By Beth Newberry
We’ve collected a short list of a few blogs we read to keep us in touch with our rural roots. These blogs are kin to The HillVille in the shared purpose of uplifting folklore, current events, culture, news, politics, connecting rural and urban areas and exploring that unshakable yearning for back home.
A blog of keen insight and varied coverage on rural arts and culture, “The Art of the Rural,” “seeks to present rural arts and folkways while also considering contemporary responses to rural culture,” according to their mission statement. But in the same vein as The HillVille, it examines the rural diaspora as part of its mission. “We passionately seek to document the voices and viewpoints of its younger citizens: those who have stayed, those who have left, and those who are planning to return.” Recent posts include “In Defense of Rural Post Offices,” which addresses not only the function of these outposts, but the murals that would be lost in the closings. Other articles feature photography and other public art from Arizona to Iowa.
A compendium of news, special reports and dispatches from rural America, this blog is compiled and edited by inimitable journalist Al Cross of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. Hundreds of tagged topics including water pollution, state government and agriculture, as well as 537 posts tagged as Appalachia. For example, an interesting recent post on Harlan Co., Ky. residents’ responses to the county’s portrayal in the cable drama “Justified.”
“55 million people live in the rural U.S. Maybe you’re one of them, or used to be, or want to be,” starts the about page of the Daily Yonder, a daily news site of rural life, news and important reportage. Published by the Center for Rural Strategies, it aims to fill the gap in vanishing journalistic coverage of rural America.
Taking its name from the Zora Neale Hurston quote, “Folklore is the boiled down juice of human living,” this blog aims to be a virtual meeting place “at the intersection of sustaining community traditions and positive change and grassroots community action.” The blog started in Kentucky and Arkansas, but content is not limited to those geographical locales. However, a captivating recent story is the documentary project of Arkansas-themed tattoos, “Us Tattooed Kids: Arkansas Project.” Thoughtful posts highlight artists working on the ground and their community-oriented portfolios.
Run by ex-App and D.C. resident Mark Lynn Ferguson, this site covers the intersection of home & away, rural mountain south & mid-Atlantic metropolis and apple butter & just plain butter. The tone is warm and welcoming, and if you weren’t one of the 40,000 readers that caught this guest post, “Dear West Virginia,” read it now. Other recent posts include great places to buy Appalachian crafts, national parks and bluegrass music, among other musings.
Photo by Cyerra Crumrine.
What blogs and online site do you read to learn up on rural life? Tell us in the comments.