Rural Community and Rural Resilience: What is important to farmers in keeping their country towns alive?
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Many studies have highlighted the phenomenon of rural decline in parts of the developed world, summarised as a loss in agricultural employment leading to a decline in the number and size of rural settlements. This study of small towns in part of Australia's inland rural "heartland" employs the concepts of interactional rural community of place and rural resilience to identify how farmers perceive their interactions with their local town. This study suggests that robust levels of ongoing engagement between farmers and town communities are important in maintaining rural populations and services along with both a strong local economy and environment. Face-to-face interviews with 115 farmers in two rural regions of New SouthWales, Australia, highlight the importance of the local economy and jobs, the quality of the local environment and a strong sense of belonging, in contributing to a strong sense of local community and potential for resilience.
Journal of Rural Studies