A Return on Community: Decorah-Based Blogs Host Local Voices

A Return on Community: Decorah-Based Blogs Host Local Voices

By: Cerrisa Snethen, Co-op Member/Owner

A diverse, local community whose fabric is strengthened through caring, and shar­ing gifts of time, energy and resources.

Decorah’s clearly a far cry from Silicon Valley. Land-locked and boasting a strong and dynamic sense of community connection, most of us breathe easy, living amongst all of this charm and quiet, despite some – let’s say less than ideal climatic conditions.

But that doesn’t mean that awesomely innovative and technological things aren’t going on right here in our own backyard. As it turns out, certain Midwestern entrepreneurial geeks are afoot. And they’re launching businesses that incorporate Silicon cool,with Iowa-style community. Enter local startup owners Jason Trout and Peter Awad and their up-and-coming startup, GoodBlogs.com.

A few years ago, Trout and Awad landed together in office space on Water Street and brainstormed an idea for a single online community that would host bloggers on a range of topics. The plan has morphed into their own content marketing brand, and GoodBlogs has recently expanded its physical space, moving into the Open Decorah Co-Working Space just down the street from the Co-op. The GoodBlogs platform hosts blogs on a variety of topics and is actually a licensed software that organizations use to promote their business, brand, or product. GoodBlogs has in turn launched two blogs that are particularly exciting and relevant for the Co-op community. The blogs are entirely participatory and fueled by folks just like you. Given the company’s love of all things Decorah, they have a simple philosophy regarding local writers: the more, the better! They consider homegrown content to be invaluable, a thorough return on community, and they love hearing what our region’s got to say. Here’s the low down:

Imagine Northeast Iowa.com:

Love life up yonder? You can profit from your passion or read what your friends and neighbors are up to by hopping on over to ImagineNortheastIowa.com. Viral hits on the site have included pieces like “Not Just Iowa: The Northeast Corner’s Particular Sense of Community,” “Northeast Iowa: The Land That Time Forgot,” and “Black Bear Sighted in Yellow River State Forest,” amongst countless others. Owned by Northeast Iowa Business Network and managed by GoodBlogs, everyone is welcome to create a free account and blog to their heart’s content. Every day, a certain blogger gets voted up to the site’s homepage. That blogger receives a cool $15. That money is then circulated throughout the region keeping the creativity and the cash, local. Imagine Northeast Iowa pays out thousands of dollars a year to Northeast Iowans, and helps contribute to the success of a local blogger’s post by sharing it via social media and other channels. Blog topics include:

• The Great Outdoors

• Cultural Activities

• Food & Drink

• Events

• People

• Places

If you’ve got something to say about life in the northeast corner, Imagine Northeast Iowa is the place. Their Facebook page can be found at www.facebook/ imaginenortheastiowa. Like us, and watch all kinds of incredible “regional” roll into your newsfeed.

The Flaming Vegan.com:

New York’s got nothing on Decorah. A blogging extravaganza for vegetarians, vegans, and the v-curious, The Flaming Vegan is rooted right here in our own awesome little community. While most tend to think you’ve got to hit up one of the coasts to find organizations like TFV, The Flaming Vegan is relishing in its identity as Decorah native. Maybe you’re a veggie yourself, or you’re just interested in finding out more about how to cook for the plant-based people in your life. Looking for killer veggie burger recipes or great gardening tips? Interested in traveling as a foodie or health food enthusiast? Gluten free? We’ve got a blog post for that. (Or, you could write one!) Perhaps you just want to incorporate more produce into your daily routine or get inspired toward some healthier lifestyle changes. You’re welcome to join in. Come sign up in seconds and get started blogging on TFV. Once again, we pay you a cool $15 when your post gets voted to the homepage, and we’re very likely to share your work across our social channels. Or, just come enjoy all of the thousands of fantastic articles submitted by folks just like you. Blog topics on TFV include:

• Organic Gardening

• Green Travel

• Vegan Recipes

• Vegan Family

• Vegan Lifestyle

• Vegan Clothing + Shoes

• Vegan Beauty

• Animal Rights

• Vegan Books

The Flaming Vegan’s growing rapidly. After attending The Twin Cities Veg Fest last year, we were thrilled at the Midwestern interest and support for this thriving online community, and can’t wait to see what’s next. Collaboration with the Co-op via cooking classes and other Decorah organizations are exciting elements of what’s in the mix for TFV this year. Stay tuned. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theflamingvegan for fantastic recipes and other stories in your newsfeed.

The views and opinions expressed on these sites do not necessarily reflect those of

the Oneota Co-op and its member/owners.