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Ep. 112 The Rural Rebound



What does it look like to write your own rural narrative, and how can you actively incorporate that idea into convincing people to move to your small town? Well, we happen to have Erik Osberg to tell us all about it. He’s his county’s(and perhaps the country’s only) Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator and yes, it’s the coolest.

About Erik:

Erik Osberg is the Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator for Otter Tail County which is in west-central Minnesota. In 2016 Otter Tail County embarked on an effort to create a position that would take advantage of the"Brain Gain" phenomena through resident recruitment efforts. Through a series of grants and other funding mechanisms, Otter Tail County created the Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator position and Erik was tasked with the experiment of creating what is believed to be the first nation's first such job in January 2017. Erik is a self-described social-media zealot and believes in a simple, yet effective approach to marketing.  His wife is a principal at Freshwater Education District in Wadena, MN. They have three children, ages 11, 13 & 16. Erik is also the Chair of the 2020 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener planning committee. The Governor's Opener will be held in Otter Tail County in May of 2021. And given a choice, Erik would rather be fishing.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The “Brain Gain” idea

  • What it means to “Write your own rural narrative.”

  • His community’s approach to rural resident recruitment and the role a rural narrative plays in that process.

  • Why most change is positive but it’s rarely easy—and why that’s normal

  • One thing every single person can do right now to start rewriting their own rural community’s narrative

Links + Resources Mentioned:

Episode 75 with Ben Winchester: https://www.growingsmalltowns.org/post/episode75

Otter Tail County’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ottertailcounty


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