In the past, rural prosperity has been mainly associated with the modernisation of agriculture and the economic benefits that appear to originate from it. Today we know that this simple logic is not correct in several respects. Regionally, structural changes to farms and the modernisation of a few farms have not always contributed to prosperous rural areas. At the level of farm households, we can see that other non-economic aspects such as a minimum level of autonomy, social recognition and social and environmental well-being all play rather significant roles. In this paper, we present an empirically grounded analysis of these questions based on in-depth case studies in seven countries (Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Israel, Germany and Denmark). We discuss rural actors understanding of rural prosperity in different countries and contexts, the strategies used to improve prosperity and well-being, and how these strategies can be enabled and fostered. The empirical evidence presented indicates that prosperity in rural contexts is increasingly understood as being multi-dimensional and that people seek to balance economic parameters with human, social and environmental well-being.
- Rural development