December 12, Benjamin Winchester presents Rewriting the Rural Narrative
It seems the rural story has already been told. Small towns keep getting smaller. Churches, schools, clinics, businesses, and now post offices, have closed their doors as the lucky few migrate out to the big cities. This deficit framework dominates how we discuss and envision our rural communities. However, the story of rural America since 1970 is rich and diverse, with positive trends occurring under the radar. Learn how these important positive changes have been occurring across the rural landscape that require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.
Rural Sociologist, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality
Ben has been working both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 20 years. He lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota with his wife and two children. Ben is a Rural Sociologist for the University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality. He conducts applied research on economic, social, and demographic topics surrounding a theme of “rewriting the rural narrative” that are vital to rural America. Winchester received his B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Minnesota, Morris (1995) and M.S. in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri, Columbia (2001). He was a founding employee at the Center for Small Towns, an outreach and engagement program at the University of Minnesota, Morris and specializes in community development, demographic analysis, data visualization, and moving communities away from anecdata.