Positive Rural Development:

Positive Rural Development:

Because We Love It Here!

How to mobilize people to build on rural strengths and assets.

People call me one of the top five rural development experts in the nation, because I have helped lead the field away from "hand wringing" and toward a greater appreciation of the special strengths and opportunities of rural life.

As a rural resident myself, I understand rural perspective and appreciate rural strength.  I team with community leaders to create Positive Rural Development projects that really work for you.

What is Positive Rural Development?

Positive Rural Development is based on the idea that ruralness is a strength, not a weakness.  We are strong because we know how to network across distance, which is a valuable thing in a global economy.  Some Positive Rural Development strategies include growing entrepreneurship, targeted industry networking, institutional and community networking, youth leadership, affinity marketing, collaborative justice,  green development, and building on our quality of life.

Use Positive Rural Development to:
  • restore a positive and opportunistic spirit
  • create jobs and business
  • strengthen the role of young people
  • tap and strengthen a wonderful quality of life, for both existing and prospective residents
  • bridge and unite diverse people around practical actions
  • train and build the capacities of leaders to get things done for the common good

Strengths On Your Side: Positive Rural Development

-  Over 1 million rural leaders like you have used Luther's Asset Mapping methods.

-  Luther "wrote the book"
that helped lead the shift toward Positive Rural Development: The Organization of Hope:  A Workbook for Rural Asset-Based Community Development (Check it out in Publications). 

-  Luther's been called one of the top five rural development experts in the nation and has widespread connections and knowledge to share with you.

Positive Rural Development:  Luther in Action

Small Town Snowball Effect:
In one small town, Luther facilitated positive sessions with 8 groups in two days.  The positive energy and practical action of each of these groups snowballed to create a "can do" attitude throughout the community, resulting in new businesses, projects, and grants.

Transforming a Large Rural Organization:
Luther's positive presentations and trainings helped transform a statewide rural development organization from a negative, need-based approach to a positive, empowering approach.  It has attracted new major regional and national funding, its members have thrived, and it's now one of the nation's leading state rural advocates.

Rural Justice and Collaboration Strategy:
A large foundation wanted to connect and reconcile its work on rural community development and its support of Latino issues.  Luther helped develop a new "win-win-win" strategy for building both Rural Anglo and Latino constituencies, dealing with injustices, and bridging human interests for the common good.

Powerful Tool for Field Staff:
A major utility with a mostly-rural customer base wanted to find a way for its field staff to make a positive contribution in its local communities.  The utility licensed and adapted Luther's Asset Mapping methods for use by its staff in community meetings.  The sessions have been uplifting, good collaborations and projects have come out, and the utility is playing a leading role in larger community development efforts.

Who Uses Positive Rural Development?

Large and small groups across the countryside use Luther's help, such as:
  • National rural organizations like the National Rural Economic Development Association, the National Rural Assembly, the National Catholic Rural Life Council, and Rural Partners of Canada.
  • Regional providers like the Northwest Area Foundation, the Midstates Community and Economic Development Conference, Cornell University, the Blandin Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, and the Appalachian Assembly.
  • Statewide rural organizations from across the countryside, including Kentucky, Washington, Michigan, Oregon, North Carolina, Ohio, Minnesota, Ontario, Maine, South Dakota, New York, West Virginia, Indiana, Florida, and Texas.
  • Dozens of individual rural communities and small towns.

How Can I Use Positive Rural Development?

Join the Positive Rural Development movement!  

Download the free handout from Consumer's Energy in Michigan, called "Prospering from Community Assets."  It's part of a series Consumer's did on the best, most practical strategies out there for small towns and rural communities.  You may distribute this handout in your group for discussion.
Read the book:  Get a copy of bestselling book, The Organization of Hope: A Workbook for Rural Asset-Based Community Development, published by the ABCD Institute.  It has examples and stories of how rural communities have used positive, asset-based approaches to create jobs, resolve conflict, develop youth and families, retain culture, and organize for political action.

Develop and strengthen your own Positive Rural Development projects and approaches.  In months to come we'll be providing ways to share and collaborate with other leaders in this field.

Network with other Positive Rural Developers, through the "Links" section of this website and our social networking connections like Facebook and Linked In.

Engage Luther K. Snow.
  • Bring in Luther to be a speaker and presenter at your rural event.  He "gets" rural.  His sessions are lively, inspirational, down-to-earth, and always highly rated.  And participants will get practical tools they can take home and use, right away!  [Speaking]

  • Enlist Luther to facilitate and lead your community planning session, rural association gathering, or organizational leadership event.  You'll find yourselves taking positive action and uncovering opportunities you may not have even realized you had! [Facilitation]

  • Hire Luther to consult with your organization or collaboration, in Strategic Planning, Business Development, Fundraising and Resource Development, and/or Leadership Development.  Luther has a unique ability to see "the genius in the community" and will help your organization strengthen and grow as a model for successful social change. [Consulting]

Thank you, and remember, ruralness is strength!