Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Experience of Incomers: what's yours and what's your advice for potential incomers to a rural community?

What would be your top pieces of advice for anyone planning on moving from the city to a rural community?

My recent post on Country Living in a Cariboo Valley mentioned their experience as incomers into rural Canada, Annie and her husband having being city-dwellers on the West Coast.

We're both originally city kids, so when we moved here, we didn't really know what we were doing. This has resulted in a lot of laughter in our neighbourhood, from folks who have listened to our (somtimes silly) questions. They tell us they're glad to see some new people come and trying living off the land, and they are eager to help us with advice or if we have problems.

My personal experience of being an ex-city dweller moving to the countryside and the reactions of the 'locals' has been nothing but positive, first having returned to London from Paris (after 10 years overseas) and then deciding on the spur of the moment to move to the Cotswolds in the English countryside.

Equally, where we now live in rural France, in the Auvergne, our experience has been, if anything, even better.

But it's not always so.

In my book about our experiences in the Cotswolds (A Place in My Country: In Search of a Rural Dream - there was the incomer who had his garden poisoned for upsetting a long-established local.

Here in the Auvergne, a goat farmer, new to the region, has received death threats, had his buildings burnt and worse.

Of course these experiences are not representative, but they do expose underlying tensions between normally quite highly capitalised city downshifters and long-standing local residents who resent the influx of cash and opinions, and it has to be said, sometimes the clumsiness of incomers in learning how to fit into rural communities.

I'd be fascinated, for those of you who have moved to the countryside, to hear of any weird and wonderful experiences you have had (don't worry, I won't give away your details!)

Equally, for those of you who have always lived in the countryside, how do you feel about incomers?

It's clear that one of the biggest problems is to do with land values and incomers pushing up the prices of both land and housing, often creating problems for young local people who can no longer afford to live in the communities they grew up in and wish to stay in. This problem is more acute in more crowded parts of Europe (certainly in the Cotswolds and many parts of France) but I have also heard of this being a problem in rural communities in striking distance of big North American cities, in particular in California, and in Australia and New Zealand.

Please drop me a line if you have an anecdote I can share - keeping your exact location and name etc. out of it of course. There is an assumption by many incomers they will be met with open arms, but it ain't always so.

Farm Blogs
Ranch Blogs
Rural Blogs
Countryside Blogs
Smallholding Blogs
Urban Homesteading Blogs
Homesteading Blogs
Homestead Blogs
Allotment Blogs
Apiculture Blogs
Bee-keeping Blogs

Rural France
Blogs about France

Paris / Montmartre/ Abbesses holiday / vacation furnished apartment rental

No comments: