Issues -- Community Development
As well as pursuing changes in agriculture, rural communities
are working to better their own lot. Community development aims
to empower local residents, to improve infrastructure such as
utilities, housing, community facilities, and to diversify their
economic base without undermining their rural assets. This section
offers some of the tools and resources needed to assist rural
Americans pursue their own course of sustainable development.
Primary Links and Contacts
The University of Oregon's Community
Service Center is an interdisciplinary organization
that assists Oregon communities by providing planning and technical
assistance to help solve local and regional issues, improve
the quality of life in rural Oregon, and help make Oregon communities
more self-sufficient. Affiliated with Americorps, the CSC's
for Rural Environments (RARE) Program places graduate
level students who assist communities and agencies in the development
and implementation of plans for achieving a sustainable natural
resource base and improving rural economic conditions.
Nebraska's Center for Applied
Rural Innovation, or CARI organization, utilizes a team-oriented
structure that is designed to model a successful community.
It is one of the most community-driven and impact-oriented programs
focusing on rural viability in the world. Programs have been
developed based on empirical research, best practices and local
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Discover
Rural Development website offers an overview of federal
The Heartland Center
for Leadership Development maintains the W.K.
Kellog Collection of resources for rural community development.
California Institute for
Rural Studies works to promote rural policies that are
socially just, environmentally balanced, and economically sustainable.
Its projects include Rural Policy and Community Studies, Pesticide
Policy, Agricultural Health and Safety, and Labor Law Enforcement.
The institute also produces the quarterly Rural
Working at the grassroots level, the National
Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils
offers training, educational programs and networking and technical
assistance to provide for the sustainability of local economies
and resources through a national network of 348 local RC&D
Created during the height of the Depression in 1934, Texas
Rural Communities Inc. is a nonprofit organization that
serves rural Texas communities, individuals, groups and support
organizations through rural economic development, educational,
loan and grant programs. Funding priorities for its grant
program include rural leadership, economic development, education,
rural grant writing, coalition building and telecommunications.
For 25 years, four university-based Regional Rural Development
Centers have worked with professionals in land-grant and other
educational institutions and organizations to assist rural people
and their communities find viable development alternatives and
opportunities for the future.
Programs and projects of the Western
Rural Development Center of Oregon State University
include the Community
Tourism Assessment Handbook.
Southern Rural Development
Center of Mississippi State University publishes
"Grant Connections: Rural Development Funding Opportunities,"
a funding guide for researchers and policymakers.
Regional Center for Rural Development at Pennsylvania
State University maintains the National
Tourism Education Clearinghouse, a compilation of resources
for tourism educators.
Last updated: January 22, 2004
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