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How Are You Gonna Keep 'em on the Farm?

Consider the pull of the city and its devastating impact upon rural brain drain. If small rural places are going to be defended, who will lead the defense? Demographics matter. The world has a lot to learn from the Japanese understanding of the I-Turn, J-Turn and U-Turn. With Tsuyoshi Sekihara’s remarkable work in rural Joetsu as a testament, in our own communities are we aware of who precisely is best positioned to lead the change? Is it time to cheer on the J-Turn?

“How are you gonna keep ‘em on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” — World War I songby Walter Donaldson, Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis. The lure of the city, the metropolis and all of its trappings, has entranced rural dwellers since the dawn of urban life. Debate among anthropologists and archeologists persists: Which came first? Town or country? In Jane Jacobs’s 1969 book, The Economy of Cities, she makes the provocative claim that cities served as trading centers for foraged and hunted goods long before people settled on r…

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