Rural development in Iowa

The coming two months, I will join the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development in Ames, Iowa. This center, part of the Iowa State University, is working with rural communities, native American communities and small producer groups to increase the capacity and resilience of these communities in tackling their problems. In the United States, the development of modern agriculture had a large impact and often devastating effects on rural communities. And, nowadays changing lifestyles, declining knowledge of food and less connection with farming and land have resulted in an obesity epidemic and diet-related diseases. Native American communities also suffer from diet-related diseases. One of the communities the center works with is a Hopi community in Arizona. A recently finished project worked with Hopi women to search for how they define, access and use traditional Hopi food. Using a community capitals approach, the participants assessed together their natural, cultural, social, political, financial and built capital. Through this, they identified their strong and weak or lacking capitals in search for improving health and living circumstances. See this website for an example of a Hopi farm.