I asked my favorite teenager recently what she thought made our small community both special and sustainable. I found her list particularly interesting and pertinent relative to our Sustainable Spring discussion.
- Pride in community
- Caring nature of community members
- Underlying toughness
- Athletic and extracurricular activities universally available to all interested youth
- United community in one school system
A key component to our farm’s sustainability is the ability of our rural community to endure. Our community of Cozad not only provides Matt and I with the services that we need for our agricultural businesses, but it also plays a key role in helping us to raise our children.
An elementary school teacher in our town told me a few years ago, “Anne, it takes an entire community to raise a child”. As I think of the thousands of children that I have coached and the hundreds of other adults that have mentored my own children, I realize how very true this statement is.
I was not born in rural America, but I have become a believer in the core values that permeate life in our small town. The pace is a little bit slower, the people are a little bit friendlier, and an underlying goal of community prosperity dictates an element of teamwork that I never saw growing up in urban America.
- I live in a community where class distinctions are blurry and hometown pride prevails.
- I live in a community that unites together to endure challenges, looking inward to find the faith and the strength needed to persevere.
- I live in a community where youth are universally included in activities and encouraged to participate.
- I live in a community where every child attends school together, and education is a community project.
Matt and I feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community, and we try our best to give back to the town that has given us a quality of life that is second to none.
Matt volunteers as a member of the town hospital board, the Cozad Development Corporation, the United Way investment committee, and several other agriculturally related area groups. I focus my efforts outside of agriculture on youth athletic programs and have spent this spring coaching and helping with three different sports teams (soccer, swimming and track).
Perhaps this YouTube video describes the community feeling that permeates rural America’s small towns most effectively. Take a moment to watch the Cornhusker Football team with a young boy challenged with cancer and you will see the heart of America—the vital presence of a compassion that creates an inherent ability to endure.
This is the essence of rural America: strong, compassionate and sustainable…