Rural Solutions: Economic Development on a Human Scale

One-Day SymposiumThe Human Question Academic Theme Logo
Johnstone Science Center
April 21, 2012

Rural economic development has been a public policy puzzle for many years. Too often, policy makers look for economic development solutions that can also generate politically favorable headlines. In other words, they seek out large, well-known companies or fast-growing entrepreneurial gazelles that can generate dozens or even hundreds of jobs in a single well-publicized move. As a result, they frequently overlook the growth potential that exists in the indigenous resources - including human resources - of the community.

This Spring, Hartwick College will play host to political leaders, community activists, representatives from citizens groups, local small business / agribusiness owners, and student and faculty scholars from Hartwick for a day-long symposium on maximizing the contribution of local agribusiness and microbusiness (firms with fewer than five employees) to economic and community development in the Chenango-Delaware-Otsego tri-county area. The emphasis of the conversation will be on policies that support sustainable local development on a human scale, in which "growth" is a means rather than an end to the process.

Symposium Agenda:

  • Introduction and welcome by Dr. Margarget L. Drugovich (9:00-9:15 a.m.)
  • Presentation of research results - Kristine Green (9:15-9:30 a.m.)
  • Presentation of conference structure and organization of working groups (9:30-9:45 a.m.)
  • Break into working groups (10:00-10:50 a.m.)

Working Groups
Microbusiness Development - During this session, participating microbusiness owners will identify some of the operational challenges they face. The group will discuss policy strategies that are thought to be helpful to small businesses to determine whether those policies are helpful specifically for very small firms. Participants in this session will also discuss whether adequate supports exist for nascent microentrepreneurs and what such support should entail.

Agriculture - Small farmers and agri-business owners will discuss their options for achieving profitability by selling what they grow and/or make, and what market opportunities exist locally, outside the international commodities market. Session participants will focus on how to develop policies that connect farmers with the nutritional needs of their communities and how to encourage and support new farmers.

Community Development - Local economic development requires the acceptance and participation of the surrounding communities. During this session, participants will explore strategies to engage the community in the development process while also building support locally to attend to area infrastructure to meet the needs of the developing economy. There will also be some discussion of the "brain drain" issue and how rural communities can develop ways to retain their young, college-educated natives.

  • Coffee break (mid morning)
  • Return to working groups (11:00-11:50 a.m.)
  • Luncheon with keynote by Michael Shuman, Director of Research and Marketing for Cutting Edge Capitol and author of "Local Dollars, Local Sense." (12:00-1:20 p.m.)
  • Return to working groups (1:30-2:20 p.m.)
  • Reports from working groups (2:30-3:15 p.m.)
  • Discuss follow-up, plan next steps, wrap up (3:15-4:00 p.m.)
  • Adjourn to networking reception (4:00-5:00 p.m.)

To RSVP and/or register for the event complete our online form. Space is limited; invited guests will receive precedence. Registration closes on April 11, 2012. Those who prefer phone registration may leave a message at 607-431-4946 or 607-435-7379. Please provide name and contact information in the phone message.

This event is made possible through the generous support of: Southern Tier East Planning Board
Southern Tier East Planning Board
Office of Academic Affairs
The Human Question - 2012 Campus Theme
Hartwick College Honors Program
Department of Economics