I am a Rural Studies Student. My concentration is Politics and Modern Cultures. This program had given me the opportunity to find my interests in how I can better my local community.
I have started a club on campus for students who want to help their local community, whether it is near or far. The focus of the club is eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable developments.
It is the goal of the club to support the buying-local movement, farmer’s markets, and spark interest in creating business opportunities for those who choose the rural life.
We have studied the effects of the ‘rural brain-drain’ due to young people leaving rural areas for the opportunities of urban life. Many people enjoy unique coffee shops, farmer’s markets and specialty cafes and are fine with living in a city but there are those who like back home but also want the perks of the city.
I think this program is a great way to link up students with ideas for creating that market here in the rural place. When you are creating your own business in something you love, in a place you love, it’s a win-win.
I often tell my professors about a webpage called LiveGreenTennessee.com. There are so many ideas on that site of how you can revive the rural place and its eco-friendly, sustainable businesses.
I have a great vision for this program and it is so linked to the eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle that the club represents. It is my hope to show what this program has to offer and how it is connected to something more than what some call a ‘niche market.’
I attended the Georgia Organics Conference at Jekyll this year and I saw so many connections between what I have learned already in the program and what they do. I had Public Policy with Amy Howell, last semester. We studied some of the policies of the Farm Bill. She always said listen for these, you will hear them again.
Well, I did at the conference. I took a workshop on Farm to Table in schools, and Farm Bill information. If you are interested in rural life, you don’t have to be a farmer to enjoy this program or get a great education out of it.
There is something for you, even if you have to create it yourself.