In the best "I'm going to win the lottery" mind set, we have come to believe that "out there somewhere" is the silver bullet that will fix whatever ails us. If we can only find it and bring it home, then our farm, school, town, region, economy -- future -- will be saved.
The chance of winning the lottery is 1 in 14 million, yet desperate folks spend scarce dollars on the extreme, rare, slim chance that the answer to all their problems will come from choosing the right set of numbers.
In rural communities, no matter how many times we try to avoid the roller coaster thrill of "wow, this is IT" that plunges into an "oh well, that wasn't IT," we keep looking for the one right thing that will turn the tide of our town's depopulation, bring in high paying jobs, keep the schools open, and attract our children to come back home.
No matter how much we say it's not true, we still seem to think that "THE ANSWER" is out there and it's some magic, one great thing.
Truth is, there ARE no silver bullets; there never have been.
We need to stop looking for THE answer to rural community survival. We need to hike up our own bootstraps, take a lesson from what others are doing, do some "no idea is crazy" creative brainstorming, and come up with a menu of things that we'll work on together to help our families, farms and communities to thrive.
The key to survival in the 21st century is to develop a portfolio of economic strategies, none of which is a silver bullet, but together and in combination, they can help us to survive.
There are ideas all around us -- but none is an all saving "silver bullet." Yet each provides some great points from which to start your own portfolio of individual, family, farm, and community opportunities. Here are few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Put on your Thinking Caps -- your Idea Incubators-- and start imagining the WHAT IFs for your own sustainable future:
Enchanted Highway - Regent, North Dakota - As the organizers of these works of art are not ashamed to admit, the main purpose behind the Enchanted Highway is to promote tourism to the area. Gary Greff is a metallurgist from Regent, and as the driving force behind the creation of this series of sculptures he hopes that increased tourism will bring people and their money to help save the impoverished town of Regent and the surrounding communities. Read more
Buy Fresh and Local - When you buy local food, you vote with your food dollar. This ensures that the family farms in your community will continue to thrive and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, abundant and local food. Look for the label, taste the difference! Read more
The Savvy Traveler - How are you going to keep