maandag 22 juni 2015

Can ‘rural’ farms endanger the ‘rurality’

At the conference on Rural Enterprise Gary Bosworth presented on how rural businesses change the economy and the landscape. The conference was on the beautiful island Islay in Scotland. On an international conference like this it is striking how different perceptions on ‘rural’ are. In the presentations of researchers from the UK and specifically Scotland the ‘remote rural’ is appearing a lot. Where on the other hand I sometimes get the impression that everything outside of London is called ‘rural’.

The talk brought me as well on the topic of rurality, what actually defines rural and what is rurality. I thought about the diversified dairy farmer now operating a dairy factory and wishing to expand further. An industrial building and atmosphere in a rural context. Does it actually fit in the ‘rural’ picture? Or the tension in the southern part of The Netherlands where pig and poultry farms have become so big and detached from the location: is this part of the rural or is it endangering the rurality of the rural area. When even the ‘rural’ neighbours start to protest, something may have gone wrong somewhere.

A spokesman of the pig farmers organisation said in a presentation some time ago that pig houses are part of a farm and hence there has to be a place for them in the rural areas. A thought crossed my mind: would he have said the same thing in case the cost of building pig stables in specialised industrial areas would be lower compared to building on a farm? 

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