ICT4RD: ICT in the agricultural rural food launched

How I explain in my presentation, during the last four years I have started a process of learning. For this reason, I presented a complete project of research (abstract) in order to develop into the Information and Knowledge Society Doctoral Programme at Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of UOC.

My experience in some professional projects related to ITC and rural development and the academic career about the Network Society approach me to this proposal. The interest for research has given me a rigorous point of view to be applied to professional projects. In addition, my experience in professional projects gives me some examples for academic research.

Rural Development is a valuable concept for the development of any country. If we speak about economic development in any country, we should not forget rural areas. Their specific characteristics, geographical situation, demographic evolution and socio-economic development are more difficult than other geographical areas.

Throughout history, rural world has needed to develop collaborative ways to work together. These relationships have turned into communities: social and economic spaces. These organizations responded to their member needs to share and create more beneficial ways to collaborate. Beyond traditional forms of collaboration (guilds, associations, organizations, etc.), the rural world has developed other kind of synergies to benefit their members.

This project deals with analysing how the new tools associated with the Network Society allow the rural world to begin new ways to (socially) relate and to (economically) develop on the Internet. However, the existing organizations have the opportunity to adopt new structures and new forms to communicate through technological tools, and to collaborate online.

That is the reason why, governments carry out rural development policies in most countries. For instance, the European Union encourages policies at a European level for rural economic development through the LEADER programme.

My focus is Catalonia, where rural areas were the most important communities from the IX century until the second half of XIX century. Then, the Industrial Revolution changed demography, social-economic relations and led the rural areas to a non-developed stage.

On the one hand, my main interest is focused on the observation of the agricultural food product launched by a producer or a community of producers. On the other hand, a community of consumers concentrates around that product. The project herein focuses on the influence of the ITC in those communities, which is the aim of this research.

This proposal begins with a previous research, the final project of the Master in Information and Knowledge Society: The rural Catalan communities facing the Information and Knowledge Society new scenario, the case of ‘La Conca de Barberà’. (Espelt, 2011). This experience has given me the possibility to taste an approach to this research field.

The results and conclusions I got in that first research have encouraged me to present this proposal. My research is an approach to the rural development in the era of digital revolution. I have worked to build a new academic literature point of view and research methodology to the rural development. My approach works in relation to the different disciplines of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) and to the economic history of cooperatives.

I hope my contribution will help this mission. Any comment or reference could be useful for me. Thanks in advance!

Web enabled rural land …

Ricard, thanks for sharing! Indeed, I see rural areas as a good place to be, esp. in times of crisis where they are more sustainable than urban life (given cheaper land and housing costs, and the option to grow your own food in case of difficult income situations). As for rural lifestyle - it’s personality dependent of course, but I don’t miss much. What I need is a good Internet connection, some friends around and some travelling and nomad living from time to time. Given that DSL-speed Internet access is now available in all of Europe via KA-SAT for comparable costs, this is all a no-issue.

I looked at your Master thesis, but I don’t speak the language … . If you have any pointer for me regarding collaboration projects and communities that help each other out to achieve a type of rural autarky by self-supply with food, water and energy - I’d be grateful. For the time being, I follow closely what Open Source Ecology is doing in that area (there’s also a “chapter” of them in Western Spain, starting right now: Open E Land).

Useful references

Hi Matthias,
I'm sorry for delay. I'm working on a brief presentation in English about my project. I will upload it soon.
Thanks for your interesting links. I have also used them to improve my presentation.

Farmer John and cultural shifts

Hi Ricard,

when I read your report I had an immediate association with a film about a flamboyant farmer named John. For me rural areas have held a special fascination…romanticised. And what with the work situation, insane real estate prices andother less pleasant aspect of life in cities in a time of less abundance, I suppose the idea of living on a farm, growing your own food and all that seems more attractive… With little real understanding of as you put it the difficulties tied to “specific characteristics, geographical situation, demographic evolution and socio-economic development”. While the film is specific to North America and the experience of a flamboyant character, I’d be curious to know how much of the experience he describes is valid to rural areas in general, and what aspects are more location specific…here’s the trailer :slight_smile:

I will try to watch it!

Hi Nadia,
I guess the flamboyant farmer is it far from the majority farmers  that I am studying, but the film it could be fanny :) I will try to watch it!

Very interesting indeed

So… lordy, so much to discuss. I’m absolutely fascinated by the interaction between modern networks and villages - the three billion people in the villages who’re all coming online in the next ten years or so, breaking through into a new interaction between the global and the local - poor peasant kids self-educating on Wikipedia and becoming part of the global discourse.

We’re about to mulitply the number of smart people who are able to talk to each other on the surface of the earth by a factor of ten. A genuine, huge transformation, within a decade - 4 billion people can get SMS, and the next phone most of those people own will be a smart phone, at least a basic web browser and a screen keyboard…

Amazing things are coming.

But that’s the far, far, far extreme of the rural, not just the close, European rural. And there we go.