During our recent trip around France we encountered many villages that were, how can we say this, perhaps retreating is the best word. Basically they were less and less people living there and the ones that were are finding their way into the third age of life and beyond.
One of the downsides is the closure of shops and the retreat of commerce from bricks and mortars to machines and vans.
Many villages had the baquette machine as in the picture. Now this is fine and very modern but expensive to install and maintain. We met many ladies like the one in the picture. They are long long term residents of the villages and remember it lively and full of activity. Theywould be happy and proud to take in the bread and sell it on to their neighbours.
With the minimum of technology the neighbours could order the bread and these neighbours could take it in and give it out again. No machines, a chance for a chat, to see if a neighbour is well, a small, small effort at community. If they were away or not able to do it then it could easily pass to another in the community for a few days or weeks.
We can do better than automating bread sales and installing a machine, surely. Business is not all about machines. A small bit of communcation and an elderly, responsible and talented person has a new purpose, a business has a new outlet and a community has a chance to talk to each other. The business has no worries about maintenance, insurance, quality, health issues from rodent attack, etc etc etc.
The customers are better served and are able to get to know they can get what they want locally.
This applies to so many things, local post, medicine drop offs, fresh produce. A little bit of #smartrural would go a long way. A little bit of technology and connectivity. It takes a bit of passion.