Ten years ago, 20 percent of Americans lived in rural areas. But according to the latest Census, that number has fallen to 16 percent. Not only are small towns getting smaller... the populations are aging. Young people are moving away. Calling it a "severe crisis," President Obama even created a White House Rural Council to find ways to spur economic growth in small communities. But the best ideas for renewing rural America may not come from the top. In this report for Harvest Public Media, Kansas Public Radio's J. Schafer shares the "on-the-ground" perspective from the "Big Rural Brainstorm," a two-day gathering held in the small town of Newton.
You can learn more about the Big Rural Brainstorm by visiting the Kansas Sampler Foundation at kansassampler.org.
=== (And now, for our radio affiliates with less air time to spare... a shorter version of the story above. Just 4:15) ===