Sarah Smarsh – Keynote: Homecoming – PFI Virtual Annual Conference 2021
Home is different for each of us. Over the past two centuries as our economy has become more industrial, people have increasingly called urban and suburban areas home. Yet while rural areas are often portrayed as dying, there are glimmers of hope and a shifting tide for the rural U.S. Bestselling author and journalist Sarah Smarsh, who grew up on a rural Kansas farm, will share stories of people who are coming – or choosing to stay – home in rural places and small towns.
Sarah reflects on ingenuities and the struggles people face in their commitment to making a good life for themselves and their communities. Our rural exodus brought with it exaggerated stereotypes and social dichotomies. Sarah discusses how a misunderstood rural America drives misleading headlines and dangerous divisions among us – and how this rural homecoming is good news for everyone. Rural, suburban and urban life are intertwined. Sarah inspires us to set aside our assumptions and bridge the false divides between us, helping us all feel like we belong in the places we call home.