Today the fortunes of local rural communities are inextricably linked with events occurring in far away lands. A global agricultural market shapes the price local farmers receive for their product. Political or environmental events across the world bring new and diverse populations to rural towns and villages. Rural communities in seemingly different environments often contend with similar challenges to their sustainability, and positive responses to these challenges in one locale may carry important lessons for others.

Rural by Design explores the exchange between the local and global in rural life with programs that provide learning opportunities about rural life abroad, examine the diversity that exists within our own rural community, and introduce Knox County residents to many ways of living to be found across the globe.