Rural Growth Wales

Rural Growth WalesAs a result of moving into the countryside once again, the opportunity arose to create a new ‘space’ that might act as a focus and a hub for many.

Opening up such a space in a city often creates a gathering point but in the middle of Rural Green Hills and Valleys, there needs to be something rather different about the space created for it to have a similar effect.

City Growth has been the subject of many studies and because it normally demands high labour, there have always been spare analysts around to stick statistics onto damn statistics and publish wads of stuff on every aspect of city commerce, manufacturing and social interaction.

Even when a manufacturing base is set in rural countryside, it is characteristic of a city development upon a country location and not characteristic of the country or country life even though it supports the Rural Economy.

Rural Growth seems a contradiction for when most cities grow they expand into their suburbs which in turn expand these suburbs into their surrounding countryside.

With this ‘fate’ in progress, you might expect rural areas to get swallowed up thus shrinking the potential of ‘Rural Growth’ but rural growth can happen in the heart of cities.

Sense of Place
Close to the soil and seasons, true rural communities sustain both their ways and the health of the land they tend. Care well for land and you can survive with what it can be asked to produce. But to provide for those who do not work the earth, land and water can be forced to produce more with a big dollop of fertiliser, tons of insecticides, medications, genetic engineering and industrial scale harvesting. But forcing more out of the pot than you are prepared to put into it, is malpractice, and eats away at the future’s ability to keep things in balance.

No generation should harbour those with malignant happy-go-lucky attitudes that hamper future generations then escape to their own Happy Hunting Grounds. This ‘hit and run’ way of life has led to momentary prosperity for some but Mother Earth has regularly been hit hard during the so-called growth.  What’s needed is some healthier global thinking and doing. “We all live downstream”, as the good people at RiverOcean say (R.O.R.E.), so until space explorers find another place to live, planet Earth remains our only home farm. A more rural and traditional way of caring for the earth and its water needs to be designed and followed. Taking farming into the cities (vertical farming) may just be the springboard we need.

An Organic Story.
Some Farming parents objected to their children doing projects on organic farming at school so we stopped.” This was said to me by a Headmaster whilst doing a HoBB creative design outreach project at his very rural school . He was approached by angry farmer-parents who sold their inorganic crops into the commercial world pot.  A sad day for the next generation.  A sad reflection on modern farmers. A sad day for the organic way.

Oddly, the idea of inorganic fertiliser came to us from the same guy who developed the stock cube for cooks, Justus von Liebig.  He’s thought of as  the founder of organic chemistry yet he is considered the “father of the fertilizer industry”.  Weird **** or what! On the subject of ****, have you seen the result of feeding it to algae in Hamburg. All things go around but only if we take on the recycling mind-set fully.

The easiest way of perpetuating problems, slow down progress – be it agricultural, social or political, is to be too heavily selective over that which we teach our children. Maybe tomorrow people will assume that their ancestors did not care about them – that no wise rara avis existed to guide. But if those who do care, now, do not make waves, we ourselves will perpetuate this illusion and may just help extinguish all that we are working to create.

You can be in-tune or in discord with self and surroundings no matter whether you are in a city, suburb or countryside. But if you want the happy hunting grounds to remain happy, a little bit of real Rural Growth needs to be spread further into the commercial world system to balance it, and we all need to value what we instinctively know is right for the future.

Real Rural Growth leads to better-tuned thinking and the spread of it supports us all.