Call for Essays: Smaller Places: Exploring Innovation in Rural America

Posted by on August 05, 2013

Smaller Places: Exploring Innovation in Rural America

The Rural Essays Project at The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Call for Narrative Essay Submissions

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is seeking original material for a printed volume on life in smaller places in America.

Theme – Rural places are a source of pride for people.  There are positive, forward‐looking narratives about rural America that recognize the vital contribution that rural people and places make to national well‐being and prosperity.  Note: the purpose of this project is to document positive stories about what is working and not to describe decline.

Proposed Table of Contents

Food – natural capital, innovation in agriculture and local food systems in rural places.
Work – human capital, innovations in labor, jobs, livelihoods, productivity, economic development in rural places.
Money – financial capital, innovations in finance, investment, lending, saving in rural places.
Neighboring – social capital, innovations in leadership, collaboration, and community life in rural places.


We are seeking essays written in the classic narrative essay style of writing.  Essays should introduce the pleasure of reading into the work of citizen and community development practitioner.  Essays should appeal to non- academic, non-technical people and avoid use of professional jargon.  Referenced articles should not be submitted.

Essays should satisfy one or more of the following:

Help rural communities make decisions that enhance their quality of life and the environment.

Connect social, artistic, cultural, and technological issues that create rural place.

Promote sustainable economic development for rural communities.

Illustrate the integration of applied research and practice across the many disciplines involved in rural issues to meet rural needs and opportunities.

Illustrate how people are using technology (tools and techniques) to address one of the four topics.

Illustrate working with what exist and applying design to achieve greater value for local economies.

Provide insights and lessons to inspire, motivate, inform, teach, advise and encourage.

Bring new thinking and fresh approach to rural issues.

Other Submissions

Other original materials may be submitted:  photography, illustrations, timelines, poetry, diagrams, and infographics related to smaller places.


Submission Deadline – September 15, 2013

Words – 2,000 to 5,000

WORD document file attached to an email to me.

Please send a message of intent by July 31.

Please reply to me with information about your intent to submit an essay, including:

  • On which of the four topics will you be writing?
  • What is your working title?
  • What is the scope of your essay – community, region, state, or national story?

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