NWC Rural Impact Leadership Conference Webinar – Living in the Middle of Everywhere

Ben Winchester is a rural sociologist with the University of Minnesota- Extension. For the 2024 Rural Impact Leadership Conference, Winchester provided a pre-recorded workshop called “Rewriting the Rural Narrative,” which was available to online participants. On April 4, Winchester provided a free follow-up webinar to RILC attendees called “Living in the Middle of Everywhere.” An overview of the presentation, related resources and a recording of the webinar are provided below.

The notion that rural residents live “in the middle of nowhere” continues a negative narrative that is not based on the reality of community life. Modern life is complex as we live, work, shop and play in a wide region. At the same time, most of our planning is done at a city or county level. In “Living in the Middle of Everywhere” we will explore the implications for tourism, marketing, transportation planning, resident recruitment, housing, community development and the Church. One specific way of gaining a better understanding for this web of regional activity as it varies by age and interests is through an Asset-Based Community Development exercise that has some simple, but deep, learning outcomes.