Field of Dreams?

“Hands on working relationships, people listening, understanding, offering straight talking opinions, allowing the sparks of new opportunity to catch fire here and there.”

Sometimes wet Field of $$$Dreams – Fieldays 2012 (re-arrange as appropriate)

Seems as if there’s an urban myth of a standoff between urbanites and country folk. The former regard the latter as, well a bit country, and the latter regard the phenomenon of urban living and it’s devotees with a certain bemusement.

It’s ok though, as Fieldays puts that all right. See, NZ rural living confers a certain invisibility cloak, due to declining outdoors participation. Why get your feet wet when Google Earth will whisk you on a cloud to experience much of the backcountry without even getting your feet wet, by deciphering leave no trace principles from the comfort of your own glowing screen.

I really enjoyed my extended visit to Australasia’s largest rural show. It helped me understand a little of the schizophrenic nature of modern life, the paradox of urban living that makes us imagine we’re happy by consumption of wants rather than just needs. The rural community is not without its ills, however the distinct sense that hard toil with smart thinking, and embracing technology for specific purposes, can all combine to produce an extremely effective industry – NZ’s largest, and largest exporter of milk products. (Although for how long this will remain the case is questionable).

Brands associate their messages with ‘the land’ and ‘the country’. Dress code strictly gumboot diplomacy, checked shirt rosy-cheeked glow. Poker games played out in the milking sheds and tractor cockpits of the land. All for a slice of the dairying pie.
Hanging off coat-tails for a rollercoaster (Fonterra milk solids auction price) ride.

In an increasingly hands off world, what I liked the most of all, was a deep sense of ‘tradition moving with the times’. Hands on working relationships, people listening, understanding, offering straight talking opinions, allowing the sparks of new opportunity to catch fire here and there. Enough to make me realise that there’s real sense in straddling the divide that shapes the town vs country debate. The way the World’s going, we’re going to need both approaches working in harmony, to survive and thrive far into the future..

43words ©David Binstead 2012. All rights reserved.

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