The KCVC works hand in hand with the Ogallala Commons, a multi-state rural resource network, and is the center of the Real Ranch Country Community program. Brittany outlined the philosophy of our partnership this way:
Ogallala Commons is a nonprofit organization intended to help sustain our rural communities. It addresses the six common challenges that face us:
- By assessing and prioritizing, we know where we are and where we hope to go.
- By conserving natural resources, we are able to establish practices that conserve and regenerate our natural capital.
- By growing leaders, we are able to turn responsibility over to the next generation.
- By engaging youth, we encourage them to seek out a career here, rather than lose them to the impersonality of a large city.
- By supporting entrepreneurs, we are able to establish goods and services here in our own community and eliminate the need to spend money on these in a larger town. This boosts our hometown economy and creates a new career path for our residents.
- By harvesting wealth, we are encouraging lands and businesses to stay in the control of people with ties to our hometowns.
The six “fenceposts” represent common obstacles facing rural communities today.
The commonwealths are community assets that can be invested in to create new resources over long term time frame. There are twelve commonwealths of Ogallala Commons: sense of place, education, health, leisure and recreation, spirituality, history, renewable energy, foodshed, soil &mineral life, wildlife & the natural world, arts & culture, and the water cycle.
These factors are the top twelve things a person would look for when choosing where to live and build their future. For me, these are things I want more developed in my community so that when I return from college, my hometown is a place where all my needs can be met.
If our communities could pool our assets and come together, I feel like Knox County could meet these commonwealths and strive for even more for our residents.
From what I have seen of Ogallala Commons, the rural spirit is alive and well. If we can help our residents develop the skills they need to sustain our communities, Knox County will be a place youth will wish to return to year after year.