Rural Action’s roots are in citizen action resisting the devastating consequences of the coal mining industry in Rural Appalachia during the 1980s. Since its formalization in 1991, Rural Action has been a champion of a different kind of economic development: locally owned, environmentally sustainable, contributing to resilient and “robust” communities. Spanning several decades, this case tells the story of Rural Action’s evolution as a member-based non-profit promoting local community decision-making for rural revitalization to its more recent alignment with the idea of different types of “wealth creation” for sustainable development, in partnership with the Ford Foundation. Rural Action has inspired innovations in the development of local food production systems, sustainable forestry, watershed restoration, environmental education, recycling and waste management, and education and advocacy on local energy issues. It has moved from the fringes to a position of influence, integral to a network of local initiatives that are weaving a revitalized and sustainable economy. Download 102K PDF
Rural Action's mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio.
Rural Action builds model sustainable development projects and encourages a broad civic conversation around Appalachian Ohio's assets in order to create sustainable development paths for the region.
CEO Michelle Decker talks about the success of the organization after 20 years, and how it is showing results at scale.