RuralX helps to overcome rural’s challenge: The distances between us

Posted on June 29, 2017

Paula Jensen
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By Heidi Marttila-Losure, Dakotafire Media

For those of us who choose to live on the Great Plains, the wide-open spaces are both our greatest opportunity and our greatest challenge.

The opportunity isn’t obvious to everyone—the ones who call our home “flyover country” aren’t seeing it—but many of us who live here can feel it when we take in a long view toward the horizon: There is possibility in that open space between ground and sky, and part of the meaning of our lives is imagining what that space could be and doing the work we are called to do to make those beautiful visions real.

And here is where RuralX shows its power. 

The first RuralX Summit brought together 222 participants from across South Dakota and beyond. Many of us who attended are pretty good at looking at open spaces and imagining beautiful possibilities, and many of us are “doers” and are already working to make our visions real. But most of us have also run into the challenge of open spaces in one way or another.

For two days, RuralX put a fold in the distance between us possibility-thinking people—people who, it turned out, often had the resources (the ideas, the expertise, the encouragement) that others were seeking. We were encouraged to get out of our comfort zones to really connect with one another. And once we had made a connection on one thing, we could share even more resources to help make one another’s visions real.

At the end of the day, RuralX made one thing clear: What we need is already out here. And that keeps us imagining and building a better home for us all.

Heidi Marttila-Losure is owner of Dakotafire Media LLC, based in Frederick, S.D., where she helps make ideas more powerful through writing, design, and consulting services. She can be reached at

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