home town. More likely you would hear complaints about the efforts by the local development group to make the village more appealing to visitors or complaints that our school is about to go broke or that the village isn’t providing enough services to the community. The local coffee clutch does nothing to help and everything to hinder. Sorry to be negative, but it’s been a long, cold winter in southeastern Illinois. :)
    Our development group continues to do things in spite of the coffee crowd and we have open meetings every Friday morning to continue the efforts!

    • says

      You will always have those who don’t want to change. I encourage you to listen to them and dig deeper into their concerns. What are the underlying issues of concern? Address those in your work. And continue what you are doing – moving forward and inviting. Find those key individuals who can help make inroads and have some one-on-one conversations. Just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing.