Partnerships in Communities provides a fresh perspective on sustainable rural community development, offering community-based and community-driven responses to the challenges facing rural America. Author Jean Richardson draws on her many years of experience working in rural areas both at home and abroad to offer an integrated and practical approach to rural community development. Some of the findings presented are derived from a comprehensive project known as Environmental Partnerships in Communities (EPIC), which Richardson has directed for the past seven years in Vermont. From this experience and those of others from across America, Richardson provides a wealth of insight regarding what works, what doesn't, and how financial and human resources can be most effectively focused in rural communities.Following an introductory chapter that describes what is happening in rural America today and examines the institutions and natural resource base upon which rural communities depend, the book: addresses the need for self-directed community development sets forth a comprehensive approach based on the EPIC experience describes efforts to revitalize working rural landscapes, including organization building, pasture management, historic preservation, and more uses case studies and personal stories of rural people to portray the critical role of leadership in community stewardship and conservation.At the end of each chapter, the author synthesizes the transferable lessons learned, and the book concludes with a chapter that draws together those lessons to suggest a dynamic new approach to rural development. Numerous photographs enliven the text, and an extensive bibliography and a rich set ofappendixes provide resources for additional information. Partnerships in Communities will serve as an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas for rural community leaders, citizen groups, public officials, planners, students of rural planning and community development, and nonprofit organizations involved with rural development.