Cross-Currents gathering a great success!

How can art, agriculture and rural economic development support and contribute to each other? That’s just what participants in last week’s event Cross-Currents: Art + Agriculture Powering Rural Economies gathered to find out. The event was held in Greensboro, NC on September 3-5, 2014 and was sponsored by Art-Force and the National Rural Assembly.'

Perhaps the first event of its kind, Cross-Currents sought to look at often unexplored partnerships in art and agriculture, and participants rose to the challenge, launching into collaborative discussions from the first minutes together. The event brought participants from as far away as Canada and Puerto Rico and representing 22 states and the District of Columbia.  The conference was keynoted by Robin Rather, who challenged participants to think about rural communities in new ways. Other presentation topics included agritourism, new ways to build local food systems, many exciting local art/ag projects, policy considerations, and more. Participants also toured a local farm, a farmer’s market, and an art studio, and had a locavore lunch with renowned local chef Jay Pierce.  Common themes that emerged during this event were community building, relationships, partnerships, and creative placemaking.  At the end of the event, everyone was energized by the possibilities of partnerships in art and agriculture and the difference these projects might make in helping make our rural communities more dynamic and successful. We heard many ideas for future projects and collaborations that bubbled up during our three days together. Truly, a cross-disciplinary approach to rural community development holds more potential than we can imagine.   More information about this event, including presentation materials that were shared and related resources, is available here.

Perhaps the first event of its kind, Cross-Currents sought to look at often unexplored partnerships in art and agriculture, and participants rose to the challenge, launching into collaborative discussions from the first minutes together. The event brought participants from as far away as Canada and Puerto Rico and representing 22 states and the District of Columbia.

The conference was keynoted by Robin Rather, who challenged participants to think about rural communities in new ways. Other presentation topics included agritourism, new ways to build local food systems, many exciting local art/ag projects, policy considerations, and more. Participants also toured a local farm, a farmer’s market, and an art studio, and had a locavore lunch with renowned local chef Jay Pierce.

Common themes that emerged during this event were community building, relationships, partnerships, and creative placemaking.

At the end of the event, everyone was energized by the possibilities of partnerships in art and agriculture and the difference these projects might make in helping make our rural communities more dynamic and successful. We heard many ideas for future projects and collaborations that bubbled up during our three days together. Truly, a cross-disciplinary approach to rural community development holds more potential than we can imagine.

More information about this event, including presentation materials that were shared and related resources, is available here.

Cross-Currents: Free Pre-conference Broadband Workshop

If you will be attending the Cross-Currents conference in Greensboro on Sept. 3-5, we will be offering a FREE pre-conference work session to all who can attend from 2:30pm-4pm on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Proximity Hotel.

This work session will address the critical role broadband access plays in achieving creative solutions in rural America.  Speakers to this session come from Appalshop, Public Knowledge, and Coalition for Local Internet Choice.

Join us to discuss the role broadband plays in rural entrepreneurial endeavors and learn about the latest issues and policies surrounding rural broadband access.

If you can participate, please email whitney@ruralstrategies.org with your contact information.

More details:

Workshop Description:

Artisan and agricultural entrepreneurs understand that access to quality and affordable broadband is essential to their business. In this informational session, rural entrepreneurs will learn about policy issues impacting Internet access in rural communities. Panelists will discuss the potential change in rules that Internet and Telephone providers must follow, the Federal Communications Commission’ decision whether or not to allow Internet providers to divide the Internet into a fast lane for those who can afford it and a slow lane for the rest, and state bills that prohibit municipalities from creating their own broadband networks. This session will provide rural entrepreneurs with a working knowledge of rural telecommunications issues and opportunities to engage in national and state decisions that impact their access to Internet service.

Panelists:

Mimi Pickering, Appalshop – Defeat of bill seeking to stop universal telephone service in Kentucky, and change in federal rules that Internet and telephone providers must follow.

Clarissa Ramon, Public Knowledge – Network Neutrality: the FCC’s decision whether or not to allow Internet providers to create a faster Internet lane for those who can afford it and a slow lane for the rest, and how this impacts rural entrepenuers.

Joanne Hovis, Coalition for Local Internet Choice – State bills trying to ban municipalities from creating their own networks.

Whitney Kimball Coe, Center for Rural Strategies – Moderator