Time for me to start blogging about what matters to me. Ways to make a difference. ..My farm…. My crazy life….Just stuff. I know I’ve been ‘gone’ a long time! But that will all change now.
Wouldn’t that be great?!
Think about all the wonderful things she/he could do….
They could go around to the local communities and compile a list of useable buildings, businesses the towns would like to have, businesses with owners about to retire (w/ no one to take over) micro lenders, bankers, SBA contacts and so on.
This information could be posted on the web, put in print and distributed to out of staters requesting information on ND, be presented at the schools.- Both High School and College.
I think people would be amazed at what is right in their backyard! And it would help promote the fact that ND is more than OIL. More than Minot, Biz, Fargo & Dickinson.
There are plenty of people that would relocate to a smaller town if they thought there was an opportunity.
I could be that person…(hint..hint)…I think it’s a wonderful chance to really showcase ND.
Often I think so.
Yes, I KNOW that the Northwestern part of the state is growing by leaps and bounds. That isn’t all there is to North Dakota!
So many of our towns lie quiet and on the brink of extinction. Literally. Others have become ‘bedroom’ communities. Nothing more than places people go to sleep after a day of working, playing & shopping elsewhere.
” a town or a city is a geographical expression of an economic reality”
There are countless reasons for a town to disappear. Exodus of people, lack of suitable employment, no entertainment are some. Farm consolidation and sometimes the mergers of Church’s plays a role. Our own mobility has played a part.
I think we need to ask ourselves WHY do people leave?, WHAT can we do to prevent it? And WHO are the people we want to target to come to our towns and help us regrow.
There are numerous town within 50 miles of where I live. Only a couple are actually thriving. In one town the Economic Developer actually said “Why do we need to do anything, as close to Bismarck as we are?” This town has NO downtown any longer. And NO services except the bars and gas station. This ED has assumed that we ALL have the ability to get from point A to point B at any giving time and that we ALL want to spend time and fuel just go get something.
In another town, the previous ED had a number of HOTEL chains interested in doing business there. This town has a major tourist attraction, is on a main Highway and has no suitable lodging. Can you believe that local business owners got together and had meeting with the city because they didn’t want someone else ‘Taking food of their tables”? Yes Really… I though competition was good…Guess what? NO HOTEL HERE!
In this same town, we absolutely REFUSE to patronize the Rexall. It’s really a shame, because this store is only 20 miles from the house. Instead we choose to add an additional 20 miles to our round-trip and go one more town over. They are ALWAYS nice to us there. To date, in the six years we have been ‘back’, we have NEVER (an that’s NOT an exaggeration) once had our presence acknowledged in that store. Apparently they are making plenty of money and don’t need us or our money.
And yet they have the gall to complain to the local board about people don’t support them. Shocker.
Some other reasons that our towns are dying…. Complacency, Rejecting any and ALL new ideas, (especially if they are from ‘outsiders’) Not even trying to attract new business & Bad customer service.
What can we DO to reverse the trend? I’ve heard plenty of good ideas. Heck, I’ve even thrown a few of my own into the ring.
Let’s listen to out youth! Some of them WANT to stay right here. And they are also the ones will be moving ‘back’ someday. What do they think of the future?
Apprenticeship could be another way to populate and get new business or retain existing businesses. There are plenty of people set to retire. And then what? WHO is going to replace that closed business? WHY should that building be left to set empty? Let’s attract people who WANT to do business and stay local that can bring fresh ideas to town….Who says apprenticeship is for only the young?
WHY can’t our little towns be vital centers for boutique shopping and the arts? I’ve seen it work in other states. There’s no rule that says our towns have to be sleepy and backwards.
Welcome NEWCOMERS!!!! Make them feel like VITAL members of the community. Let them play the reindeer games. Exclusion or looking down on them just makes them put in their ‘time’ (example- they work at one of the plants) and then leave. Taking their children who may have wanted to stay in the area with them.
True story- In the the one town, I was working part time when we moved back. One day I overheard a lady say they were behind on their quilting at church. (they were making comfort quilts) I volunteered to help. She dropped of quilting supplies the next day at my work. That very afternoon, a so-called UPPER MEMBER of the community came and TOLD me to give it back, they ‘Didn’t need or want my help’. Really? I got UN-INVITED from Church-Stuff???? I cheerfully let her know exactly what I thought of that!
And they actually wonder why we leave…
Freshen up! More than just planters in the summer. Most towns have a fund for this and can tap local resources such as a service group (think Boy Scouts) to get it done. Even if the buildings are empty they can still be painted and the yard mowed. What’s that saying about ‘attracting more flies with honey’???
You want to be a community. Then ACT like a community. Host events. INCLUDE everyone. Have public forums for ideas about local entertainment. One very nice community has music every week ,spring thru fall, in the park they built in the open space between two buildings on their main street. It really has a great way of bringing every one together of all ages. They all feel CONNECTED by this one simple thing.
Lay OFF the negativity! The little town I live nearest to has 33 residents. We have potential. But it’s an uphill battle against the Old Guard. One in particular has been in the media spotlight lately saying that our little town is Over. Done. Finished. It’s like swimming upstream…
Every town has something to offer. Let’s capitalize on it. Reverse the mass exodus. North Dakota is about more than just the Oil Boom. IT’S ABOUT US. The people. It’s about being Pioneers and blazing the trail for others to follow. Think outside the box. There is plenty of opportunity here. Who will lead the way? Which town will set the bar by showing that you don’t have to have a big box store to be successful? With the Internet, and UPS, just about any business can be a viable business in a small town!
There is a great book out there “13 ways to KILL your community” by Doug Griffiths. I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they can, or wants to make a difference. In it he outlines 13 of the biggest ways communities are killing themselves and offers practical insight and solutions. I highly
recommend reading it!
