Rural Missouri - May 2013 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart Excitement building in rural Missouri T by Barry Hart bhart@amec.coop ravelling around the state visiting with rural people, I feel a new sense of excitement. It’s much more than the blooming of redbuds and dogwoods that signals spring is truly here. People are excited about the potential of living and doing business in rural Missouri. Part of it stems from Missouri’s business-friendly attitude. In 2010, Gov. Jay Nixon spoke at the annual meeting of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. He predicted the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor that summer, would lead to an increase in jobs. Gov. Nixon was right. On the coattails of recent historic expansions by Ford in Claycomo and General Motors in Wentzville, Missouri is seeing a wave of new jobs supplying auto parts. The most recent is Adrian Steel, which announced in April it would locate a new facility in Kansas City. In the past year and a half, six other auto-supply companies expanded their operations in Perryville, Mexico, Liberty, St. Peters, New Haven and Joplin. These companies invested $154 million in the expansions and created 753 new jobs. No doubt we will be reading about more stories like this in the future. What really excites me, however, are the rural entrepreneurs who have figured out new ways to earn a living from their land. You read about these people every month in the pages of Rural Missouri. One fine example of what I mean can be found in Higbee, where Howard Electric Cooperative Director Dale Kirby makes barrels from Missouri white oak. While most of these barrels go to California, these days his son is keeping a good number of these barrels here for use in his Cooper’s Oak Winery. Missouri’s wine industry is truly flourishing, with 120 wineries now open. This month, you can read about two Platte-Clay Electric members, Tom Ruggieri and Rebecca Graff, who have a novel approach to farming. They raise vegetables on land that has been in her family for generations. But instead of wrapping this produce in plastic and shipping to distant lands, they hand deliver it to the end user. What a great concept, knowing firsthand the person who planted the seeds! If you haven’t stopped at a farmers market before, make this the summer you discover AgriMissouri products. Now that warmer weather is here, I am looking forward to wetting a hook in a Missouri lake or trout stream. Anywhere cool springs flow, you can “Let’s all make a point of spending more time close to home, sampling Missouri-made products and enjoying the hospitality of our neighbors.” Barry Hart find public and private opportunities to catch a lunker trout. This summer, I am anxious to test the waters of Bull Shoals Lake, where White River Valley Electric Director Bill Cook runs a marina on the lake. While we’ll tell you more about this resort in a future issue, I can assure you that the photos I’ve seen of fish landed near Bill’s docks have made me forget all about deep-sea fishing. As I travel, I keep my Rural Missouri “Out of the Way Eats” guide in my glovebox. It’s led me to many amazing dining experiences. What impresses me the most is how friendly these places are and how much fun their guests seem to have. There’s so much beauty in Missouri, whether it’s on the water, a trail or in a small town. Let’s all make a point of spending more time close to home, sampling Missouri-made products and enjoying the hospitality of our neighbors. Visit the Missouri Division of Tourism’s website at www.visitmo. com for lots of trip ideas. You also can check out www.agrimissouri. com for the location of the nearest “AgriAdventure.” Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Support the art of summer A by Diana Moxon info@ruralmissouri.coop s the weather gets warmer and spring turns into early summer, art festivals bloom like a host of perennial daffodils in towns and cities across Missouri. We take their arrival for granted, like the return of the hummingbirds, but should we? Like most everything else in modern life, economics is hidden in the cultural equation. For many of the artists who spend the summer transporting their artwork around the Midwest, setting up their white tents every weekend in one city after another, the festival months are when they earn the bulk of their annual income. Festivals are how they pay the mortgage and send their kids to school. What the festival visitor sees is the tip of the iceberg of a winter’s worth of labor designing new work, buying art supplies, creating inventory, applying to shows and scheduling thousands of miles of travel crisscrossing the Midwest. Hidden, too, are the years of education, trial, error and the pursuit of perfection that goes into every item in an artist’s booth. The economic reality is that artists can scant afford to sit at a festival all weekend long and not sell anything. Not only do they have the cost of their inventory tied up at each festival, but also the cost of the booth fee, accommodation, gas and food. As a festival organizer, I am all too aware of the importance of providing the visiting artists with an art-buying crowd. In the past few years, numerous small and even large annual art festivals have closed up shop because of dwindling artist applications. The festivals that have survived the economic turmoil of the past few years are the ones where the art- ists know they can achieve a return on their investment. Of course, times have been hard for everyone, and at a time when many people are struggling to feed their families, artists and organizers do not expect people to make “luxury” purchases. But for those who have even a small amount of discretionary income, the arrival of an annual art festival is a chance to shop for Christmas and birthday gifts or do something as simple as buy a new handmade butter dish or a pair of earrings. Every small purchase helps to ensure a festival’s survival. For businesses large “For businesses large and small, an art festival is a real opportunity to support the cultural life of the community.” Diana Moxon MAY 2013 and small, an art festival is a real opportunity to support the cultural life of the community. Sizeable businesses might be able to set an annual art purchase budget and invest in a $500 painting each year. A company that gives out annual employee awards could opt to spend its award budget on a unique, handmade glass bowl or a steel flower that could be engraved with an employee’s name. Even a small five-person business could make a difference by buying one-of-a-kind coffee mugs for the office. So, if you’re on the fence about visiting your local art festival this summer, or if as a business owner you extol the cultural life of your community, remember that it’s only by people turning up and spending even a few dollars that we all get to have our communities enriched by these wonderful summer events. Moxon is the executive director of the Columbia Art League. The 55th annual Art in the Park, organized by the Columbia Art League, will take place June 1-2 at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia. More can be found at www.ArtInTheParkColumbia.org. 5 http://www.visitmo.com http://www.visitmo.com http://www.agrimissouri.com http://www.agrimissouri.com http://www.ArtInTheParkColumbia.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2013

Rural Missouri - May 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Chronicle of the corncob pipe
Missouri Snapshots contest
The family that drills together
Out of the Way Eats
Where bluegrass grows
Outdoors
Hearth and Home
Veggies and vision
Vertical gardening
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - May 2013

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