Click each icon to learn more about the track and its sessions.


Entrepreneurship Track

Each successive recession in recent history has left in its wake an ever-widening economic gap between rural communities and national trends. Along with a stunning lack of new business formation in rural America, if this trend continues after this current pandemic-induced recession, it will perpetuate ever-widening gaps in income, population, education attainment, innovation, politics, employment and opportunity. Radically Rural seeks to provide solutions, guidelines and models for community leaders, groups and individuals to create a rich culture of entrepreneurship, a thriving local economy and a vibrant community.

Who Should Attend: Entrepreneurs, economic and community development professionals, government leaders, business leaders, community and downtown advocates, entrepreneur support organizations, lenders and other business funders

Track Leaders: Chris Harris, Senior Director of Development, Kansas Leadership Center & Sara Powell, Program Director, Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship

2024 Topics: Radically Rural biotech & Youth Entrepreneurship

Community Journalism Track

Local journalism, a bedrock for informed and successful small communities, is under threat. More and more towns are losing their local news sources to the economic upheaval facing the news business and dramatic changes in the ways people get their information. We know that when a trusted local news operation leaves a town, taxes increase, bond rates worsen and community economic development suffers. The Community Journalism Track for Radically Rural assembles expert journalists to help small news organizations build sustainability. Each year we pull together a program that is scalable for rural newsrooms, providing advice and tips that build more responsiveness and relevancy.

Who Should Attend: Journalists, community leaders and organizers, law- and policy-makers and government leaders.

Track Leaders: Jack Rooney, Managing Editor for Audience Development, The Keene Sentinel & Emily Lytle, Innovation in Focus Editor, Reynolds Journalism Institute

2024 Topics: Rural News Resources & Defending Democracy

Arts & Culture Track

The Arts are an expression of our cultural roots, our reality today, and our understanding of what may happen tomorrow, and, as such, are vital to the health of our rural communities. The arts feed our sense of belonging, understanding and social development and are an excellent means of sharing culture and connecting through beauty and stories. The arts can also be an intrinsic part of economic development – instigating tourism, downtown spending, and more. Join us at Radically Rural as we explore stories from rural communities about how the arts build community connections and grow pride in our rural spaces.

Who Should Attend:  Community Development professionals, Planners, Architects and Designers, Philanthropists, Nonprofit and Business Grantmakers and Evaluators, Municipal and City leaders, Developers, Writers and Journalists, Local arts agencies, Arts organization leaders and programming directors and development officers

Track Leader: Jessica Gelter, Executive Director, Arts Alive

2024 Topics: Quilting with a Social Practice Artist & Designing Physical Spaces for Artists

Track Sponsor:

Land & Community Track

Land use permeates conversations in rural communities, from forestry to cattle grazing, to farming and to recreation. The livelihoods of these towns are often tied to the surrounding landscape and lands. Because the health of this land is impacted by the climate crisis, communities must act, adjust and adapt. Join Radically Rural as we introduce how people can better connect to the land for economic, social and healing benefits.

Who Should Attend: Farmers, Agricultural Service Providers, Environmental Professionals, Public Health Professionals, Planners, Students of Environment and Agriculture Programs, Community members interested in improving the agricultural economy of their region, Community members interested in improving public health and land stewardship

Track Leaders: Benee Hershon, Community Engagement Director, Cheshire County Conservation District

2024 Topics: Resilience Through Land Conservation & Young Farmers’ Land Access

Clean Energy Track

The climate crisis is impacting rural communities disproportionately. These communities frequently depend on agriculture and tourism economies, but changes in weather patterns threaten both. Residents of rural communities also spend more of their household dollars on energy, studies show. Investment in energy efficiency, renewables and community solutions to electricity purchasing can provide opportunities to reduce costs, increase comfort and enhance rural living and resilience. Radically Rural seeks to provide solutions, guidelines and models for community leaders, groups and individuals to promote clean energy as a means to combat the climate crisis.

Who Should Attend: Municipal and city leaders, community, regional and statewide leaders; community organizers and energy committee members (local, regional, statewide); clean energy activists and advocates, farmers and foresters

Track Leader: Rob Werner, State Director for NH, League of Conservation Voters & Doria Brown, Energy Manager, City of Nashua & EcoTok Collective

2024 Topics: How to Access Inflation Reduction Act Dollars & Innovative Information Dissemination 

All in for Health Track

Why should community members care about health? A community that cares about the health of its members cultivates a vibrant and sustainable place for living, working and playing. A healthy community positions itself to attract new businesses and residents, keeps young families in town, lowers costs for employers, and helps the elderly age gracefully in place. It takes all of us to create this vision of a healthy community. Join us in the All in for Health track at Radically Rural to learn more about your role in this picture. What specifically can you take away from this track? Tangible tools to bring home: replicable ideas from model projects, innovative ideas to spark deep conversation about how everyone can contribute to a healthy and vibrant community.

Who Should Attend: Community organizers, municipal and business leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, philanthropists, the general public, and healthcare workers.

Track Leader: Tricia Zahn, Senior Director for Population Health, Cheshire Medical Center

2024 Topics: Emotional Intelligence & Health Behavior Improvements

Main Street Track

Main Streets are the socio-economic centers of rural communities. Their ability to thrive is essential to the continued economic success of small cities and towns, and these centers imbue their residents with a sense of place. This awareness is often tied to the past, inextricability set in the present and looking toward the future. Facing challenges of today means keeping Main Street surviving and even thriving. Tomorrow’s future doesn’t mean leaving everything behind but, rather, acknowledging what to save and what to improve. Reimagining Main Streets can enliven stakeholders and residents in fundamentally new ways. Join us at Radically Rural as we explore the rebirth of Main Street and the positive impacts available to rural communities.

Who Should Attend: Business owners and professionals, municipal and city planners, community members, volunteers and individuals interested in community revitalization

Track Leader: Todd Horner, Executive Director, Southwest Region Planning Commission, J.B. Mack, Assistant Director, Southwest Region Planning Commission, Jason Cooper, Planner, Southwest Region Planning Commission

2024 Topics: Microtransit & Youth Retention

Track Sponsor:

Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship Sponsors