Rural by DesignGAMBIER, Ohio (March 8, 2013)
Rural by Design, a series of public events that will explore rural sustainability through dialogue, dance and music, unfolds at Kenyon College on Monday, April 1, through Saturday, April 6.
The free events are family-friendly and bring together an Amish bishop, experts on rural life and culture, and traditional acoustic musicians from the Hispanic Southwest and Appalachia. The challenges facing the vitality of rural life will be explored from the local to the global levels.
The events are modeled after the traditional community institutes that were often featured in rural communities, usually in the winter months, as a way to invigorate public life through discussions about agriculture and the science of farming, accented by church-choir concerts. "The point was to bring everybody together," said Howard L. Sacks, professor of sociology and director of the Rural Life Center at Kenyon College.
"We've picked up on the model as a format for doing all sorts of events to educate ourselves, to get us thinking, and to entertain and celebrate," Sacks said. "All of these events are designed to be holistic, to look at culture, at society, at government, at the economy, and to engage the diversity around us."
One goal, Sacks said, is to expand the sustainability conversation beyond environmental concerns to include the local economy, community life, and the traditions and culture of a rural community. "Questions of social life and community dynamics are important," he said.
"If you don't have a community in which people come together in a vigorous way, then you don't have the opportunity to get to know one another and to address issues crucial to the development of the community. Sustainability is also a matter of culture, of maintaining traditions and the values that help define a collective sense of ourselves in a rural community."
· An Amish Perspective on Rural Sustainability, with David Kline, an Old Order Amish bishop, Holmes County farmer, author and editor of Farming magazine. Monday, April 1, 7:00 p.m., Rosse Hall.
· Government Policy and Rural Sustainability, with David T. Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Tuesday, April 2, 7:00 p.m., Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater.
· Rural Sustainability around the Globe, a conversation with Kenyon alumni and students active in global rural sustainability efforts. Panel members include Philisile Dube '13 of Swaziland; Prabhat Gautam '09, who is a graduate student at Cornell University; Lauren McHenry '13 of Charlottesville, Virginia; and Daniel Tebes '12, who works at the Massaro Community Farm in near New Haven, Connecticut. Thursday, April 4, 11:10 a.m., Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater.
· Rural Design and Rural Sustainability, with Dewey Thorbeck, director of the Center for Rural Design at the University of Minnesota, architect, and author of Rural Design: A New Design Discipline. Thursday, April 4, 7:00 p.m., Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater.
· Barn Dance, an interpretive dance exploring space in an historic barn, choreographed by Balinda Craig-Quijada, associate professor of dance. Friday, April 5, 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 6, 3:00 p.m., Colwill Farm and Barn, 19855 New Gambier Rd.
· Local Foods Brunch, Saturday, April 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Harcourt Parish House.
· Mountain Music, Southeast by Southwest, concert featuring the trio El Violin de Lorenzo Martinez that performs the Spanish Colonial music of northern New Mexico, and the New Ballard's Branch Bogtrotters, who perform Appalachian, old-time fiddle music. Saturday, April 6, 8:00 p.m. Rosse Hall.
· Where Does Our Food Come From? The 21-panel exhibition includes photographs, narrative descriptions, and excerpted interviews drawn from Kenyon student fieldwork in Knox County on the sources of food and the paths it takes before reaching dinner tables. Throughout the week at Gund Commons. The exhibition will next move to a permanent home at Malabar Farm State Park.
To learn more about the events, visit rurallife.kenyon.edu and call 740-427-5158. Rural by Design is made possible by the McGregor Fund of Detroit and is presented by the Kenyon College Rural Life Center with support from the Kenyon Center for Global Engagement, the Kenyon Center for the Study of American Democracy, and People Endorsing Agrarian Sustainability.