Bringing Out Change in Rural Economic Development

We regularly come across rural communities, regions and states doing really innovative, impactful economic development. However, we come across ten times as many rural communities and regions that are struggling to find their path to economic prosperity and growth. Given that we are lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of different EDOs throughout the country, we feel it is our calling to share stories of what works, what doesn’t work, and why. That is how Janet Ady (link to bio) first began giving speeches on the topic of rural economic development. That body of work has now evolved into this workbook. We call it a “workbook” because it’s meant to bring about real action and real change.

Creating a Unique Path Forward.

As we worked with rural EDO clients in particular, we learned that there was no single path to growth and prosperity. But that does not mean that there is no hope and no way forward. To the contrary, there is a process – which we call the “rural economic development toolbox” – that will guide you in creating a unique path forward, based on your area’s unique economic assets.

Rural Economic Development Toolbox


The goal of this workbook is to provide you with an overview of this process, with practical tips that you can implement yourself. Our hope is that it will also inspire you based on the creative examples we’ve shared of rural EDOs who have identified great strategies that are working for them.

Some of the case studies that are provided are based on our direct experience with EDO clients, and others are stories that we heard about from colleagues and the media. All of them share a simple thread, which is that each subject took an objective look at their strengths and successfully pursued a strategy that works for them. While it’s unlikely that the exact same solution will work for you, it is likely that the process of determining your own solution will work for you. And that’s the point.

Order the Rural Development Toolbox

And if you have any examples of your own that you’d like to share with us, please contact Janet Ady. We’re always on the lookout for sharing the good work that is being done in rural economic development.

If you are interested in learning how The Rural Toolbox can be shared with your organization, contact us today at [email protected].