In Atlantic Canada, long-distance commuting for work is a daily reality for many families, particularly those living in rural areas. Families can be separated for weeks, months, or sometimes even years, with loved ones working away and their families keeping life moving along at home.

Atlantic Canadian families living with long-distance commutes tend to face many of the same challenges. Many have developed formal and informal ways of dealing with the, often invisible, pressures of separation. In this episode of Rural Routes, we speak to community leaders, researchers, and people with lived experience about how long-distance commuting can affect families, about the networks and supports that those people are building and about ways these families and those who serve them might benefit from more support.

This episode of Rural Routes is based on interviews with researchers, mobile workers and their family members done at the Families, Work and Mobility Symposium in Prince Edward Island. The symposium happened because so many people lead organizer Christina Murray spoke with during her research told her, “I wish there was an opportunity for people to come together to talk about this issue and how it impacts me, my family and my community.”

Resources:
Families, Work, and Mobility
On the Move Partnership
Vanier Family Foundation
Christina Murray

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

CHMR Campus Radio

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

The opioid crisis impacts hundreds of thousands of lives across North America and rural areas are increasingly at risk. To investigate the impacts of opioids in rural contexts, we’re presenting a special two-episode edition of Rural Routes, featuring stories from both individuals and institutions with experience on the frontlines of the rural opioid crisis. These difficult and sometimes inspiring stories address important questions about the fight against opioid addiction; are rural communities disproportionately affected? How are individuals and institutions working, or not working, to help communities heal? Is enough being done? In this we hear stories of personal challenge and determination from Stephen Miller, a recovering user and vivid storyteller, and Susan Boone and Brian Reese, whose personal experiences led them to organize a community-based harm reduction program on a small island off the coast of Newfoundland.

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

CHMR Campus Radio

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

While the numbers of farms in North America are decreasing every year, virtual farms are thriving. What does the bounty of farming related computer, video and mobile games say about the urban-rural divide? Are they just dumb time wasters, or could they actually be used to help create both knowledge and understanding? Join us for a (slightly goofy) chat about virtual pigs and cows, and the millions of people playing them. Our guests include video game researcher and film and media studies professor Dr. Alenda Chang of University of California, Santa Barbara and gamer Andrew Cohoe. We’ll also ask Jane Tucker, originally of Southern Ontario, but now living in St. Philips, Newfoundland and Labrador, what puts her town on the map.

Resources

Wireframe lab

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

CHMR Campus Radio

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

 

Wendy Keats is the executive director of the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick. We talked about the ground level view of co-ops and social enterprises in rural areas and the need for good legislative support to help them grow and prosper.

Resources:

Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

In Canada, we recognize 14 social and economic factors that influence human health. These social determinants of health range from income and education, to housing, to gender and race. Lars Hallström thinks we could add living rural to that list. This episode of Rural Routes is the first one in which we tackle health and well being in rural areas.

Resources:
Dr. Lars Hallström’s faculty profile

Social Determinants of Health on Canadian Public Health Association page

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

“Canada is a land of immigrants” is a phrase we hear often. And while that is certainly true in many ways, immigration is a complex issue we don’t spend nearly as much time talking about as we should. Michael Haan is Canada Research Chair in Immigration and Ethnic Relations at Western University in London, Ontario, and he spends a lot of time thinking about immigration in Canada, especially rural Canada. I had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Haan last fall in his office at Western University. This is a part of that conversation.

 

Resources: 
Dr. Michael Haan’s faculty profile
On the Move Partnership

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

Ryan Gibson comes back on Rural Routes to tell us how a group of Alaskan researchers is trying to solve housing issues in rural and remote regions of America’s most northern states. They also tell us about their connections to Canada and we learn about honey buckets. And they are definitely not what their name would imply .

Resources: 
Cold Climate housing Research Centre

Sustainable Futures North

Rural Routes Partners:
The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, MUN
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation 
Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership
The National Campus and Community Radio Association

Music by Laura C. Bates performed by Trent Severn.

After a bit of a summer hiatus, we are back on air. The Episode 10 features a conversation with Newfoundland writer Micheal Crummey. He has written extensively about rural and rural cultural experiences particularly in Newfoundland. His recent novel Sweetland stands out as one of the few Canadian novels about a contemporary rural that is very much recognizable as such. In this episode, Michael Crummy reflects on growing up in rural mining towns and why writing honestly about contemporary rural goes against human nature.

NOTE: A small language warning on this episode – it got a bit saltier than usual, but nothing terrible or that you or I haven’t said or heard before.