Once upon a time, the story goes, rural America thrived, a land of golden fields dotted with wholesome communities of God-fearing farmers. Then the kids — especially the bright ones — left for the city.
The school closed, and so did the hardware store and one of the churches, and now there’s just a post office and a convenience store where there was once a thriving business district. The post office is scheduled for closure.
That’s the narrative told by too many rural commentators, casual and otherwise. It’s a narrative that University of Minnesota Extension researcher and rural cheerleader Ben Winchester forcefully opposes.
Image: Cory Ritterbusch and Emily Lubcke, and their kids Paul (in the red shirt) and Mark. (Courtesy of Cory Ritterbusch)