U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at this month’s Rural Futures Conference that now is the time “to re-emphasize, re-educate and remind America of the importance of rural America” because “rural America is ready to capitalize on economic and societal changes.” (AP Photo)
We feel this way about Appalachia. Appalachia is more than ready to capitalize on the opportunities that are presenting themselves as the region’s economy transitions into an uncertain future. That uncertainty provides ample space for discussion about what we want that future to look like. Discussion, and then action.
And part of this probably will require us to share the story of our region far and wide, as Vilsack suggests for all rural areas. We’ll need many people to help in this effort, from within and outside the region. We need investment from as many places as possible.
So, let’s take Vilsack’s advice, and re-emphasize, re-educate and remind others of Appalachia’s importance so we can capitalize on this very crucial moment.