By Maura Adams

Beers and Community 2James Fallows of The Atlantic and his wife, Deborah, have traveled over 54,000 miles in a single-engine prop plane to explore life in small cities and towns across the United States. In 2016, they published a list of eleven signs that a city will succeed, like strong “local patriots” and exemplary public-private partnerships. And then there’s this: “One final marker, perhaps the most reliable: A city on the way back will have one or more craft breweries… You may think I’m joking, but just try to find an exception.

If craft breweries are a clear sign of community revitalization – and we believe they are! – then things are looking bright for the Northern Forest. We’ve counted at least 50 craft breweries in the region, from Boots Brewing in Watertown, NY, on one end of the Northern Forest to Northern Maine Brewing in Caribou, Maine, on the other.

By Rob Riley

MHI 100 KatahdinImpact Investment – is that what we mean by “doing well by doing good?” In a recent On Point radio segment produced by a Boston public radio station, the host and varied guests discussed impact investments — investments in publicly trading companies or exchange-traded funds — and spent a significant amount of time debating how to measure the return on investment. Does the investment by a foundation into a screened ‘impact investment fund’ make a difference that otherwise wouldn’t have been made by another investor? Does the investor not compromise its desired rate of return by seeking out impact investments? 

By Mike Wilson

Some of the most innovative middle and high school education in the state is happening in western Maine – thanks in part to the Center’s old friend Ryder Scott whose creative work with local school districts is leading to greater student engagement with their community, and improved learning results.

Water testing at Covered Bridge on Ellis smThrough our Community Revitalization program, the Center is increasingly aware of how essential quality education is for rural communities that want to attract and retain families. We’re learning that successful programs are grounded in understanding local demographic challenges and a need — increasingly acknowledged by educators and the community — for K-12 education to adapt to meet the demands of the future workplaces and college classrooms that young people will enter. 

“At a time when any third grader with an iPad has unlimited access to information,” Ryder says, “preparing students for success increasingly includes designing learning experiences that challenge young people to develop 21st Century skills: working in teams, thinking interdependently, and communicating effectively through multiple platforms.”

By Joe Short

New Mexico RVCC Long

I had breakfast this week with a woman who described to me the rural community where she works. It’s a town that once had the highest per capita income in its state, based on a strong natural resource economy. Now, however, those historic, natural-resource based industries have waned, and the community’s good fortune has gone downhill with it. Despite a rich landscape and working lands heritage, the town faces severe economic challenges.

This story is identical to the one that the Center tells about Millinocket, Maine, where we are deeply invested in rural community revitalization. But I was not in Maine, or even in the Northern Forest. I was at the annual meeting of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the town I learned about was Libby, Montana.