Your Stories

Stories of rural resiliency: rural grocers commit to customers during COVID-19

Before the days of quarantine and self-isolation, many people left their small communities to purchase their groceries. Consumers may not have known what their rural grocery offers, and may not have been getting as much bang for their buck. Instead, they were considering convenience, product availability, competitive pricing, or additional services.

Sandra Renner, farm and community director with the Center for Rural Affairs, talks about what rural grocery stores are now facing, due to COVID-19.

Columbus business owners receive award for entrepreneurial spirit

With dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs, Eduardo and Mary Rosa Morales opened their photography business, Venemex Productions, in Columbus, Nebraska, in 2008.

A year later, they discovered their business could benefit from training and guidance from the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP). Through years of hard work, commitment to their business, and some help along the way, their entrepreneurial dreams have come true, and the business owners are being recognized for their dedication.

Sortum practices stewardship in the Sandhills

Sarah Sortum always hoped to raise her kids on the family ranch in Nebraska’s eastern Sandhills.

She shares this goal with her brother, as the two want to ensure the ranch’s vitality for generations to come.

“At one point, we began to ask ourselves, ‘What do we want the opportunities to be like for our kids and grandkids 50 years from now? What can we do now that will support them then?’” Sarah said.

South Dakota cousins improve pasture management with CSP

For Charlie and Aaron Johnson, family farming takes on a very literal meaning.

The cousins work together alongside Charlie’s brothers, Allan and Kevin, and Charlie’s son, Jordan, to operate a combined nearly 3,000 acres in Madison, South Dakota.

The Johnsons’ operation includes four major crops—corn, oats, soybeans, and alfalfa hay—in a six-year rotation. 

Bryan Health pushes to use locally-sourced foods

The idea of a large institution using local foods to supplement their day-to-day meal services sounds next to impossible.

But, it’s not.

Lincoln, Nebraska, is home to Bryan Health, a 550-bed, nonprofit, locally owned, health care organization that serves patients throughout Nebraska, as well as parts of Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and other states in the region.

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