Progress is defined by Websters as :” A forward or onward movement, -A betterment “.
With the economy in the tank, more and more people are looking to North Dakota’s Oil Patch solve their problems. That’s not neccessarily the solution.
Come to North Dakota, but keep in mind-Sometimes the solutions are in YOUR OWN abilities!!! Maybe just some creative out-of-the-box thinking will do it.
We WANT you! We want you to come here. But more importantly- we want you to STAY here. We want you to be a part of out community, of our history, of our future.
You may be an out of work upper (office) managment kind-a person. Well, I can personally name off a half a dozen people that translated that skill into Management in fast food. YES. I said Fast Food. I know a lady that makes waaaaay over 100,000 a year at KFC. Between bonus’s, health & life ins, salary & stock options, she is sitting pretty. Because she WASN’T ‘to good’ to work there!
Another family (hubby wife and 6 kids) sold everything except what would fit in two 25 trailers and RELOCATED to Driscoll, ND from SACRAMENTO, CA!! They decided that having daily family time was way more important than being a slave. They embraced the lifestyle. Became a huge part of their community, learned new skills and used the ones they already possessed to make a living. He is a mechanic and she now sells ‘pastured’ eggs in all the surrounding towns.
It’s a matter of perspective. you either want to keep a roof over your head, or you want to be a victim. And I personally have almost zero tolerence for victims!
Maybe you can’t make your house payments where ever it is you are at. Come to North Dakota! Check out our smaller towns and communities. Downsize if you must. You CAN find very, very affordable housing here. You don’t have to live in the heart of the city. You may like it out here! Re-evaluate your priorities. Does having a ‘trophy’ house really matter? Or would you rather be able to relax on your riding mower and wave at the neighbors? Would you rather work your fingers to the bone? Or have the time to enjoy the things that really matter to you? If you’re handy you can pick up solid homes that just need cosmetics for next to nothing.
Our smaller towns have incredible sports and acedemic programs for the kids, generous programs for starting a business, a real sense of community- people actually help each other out! You may like it…And many of these town are a reasonable distance from the ‘City’.
Evaluate your skill set! Can you sew? Build? Do electrical? Cook? Design? Photography? - Do you have any hobbies that can be potential money makers? Maybe you can do metal sculpture along with your welding…get the idea??? These can be translated into a job.
I speak from experience! We live on a small farm about 40 miles from Bismarck. We needed to bring extra income into the farm. I started using my baking & sewing skills to make extra money. I now have a little business that is thriving. I sell my baked goods in several towns, make custom kitchen aprons for people and host bread baking and canning classes. www.buffalogalsbakery.com
Some of my sucess can be attributed how many outlets North Dakota has to get help! I utilized the Pride of Dakota program, and resources from the Departments of Tourism and Commerce.
Some of it was simple dedication to the cause. Our cause is to pay down the land so we are not freaked out later by how much we owe. One of our priorities is to be in a position that if something happens to one of us, the other can bay the bills. And we wouldn’t have to sell out. It is not an un-attainable goal. We just had to re-evaluate & prioritize what was important to us. We were at a point where we decided that time with family had to be at the top of the list.
We moved BACK to ND six years ago from Colorado. Land was high. So was the day to day cost of living. We were working away from home more, just to keep up. So, hubby said “let’s go home!” (he was born here) So, here we are. Simple as that.
To us- This is PROGRESS
Come to North Dakota. Become a part of out communities. Live life.
You may think a farmer just goes out and sits in the tractor all day. That is so not all there is to it!
From the time he or she gets up, until the moment they go to bed ( even while they sleep!) a farmers first thoughts are about the farm. What needs doing today? What needs fixed? what animals attention? Do I need to get parts ? Did I remember to go to the FSA office in town? Will we make enough to carry us through the winter? Where can we cut costs?
A farmer must be a salesmen, a good stewerd of the land-else his production will go down, be knowledgeable about animal husbandry, have general fix-it skills and be able to make a buck on the fly. He must also know how to ‘read’ people to help him get the best price when he is dickering. Have accounting skills to rival a CPA’s, and be able to look adversity straight in the eye.
I know for us it is a seemingly 24 hour operation. Even in our ‘down’ time we are making lists of things that shoulda, woulda, coulda….
Did I mention that said farmers wife must be his equal, helpmate and more? As a farm wife, we are expected to log as many hours ‘on’ the farm in addition to our usual round of maid chores. Not always easy, but definately rewarding.
When times are tight and markets are down we look for ways to make an extra buck or two. Right now, I have put my baking skills to use to help offset farm expenses along with working ‘in town.’ I expect I will soon be making quilts again to supplement Christmas..A few years ago we decided to go back to living off the land- So I now have a huge garden again and spend about three full months canning and drying food. This helps cut grocery costs. We cut wood and use the woodburner more and just bundle up to save on heating costs.
All in all, being a farmer is gratifying. You get to work for yourself….(yeah…) and have the satisfaction of saying ‘I did that!’
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Talk about a town that’s going somewhere!
Â Â Â Â Â Hazen, North Dakota is the place to be if you want to do business in a friendly, PRO-BUSINESS town!Â I was recently in Hazen, at the invitation of Duke Rosendhal, to scout possible locations for our business.
Â Â Â I have to admit, as soon as I drove into town I was impressed! Before heading downtown to the City offices, I took the time to drive around the town first. Dang near every yard is
Â Â Â Â Branding your business is so incredibly important. It literally can make or break you.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Wow! How great is that??Â Â Our First check! Not huge, but it was a start.Â
We were vendors atÂ Â the Pride of Dakota Wholesale Show in April. We debuted our cookies and bars.