Course Details

914: What Is Rural?

February 7-11
11:45 AM - 1:15 PM

Urban, suburban, and rural America are increasingly divided in culture, politics, economics, education, and health outcomes. Why is this so, and should urban people care? This course will examine those and other questions such as—Where and what is rural and why are there multiple definitions? What is the Farm Bill, and what does USDA do? (Both are much more than farming.) Does our system of food production, distribution, and consumption need change? Is that system ruining our environment and health? Do we need a national food policy and a national rural policy? Why are rural and farm programs so fragmented? Who are the main actors in these issues? How have rural and urban politics become so divisive? This study group has a high class size capacity.

Class Type: Lecture and Discussion

Class Format: Online

Hours of Reading: 1-2 hours/session

Study Group Leader(s):

Joe Belden

Joe Belden has taught the OLLI course How Trump Won the Rural Vote and other topics. He was Deputy Director of the Housing Assistance Council and has published two books and a number of articles on rural issues. Guest experts include the Dee Davis, Ferd Hoefner, Keith Wiley, and Justin Maxon. Dee Davis is founder and President of the Center for Rural Strategies and publisher of The Daily Yonder. Ferd Hoefner, former Policy Director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, is a veteran of nine farm bills. Keith Wiley, PhD, is Senior Research Associate at the Housing Assistance Council and an expert on rural demography and trends. Justin Maxon is the Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the US Department of Agriculture and is a former CEO of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.