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Recent posts by Erin Schoenberg

8 tips to make farmers markets successful

Are you a part of your local farmers market, as a customer, vendor, manager, cheerleader, or funder? Markets carry great tradition, and whatever your current or future role is, here are some tips and experiences from managers and staff, for National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 2 to 8.

1. Markets need to be dependable and well-advertised—day of week, time of market, and location should be established, well-known, and consistent.

Open for business: farmers markets taking precautions to keep you safe

Rural farmers markets play an important social and cultural role in addition to helping connect food providers and consumers. This spring, we’ve had the chance to talk one on one with dozens of market managers across the state of Nebraska. Our goal has been to gather insight that will help drive the content and format of upcoming trainings and a toolkit we are helping put together for rural market managers.

Libraries live on with community support

Recently, rural Americans have missed out on many services usually offered in their communities.

However, library employees have worked even harder to provide for their patrons. For example, in Wayne, Nebraska, library staff have stepped up to show their community how resilient small-town libraries can be.

A week after closing to the public, the library initiated curbside book pickup. They are also offering virtual assistance to patrons through online resources like Ebooks and audiobooks, online databases, learning games, language learning apps, and more.

Quilting can be a grounding exercise in the Zoom age

When you say yes to something new, you don’t always know what you’re getting into. And, a new adventure can often be the best medicine.

When Krista Dittman, my good friend and Center for Rural Affairs board president, and I said yes to a joint quilt project in 2019, we learned so much about ourselves and each other. We learned about resiliency, about getting in over our heads, and digging out. We picked up many new skills, and embraced techniques and challenges we may have resisted on our own. We shared time, space, minor disasters, and about a hundred pictures and tutorials. And, as we successfully broke through, and completed our big project right before the deadline (i.e. our friends’ wedding day), we knew we were just getting started.

Online quilting bee creates community

I’ve worked from home for many years, and I have some pretty serious homesteading tendencies. I’m an extrovert, but I’ve built a lifestyle for myself that happily keeps me home most of the time. All that said, when COVID-19 really began to affect this country, although my day-to-day actions didn’t take much of a hit, my mental health went down fast, and my focus and energy dwindled. Social media seemed more addictive and toxic than ever, and I felt hope and purpose crawl under a rock. Bye-bye now.