Rural Ireland is not alone in sharing local artisans with the world. Economusee is a growing network of agencies supporting unique local experiences in rural areas.
Over the course of a dozen days, students heard successful rural development reaches beyond an agricultural sector. While progressive agricultural policy includes and promotes small farmers and value-add niche processing and products, in Europe as in Canada off farm incomes remain a necessity for family survival.
Business growth, improving local health services, and retaining youth and newcomers are all critical challenges facing rural areas on both sides of the Atlantic. While the size of the challenges varied, the need and urgency of response were consistently mentioned.
Throughout rural areas in Ireland, 2014 legislation requires local governments to team up with economic and social development agencies. The steering committee of this new Local Community Development Committee is dominated by citizens and some elected officials.
What is rural? What is policy?
Brenda LePage, Western Diversification, spoke to the need of investing in rural areas. Others on this opening panel at the OECD modern rural policy conference spoke on the need to have integrated policy with rural and urban areas.
Rural communities are more than sites of extraction, they are sites of shared values with national significance. Dr. Koster, Lakehead University, moderated five presenters from Canada, Chile, Finland, and Japan.
On April 15, 2015 the Southwest Regional Development Corp hosted their AGM. They are making progress on business succession and rural innovation. RDI helps to bring focus to these two strategic directions.
The first annual Rural Youth Tourism Symposium was held on April 8, 2015 at the Culinary Arts Institute in Brandon, by Westman Tourism. The symposium brought together rural youth from around Manitoba and showcased tourism opportunities in rural areas.
Helen Galatsanou, a lead RDI project researcher, explained key conclusions about settlement and integration services. This project resulted in 29 community reports, a report for each of the 4 western provinces, and finally a western regional report.