Friday, May 04, 2018

Kansas native probes state's rural population loss

The sun burns off early morning fog from the Kansas River, just south of Manhattan. (Photo by Luke Townsend)
Kansas, which has the slowest annual population growth rate in the country, is losing its rural population bit by bit, as almost all of its growth happens in eastern cities like Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence. Kansas native Corie Brown went on a road trip around the backroads of her home state to see why rural areas are thinning out. She chronicles the trip in a vivid essay for New Food Economy, accompanied with photos by Luke Townsend.

Brown writes, "The small towns that epitomize America’s heartland are cut off from the rest of the world by miles and miles of grain, casualties of a vast commodity agriculture system that has less and less use for living, breathing farmers." In rural areas, slaughterhouses and feedlots are seeing some growth, but it isn't enough to balance out the steady losses elsewhere. Read more here.

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