A blog about all things rural and agritourism related
Farm Community & CultureFebruary 22, 2012
Tags: church, farm community, farm culture, feed mill, middlesex county, school Categories: Agritecture : Woven Lea Farm Thesis, rural culture
The world is becoming very multi-cultural and globally connected. The scale of communities is drastically changing. How can rural maintain a distinct culture and connected community. If we look back at the farming community it has traditionally be centered around a few key pieces of infrastructure. For example the Church or the School or the Feed Mill. If we look at what that looks like in the diagram below you can see that in 1878 in Middlesex County there are many schools and churches and feed mills and the scale of the community is approximately 2km radius.
- 1878n Middlesex County, copyright Krista Duynisveld 2008
Now clearly this is due to the limits of transportation (horse and buggy) as well as density in population in rural areas (average farm size of 100acres). But these three buildings provided clear centres for community to gather, meet, exchange information, build relationships and support each other. The life of a farmer can be isolated and difficult without the support of neighbours and friends. Neighbours help each other out and provide advice and information for other farmers. In the past these things happened via the architecture of the Church, School, and Feed Mill.
Over the past 130 years alot has changed. The average farm size has grown (800 acres), the population density of the rural landscape has decreased, the truck is our form of transportation. This has dramatically changed the landscape. If we look at Middlesex County in 2008 we can see the average community radius is 10km around the nearest church, school or feed mill.
Approximately 80% of the schools and 50% of the churches have disappeared. Without going into the religion discussion, we can all acknowledge that church attendance has declined. So how does the rural community maintain connections, share information and gather in today’s world? The rural community is being streched to a scale which threatens its unique culture and ties that bind it together.
What is the architectural building that connects us today? Could it be that knowledge and experience is shared via social media? Is this a way to connect with your neighbour everyday and keep up in our busy world? Are shared facilities a way to maintain community, like shared bio-digesters, compost piles, or tractors? How do you maintain a good community connection with your neighbour and how could it be enhanced?