Made in Southeast Missouri

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Midwest matters.

And those living on the coasts in cities with a population greater than a million don’t get it — yet.

The Millennials do.

Smaller communities, mostly in the Midwest, have been called the forgotten 100 million, first labeled as #altmiddle by USC Annenberg researcher Lisa Pecot-Hebert at SXSW.

“When you live in a bubble, you have wrong impressions about people in other bubbles,” shares Pecot-Herbert.

On the contrary, her research showed the (fly-over) Midwest is not drafting off the lifestyles of those living in the big city on the coasts. They are not burdened with FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — mentality.

After traveling two months in the Midwest, Pecot-Herbert and her partner, David Measer, director of RPG agency in Los Angeles, learned that communities similar to greater Cape Girardeau have become epicenters for those seeking a better life.

Embraced by the 74 million Millennials aged 20-36, this group now outnumbers the baby boomers. They seek authenticity, optimism, community, discovery and honesty in their lives.

On both coasts, they open farm-to-table restaurants. They start urban gardens, build backyard chicken coops and shop at farmers markets. At home in the Midwest, the Millennials replace status, power, self-interest, wealth and ambition with faith, tradition, respecting ancestors and stable relationships. They rediscover analog by unplugging, realizing social media doesn’t replace real connections.

And they are ambitious — by their own definition. Unapologetic. Waving the flag: WE DON’T COAST.