The dream of walking away from a stifling corporate world to the freedom and wide open spaces of a rural small holding or lifestyle property is one that is definitely not new, but is now perhaps more feasible than ever with the help of technology and a turn towards locally grown, organic produce.
There was a point in time, only a decade or so ago, when a block in the country consisted of a 5 acre paddock carved off a farmer’s land to bring in some extra cash for the farmer.
The starry eyed new owners built a brand new house in the middle of their block, waited for more money in the bank so they could plant trees and generate some shelter and privacy, and spent their weekends mowing the large areas of grass on a ride-on mower.
And to pay the mortgage, they added on a longer commute at the beginning and end of every workday, dropping off the children en route.
Working in an urban environment but coming home to the country each day is still a reality for many who followed their dream, while others are actually starting to be able to sustain themselves on their rural lifestyle blocks.
Tech enabled home-work
Working from home is becoming far more viable with the extension of high speed broadband connections, mobile coverage in the countryside and a more flexible approach to life by many employers.
High powered former executives are turning to freelancing or consulting work they can conduct from home base in the country, supplementing emails and phone calls with Skype meetings and Google+ hangouts on air.
And outside in the garden, they are growing crops, the more gourmet the better, the more organic the better, to sell at local farmers’ markets.
As consumers become less and less impressed by the quality of food and general behaviour of the large, multi-national supermarket chains, and more inspired to eat well from locally grown, accountable sources, farmers markets have become one of the most popular weekend activities – no matter what part of the country you live.
Smallholdings can effectively grow a variety of herbs, or make the most of existing orchards to grow fruit that can be turned into delicious jams, jellies and chutneys, revisiting domestic skills that seem to have skipped a generation or two and making them cool again.
Pin it and Learn it!
Pinterest has become the place where people rediscover the domestic arts and educate themselves in the absence of older family members available to teach the skills of growing, harvesting, cooking and preserving the bountiful produce from their productive block of land. And if the instructions via Pinterest aren’t detailed enough, there is absolutely going to be a “how to” video on YouTube to cover every eventuality.
And suppliers who have traditionally provided services to farmers with much larger land holdings are having to reconsider and re-package their offerings to suit new rural dwellers who have their roots in city life.
The opportunity to provide products and services that are packaged to suit the size of these smaller blocks, with the added attributes of educating these new customers on how to install, prepare or maintain the basics of farming practice is tremendous – reminiscent of the hardware stores who one day realised their customer base also included women, and began running night classes for women and adding florals and pink packaging to the hammers and power tools.
RX’s K-Line Farm Pack is one product designed with lifestyle block owners in mind – and not only comes with all the individual components required to set up irrigation for a 1 hectare block, it also includes an instructional DVD and installation manual to ensure a customer with any level of experience and practical skills is able to get the system up and running easily.
About the Author
Vikki is a longstanding member of the RX Plastics marketing team, based in rural Ashburton. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about the 3,000+ RX products, and if she doesn't know, she knows where to find out.More Content by Vikki Ellis