Rural communities are beautiful, vibrant places full of rich traditions and friendly people. Here in East Tennessee, even those who may not live on a farm or in a rural area are likely just a generation or two removed from the direct farm community. Regardless of whether or not you live on a farm today, it’s part of our cultural heritage.

But it’s also a way of life that is slowly fading. It’s harder for young people to find good-paying jobs in rural areas, and it’s harder for farmers to make a living in agriculture. According to the USDA, 85% of US counties that experience persistent poverty are rural.

However, there are actions anyone can take to help boost rural economies, making it easier for peopl