RLA's roots are entwined with the Farm Radio Forum broadcasts of the 1930s - 1950s, which took place until the majority of people had access to television. In 1965, the RLA was organized to carry on the tradition of rural social justice.  On this occasion two rural organizations merged.  The Ontario Folk School Council joined forces with several hundred listening groups that were following the National Farm Radio Forum broadcasts of the CBC.  The broadcasting series having been cancelled it was felt a new co-ordinating organization was needed.   Major changes over the past few decades have transformed, and in some cases, completely destroyed many small Ontario communities. Despite the impact of these changes, among RLA members there is a belief that there still remain encouraging signs of regeneration in rural communities. The RLA fosters positive change in rural areas by sharing information and ideas at the grass-roots level.


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