‘We live in interesting times’.
I find this phrase to be somewhat timeless given that, whatever generation we are born into, ‘times’ are always ‘interesting’, given that the world is always in flux. If the world and society didn’t change then life and time would not be what they are. However, this said, it is a relevant phrase to summarise the state of the British countryside today (and indeed the wider world). For those of us who make a living in the countryside, and especially those entrepreneurs and people running a business in the countryside, there are immense pressures.
Does the British public really understand (or indeed sincerely care) that the withdrawal of the Basic Payment Scheme and the way that farmers make a living is changing and thus ushering in a shift of practice the consequences of which are yet unknown. The situation right now is ‘adapt or leave’. On top of this shift we face new trade deals, the ongoing challenge of rural connection (both digital and public transport), rural homelessness, unaffordable house prices and rural crime, to name just a few. The challenge is immense but indeed those who survive it will develop a countryside economy that is more diversified, more resilient and indeed thriving. As well as immense challenge there is significant opportunity for those who recognise what those opportunities are and grasp them with both hands.
To all rural businesses out there – good luck; keep calm and carry on.