THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A GOOD STORY to bring people together and inspire change. After all, storytelling is the foundation of human communication. Our stories are essential to understanding the values, needs and dreams of individual communities while showcasing the rich fabric of their diversity, cultural identity and ties to the land.

However, over the last several decades, the Oregon story has been divided into a rural narrative and a separate urban narrative. The separation of stories, and therefore communication, has created an imbalance and difficulty to developing solutions that benefit Oregon as a whole, thereby furthering the notion of the “urban/rural divide".

Travel through Oregon and you will find numerous examples of individuals and groups who have developed elegant and innovative solutions to the issues we all face. Solutions that benefit their community, the environment, and economic needs alike. But in rural communities these stories have received little recognition - perhaps because of the physical distance, perhaps because of a culture not likely to promote itself. This leads to the misperception that rural people don’t care about the environment and, therefore, sustainability.

In this time of limited resources and changing economies, it is essential that the urban/rural lines of communication be re-established in order to develop solutions and enhance living standards so all communities, rural and urban, can thrive.

Through the Rural Roots campaign, FCA and its partners are working to illuminate the root of sustainability: a rural culture driven by self-reliance, resourcefulness and a deep connection to the land. Through storytelling and photography, the Rural Roots campaign celebrates rural Oregonians making great environmental contributions to their communities. The Rural Roots project works to shift perceptions about the needs and values of rural communities and the people working to create a strong rural fabric, thus hopefully, re-establishing the united Oregon narrative.