Your Stories

Staff spotlight: Studying abroad reinforces love of rural communities

Growing up on an acreage outside of Firth, Nebraska, my responsibility was to take care of the cattle—from the bottle-fed calves to the big bull we knighted Sir Loin. I broke the ice for them in winter and stuck them with needles when the time came for vaccinations. My summers were spent detasseling, hunting down thistles in my grandpa’s pasture, and swimming in creeks when they swelled with rainwater (after making sure my tetanus shot was up-to-date).

Staff spotlight: Raúl passes on knowledge to Nebraska business owners

After years of acquiring business knowledge, Raúl Arcos Hawkins now has the opportunity to share everything he’s learned with aspiring entrepreneurs throughout Nebraska.

Recently hired as a Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) business development specialist at the Center for Rural Affairs, Raúl is no stranger to the organization. Initially hired as a contractor for REAP, Raúl spent more than a year assisting business owners before taking on his new role.

Clara’s Garden shows that a sustainable floral business is possible

Being a florist focused on sustainability in the face of our changing climate may be difficult, but Mediapolis, Iowa, mother-daughter duo Meredith and Jen Hinson do just that.

Meredith began her floral career working for a local florist 15 years before opening her own shop—Clara’s Garden—in 2000. Jen joined the Clara’s Garden team when she moved back for the summer after teaching in Houston, Texas, for a few years.

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