We find many dream of leaving the city and no longer having to commute. Families talk about being able to work from home, and spending time with their family, friends. As well as that they speak of belonging to a community. Instead of spending hours driving every day, they feel they want to use that time for personal and network development.
If you have a fixed amount of savings, and most of us do, then your ability to buy property is limited by that amount, plus whatever you can borrow. When you think of your dreams and what your reality looks like it is common to find quite a gap. One solution is to commute more. Go further away from the job location. But what a life that leads!
As many are now able to work from home, at least some of the week, there is a new opportunity. The dream of living in a better value property. It is a fact that you can buy far more property in the country than in the city for the same amount of money.
Luckily there are more alternatives now available. The concept of remote work in many careers has started to be more available. Organisations all over the country are reporting huge growth in employees who are working remotely. Remote support membership of organisations has also blossomed.
Many people are deeply troubled by global warming and carbon footprints. They are trying to find ways they can help. By recognising that long commutes, air travel, inefficient heating systems are all part of the problem. They strive to move to the countryside where they can take active steps to change their carbon footprint. They wish to make a difference
Farmers and landowners in the countryside are realising they too have a part to play in sustainable future on the land. They are signing up in droves to measure their farm carbon footprint and to take action to reduce it.
Other groups have decided that the modern farming practices of the last 70 years are no longer ones that they wish to follow. As a result they are switching more and more of their holding to follow regenerative principles, and to follow practices to restore soil to full health.
With a target of zero pesticides, including both herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, they are working hard to restore balance to nature.
Many groups are shocked in recent times at the long thin line to them from the food producer. Groups in South Island discovered after the Christchurch earthquake that their neighbours were producing milk but it was all transported to the cities. To get food back down the country is really difficult when the supply chain is disrupted.
The occurrence of the Corona virus has also highlighted the nature of food production with many supply chains originating thousands of miles away from where it is consumed. The nature of minimum stocks in modern business has ensured that any breaks in the chain quickly lead to shortages.
The small landholders are looking more and more at what can they do with their acre of land. The leaders in this field have proven time and time again that food forests and the principles of permaculture work. It is possible to have it all. To have clean home grown food in a natural, ecological, and bio diverse plot of ground. And it is not even expensive to set up and the workload after the first few years is minimal.
Not everyone has an acre or even half an acre. But that is not a reason to not be confident that you too can make a difference to your own and your families food supply. At the same time you can be helping the planet and helping with food security. Not to mention waste reduction. Waste reduction is far more beneficial than waste recycling.
There are many handbooks on gardening in a small patch. Many councils are reopening or creating allotments which are a treasure trove of biodiversity. Local groups take over large (and small) areas of public parks to convert to food forests. Roadside verges are remaining uncut to allow nature to flourish.
There are guerrilla movements all over the world where a community will go in and liberate a piece of ground and convert it form badly cut grass mono-culture to a flourishing community garden that all can enjoy.
It is an open door now in many councils and in local government to jump onto the green swing. Often they do not know how. By pushing a direction to bring more trees, more green less car parking, more bikes, kids areas, you will be pushing an open door. Funding is available across a range of measure both local, national and international.
Property owners are benefiting from a range of incentives to add solar panels to property, be it roofs, walls , boundary walls or even waste ground.
As electronic communications continue to become more widespread, there are more and more means to stay in touch and to plan and engage with others to put these practices into action. Don’t just sit in a 40 sq m flat, get out into the community and get involved. There is (and are) app(s) for that!
All the world is seeking experiences, new ones, novel ones and ideally ones that are accessible and local. This is a huge growth opportunity for #smartrural.
These are just a flavour of where we see this going in the future. We see dozens of other ideas to build out services and infrastructure especially in the area of urban city links and income generation. We need help to make it happen.