Optimism can be a precious commodity if you make your home in one of the thousands of small towns across America where the words, “jobless recovery” are just another way of saying you still don’t have work. From northern New England to the hills of Appalachia, from the Great Plains to the Pacific Northwest, communities that once thrived on family farming or fair-wage factory work are going quiet, their populations dwindling as working age men and women pull up stakes to try again somewhere else.
And if the exodus from rural places is a national story, so is the one about the people who stay behind, getting by on less, remembering when they had more. It is the hollowing out of small town America. We’ll talk about what’s lost, and what America cannot afford to lose.
Tim Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winning national enterprise reporter for The
New York Times
Mike Korth, farmer in Randolph, Nebraska;
Philip Barkhurst, mayor of Malta, Ohio;
Bob Danderson, mayor of Berlin, New Hampshire;
Peggy Carey, city manager of John Day, Oregon;