Anna Wasescha is President of West Central Initiative. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

When some people hear the word “rural,” they have images of small, dated towns that have been left behind by an ever-changing world. But West Central Initiative President Anna Wasescha is not sure if “rural” is an adequate description of how Minnesotans in this part of the state live their lives. Wasescha spoke to KMRS in Morris this past week at a Meet and Greet event at the West Central Research and Outreach Center, and invited those in Greater Minnesota to…

“…rethink what we mean by living in a rural area. There’s been so much talk about the urban-rural divide,” said Wasescha. “Even when you live in a less densely populated area than the Twin Cities, you’re connected to the globe by virtue of the Internet. There are any number of instances where companies headquartered internationally are doing business here, or we’re buying products from them. And also, we’re selling a great deal of what we produce internationally — corn and soybeans being a prime example.”

No matter how small the town is where we live, we are all living in a global economy, said Wasescha. The WCI is a foundation focusing on community and economic development for nine counties in west central Minnesota, and recently decided to incorporate the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals into its work as part of its strategic plan for the next three fiscal years. The lofty goals tackle such issues as hunger, poverty, education, clean water, gender equality, climate action and partnerships to reach the goals.

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