New Book and Web Site Focuses on Renewing Rural Iowa

July 11th, 2002

AMES, Iowa - Iowans are invited to submit their ideas showing creative ways that landowners, businesses and others have combined rural job development, income enhancement and community development with environmental stewardship. The web site project, which includes a companion book to be released in the coming year, is called Renewing the Countryside.

The project is a collaboration of the Iowa Rural Development Council, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

The Iowa version of Renewing the Countryside is part of a larger, regional project that spotlights examples of innovation and positive change in the rural Great Plains. Originally developed in Minnesota in 2001, Renewing the Countryside editions are being created in several Midwestern states.

Examples of sustainable rural development are grouped as follows:
Sustainable Farming - raising food and goods while caring for the land
Direct Marketing - closing the distance between producers and consumers
Product Innovation - developing new products or increasing local profits by adding value through processing or product development
Harvesting Nature - sustainably harvesting forests, prairies and waterways
Conservation - wisely using and protecting our natural resources
Tourism and Culture - valuing and marketing connections to rural landscapes
Community - fostering community relationships in innovative ways
Learning - approaching learning and personal growth creatively
Renewable Energy - establishing new energy sources that protect natural resources

For full consideration in the project, nominations should be submitted by Aug. 1. Include name and phone number and any information on the examples, including articles that have appeared in local newspapers, magazines or other publications. Send examples via e-mail to, or mail to Renewing the Countryside, c/o The Leopold Center, 209 Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1050.

The Minnesota project is on the web at: or the Iowa project web site is


Shellie Orngard, Life in Iowa, (515) 294-6998 or (515) 233-7180

Laura Miller, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, (515) 294-3561