USDA Announces Federal Resource Guide to Assist Rural Communities

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 20, 2012 - USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today announced the publication of a guide outlining programs the federal government has available to support rural communities as they promote economic development and enhance the quality of life for rural residents.

"Rural communities across the country are working hard to build their economies and provide services to their residents," Tonsager said during a speech here today at a conference of the National Rural Economic Developers Association. "Creating great places to live, raise families, provide recreational opportunities, and infrastructure for high paying jobs in rural America is very important to the Obama Administration and our efforts at USDA. This publication will provide easy, one-stop access to federal programs."

The publication "Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities" is a collaborative effort among USDA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. It ensures rural communities have access to all of the federal resources that can support their efforts to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments modernize infrastructure and provide services to residents. The guide has key information on funding and technical assistance opportunities available from the four agencies, as well as examples of how rural communities across the country have benefitted from federal resources.

Read more: USDA Announces Federal Resource Guide to Assist Rural Communities

Placeworks Arts Outreach Now Taking Applications

PlaceworksLogoColorPlaceworks Arts Outreach is now taking applications for fall semester programs. Placeworks is free to rural districts and teachers, and is supported by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural Schools Partnership and the Coover Place-Based Education Grantmaking Program of Commerce Trust.

Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. Teachers can download, print and complete an application by going to and scrolling down to the Placeworks section. Instructions for returning the application are included on the form.

Taught by Teaching Artists Kate Baird and Julie Taylor Jones, Placeworks is an arts-outreach program that promotes learning through visual arts exploration. The program is interdisciplinary in nature, meaning that work in the visual arts explicitly supports learning in another curricular area — language arts, social studies, science or math — with an emphasis on place-based learning, meaning the school and its surrounding community and area influence the lessons. Placeworks offers a menu of program options, which may be adapted to suit the needs of the participating classroom. Professional teaching artists and all project materials are provided at no cost to the school.

Read more: Placeworks Arts Outreach Now Taking Applications

Grow Our Strengths: Missouri Students Turn Plans Into Action

Glenwood School in West Plains, Missouri, has started a new project with big hopes of contributing to their community. In the spring of 2011, Glenwood K-8 school district in Howell County received a $4,600 Coover Foundation Place-Based Grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural Schools Partnership.

The Glenwood “Grow Our Strengths” Garden Project — created by Juliet Cobb, a parent, local high school teacher, and President of the Glenwood School Foundation — is a project that will teach students how to grow their own produce for use in the school kitchen and to donate to the community food pantry, along with learning to compost waste from the school kitchen.

Read more: Grow Our Strengths: Missouri Students Turn Plans Into Action