Core Themes for 2012: Highlighting the Rural Voice

Oyster shell, photo by author

Imagine the last time you went to an oyster roast – good food, happy friends, and maybe a delicious smelling fire to warm your toes. Someone brought warm homemade crackers. The youngest in the crowd is both delighted and disgusted at the discovery of a lucky oyster crab in the corner of his oyster shell.

Moments like these that help define what sustainability means – a desire for the continued existence of those oyster roasts. That requires healthy estuaries to make oysters every year, careers that keep people in the community, and healthy local farming for trees and agriculture. Moments like these define the word ‘rural’, where residents are dependent on the natural resources they interact with daily for food and livelihood. This could mean life on a farm in one of the most sparsely populated regions of the country or a piece of the rural carved out of an increasingly urbanized landscape. Rural describes an ethic and a way of life more than any particular location.

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