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Introducing Long-Form

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

A gathering of people interested in exploring how we can cultivate belonging and enrichment within our community.

Why Long-Form? Long-form is an adjective noting or related to in-depth content, characterized by combining factual reporting with a narrative and empathetic style. While we don’t refute the value of short-form communication – and certainly haven been known to scroll through news headlines and influencer opinions online – we have been craving the layers of nuance and contemplation that are available in paper-based long-form content.

Economic development professional and consultant Carolyn Chrisman asserts that “The future of rural America is bright as long as community stakeholders work together, embrace change and innovation, and provide the leadership necessary to progress.” We strive to convene a group of community stakeholders, which is to say members of our community, and to facilitate an informed, ongoing conversation about how we might collectively foster the innovation and leadership necessary for grassroots economic growth in our beloved rural community.

Economic development includes the work of place-making, community building, and cultivating a sense of belonging among residents. As such, our Long-Form reading selections and subsequent discussions will include texts that explicitly address rural economics, as well as broader and more philosophical questions about community, the self, and the ever important quandary of how to live. The materials covered in the program allows for nuance and contradiction, as well as interactive grappling with these complicated and consequential themes. We imagine participants in this program might feel like they’ve enrolled in an interdisciplinary, seminar style course – but for a small fraction of the traditional cost.

While our reading list is not yet finalized, here are some books from which we will likely pull excerpts and chapters:

  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

  • Art of the Commonplace: Agrarian Essays by Wendell Berry

  • Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change by Anthony Flaccavento

  • The Cultural Toolbox: Traditional Ojibwe Living in the Modern World by Anton Treuer

  • Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream by Jennifer Sherman

  • The Enjoyment of Music: An Introduction to Perceptive Listening by Joseph Machlis

  • The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben

  • How to Live OR A Life of Montaigne In One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell

  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

  • The Lost Origins of the Essay edited and introduced by John D’Agata

  • This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are by Melody Warnick

  • Thrive: Finding Happiness in the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner

  • Transvaluation of All Values by Wesley Cecil (Podcast)

Long-Form will take place twice monthly, and is scheduled for the second and fourth Wednesdays* between late February and May from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on the following dates:

  • February 22

  • March 8

  • March 22

  • April 12

  • April 26

  • *May 9 (a Tuesday to account for the EFS Spring Bonfire)

  • May 24

Participants will complete the reading and/or listening assignments prior to meetings. A compilation of chapters, articles, and poems totaling 30-90 pages, or up to two hours of podcast listening, will be assigned prior to each meeting. Each participant will sign up to contribute something simple/casual to eat for one session – thus each meeting will include dinner. Meetings will take place at the Boundary Waters Connect office / Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness Headquarters (16 North First Avenue East) in Ely.

In addition to the $25 registration fee, participants have the option of paying $50 to cover the cost of a printed and bound compilation of selected readings. All participants will receive PDF copies of reading assignments. Scholarships are available to people for whom the cost of registration is prohibitive. Contact Lacey Squier via email ( to inquire about scholarships.

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