1. Who Cares?
Why is rural America important to us as a nation? What steps should be taken to respond to rural
communities in crisis, and what does the future hold for these rural areas?
2. Economic Base
Explores the shifting economic base of rural communities. Illustrating this trend, the history of
four diverse rural areas - Irwin, Iowa; Mammoth Lakes, California; Eatonton, Georgia; and
McDowell County, West Virginia - is juxtaposed with their current economic transitions.
3. Just Folks
Highlights community values and beliefs, which contribute to the power of social institutions
such as churches and schools. Why changes need to be made within the parameters of social and
cultural customs and standards is explored.
Rural families discuss the "legacies" they hope to pass on to their children. What is deemed
important-a business, land, education, the environment, or something else-depends on social
class, gender, race, and ethnicity.
5. Act Locally...and Invest
Keeping and attracting investment in rural areas require creative approaches. The Penobscot
Nation in Maine and a family-run shoe factory in rural Ohio demonstrate how rural people
overcome problems stemming from a lack of capital.
6. Think Globally
Addresses strategies rural communities can use to adapt their labor force to the global economy.
Southeast Asians move to Kansas to work in a factory and women in the Dominican Republic
sew shoes for a manufacturer in Ohio.
7. The Town That's Been Through the Mill
The people of Oakridge, an Oregon timber community whose mill is now closed, show their
resilience. Mill workers, community leaders and government officials share their perceptions of
what led to the economic crisis in their community.
8. Hereby Notified and Called To Meet
How do local governments work? This program shows how two local governments mediate
conflict. Direct democracy in a town meeting in Fletcher, Vermont, is compared with city
councils in Caliente, Nevada.
9. The Basics
The quality of everyday life depends on public services and community maintenance. Taken for
granted in modern society, these services become expensive for the sparse population base of
10. The Will To Grow
Why does a community such as Caliente, Nevada, survive all odds while another with almost
identical resources becomes a ghost town? The social infrastructure of these communities is
examined for clues.
11. Capacity To Care
Examines how rural communities with limited resources are able to meet the needs of special
populations. Communities in Virginia, Alabama, and Ohio are shown to provide such programs.
12. Communities on the Move
Visionary leaders and innovative approaches can compensate for limited resources. This program
visits a sheep and weaving cooperative in Northern New Mexico; a melon collective in Texas;
and The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks in Southeast Ohio.
13. What Next?
Sociologists discuss rural public policy issues for the next decade, trying to articulate how rural
Americans can take advantage of opportunities now and in the future.