Rural Urban Synthesis – AgRUS

Agrus logo

The AgRUS Project helps people engage in the socialisation of sustainable living. The AgRUS Network is for building such projects. The AgRUS Academy offers online courses that outline the AgRUS approach, its key perspectives, and further access within the Network.

Background

While humanity slow-crashes into itself and its natural environment, bottom up efforts to address the issues are gaining ground. Government by democracy, though a resounding failure in this hour of need, remains a cherished ideal. For the moment the only grand plan in play is managed by the architects of the banking establishment: spreading poverty and division through the instrumentality of debt. 

Our vision

“To unite the halves of humanity around Nature’s table.”

Position

It is time to turn over a new leaf, to formulate a competing grand plan. There are core policies to address: agriculture, energy, economy, education, family, health, immigration, justice, security, society and water. But first we need a serious strategy, one both grand enough to redefine progress yet revive the Commons, to put the intelligence of the grassroots back into government.

The AgRUS strategy promotes a bottom-up, recursive approach which embodies the ethic of stewardship in both social and environmental terms.  Just as Nature evolves around simple rules and expresses sustainability in all its ways, so human societies must learn to do the same. AgRUS provides only a framework sufficient for groups to develop their own sustainability foundation. Such groups must evolve their own model, using the resources provided according to their own understanding.

Our framework follows the template essential to sustainability; i.e. the path to the outcome is the same as the outcome itself.

Platform 1: Articulate sustainability

The process called ‘natural selection’ in Darwin’s theory of evolution describes the choiceless adaptations of nature over time. A popular version of its underlying dynamic is the saying, “survival of the fittest”, also referred to as Social Darwinism. That misrepresentation simplifies life to a kind of economic knockout contest. Chaos Theory, a model developed in the ’60s, indicates a more inclusive interpretation … “survival by sustainability” … which emphasises mutuality over domination, cooperation over competition.

Platform 2: Affirm the Way

All of existence, including life itself, is an expression of consciousness, wherein biological evolution is a vehicle for the evolution of (awareness as) consciousness itself. Accordingly and inevitably a stage of evolution must eventually be reached when corporeal awareness grasps the essence of that process and begins to explore it consciously.

Platform 3: Assert the Commons

Planet Earth is being sold to Planet Market, a currency-centric virtual world whose perversities have dulled our spirits and robotised our lives. The most potent and direct path to diverting this ‘pay to live’ future is in the hands of ordinary people. By cooperating as economic collectives within a framework of principled relations their energies together can transform more than their own lives.

Platform 4: Advance Sovereignty

The industrial influence upon food production has brought with it disastrous health consequences at every biological scale. The only assured recourse for reversing this trend is through grassroots food sovereignty. A self-autonomous land-food cycle at the personal and community levels is the precursor to other forms and wider aspects of sovereignty.

Current policy models are flawed
– the urgent ecological challenge is food, not fossil fuels

Emerging (4 articles)

Member types

– Limited equity in an existing property
– Modest income – pension or a city job
– A passion for being close to the land
– Concerns about environmental issues
– Health conscious – vegetarian leanings
– Stressed by city living

Join the Network

  1. Tell the online community about yourself … fill out a member profile.
  2. Graduate through the online courses … outlines key topics and approach. 
  3. Ask to join the groups of interest to you.
  4. Share ideas and resources.

From take-off

Joins forces with others. To find other committed pioneers join the AgRUS Network. Your initial aim should be the continuous building of trust among the group. Getting to understand people’s qualities takes time. Eat together, work alongside them. Social capital built while living in easier circumstances will help with the hurdles ahead

To landing

Identify small towns, (Centres), where groups can base themselves to form a coöperative economy, (Hubs). Buying residential property collectively is unwarranted – private ownership means financial independence. Living in proximity is strategically important – for practising coöperation, setting up self-help projects like a time bank, CSA or food coöp and so on. Joint investments can come later.

Our future hinges on our food

A framework for sustainable Food-Land-People assemblages in low habitancy areas is outlined in our free course …
—  How the Food System Must be Changed

Global policy initiatives amount to little more than a bankers’ racket, tax the rich countries and grab land from the poor for carbon-offset forests.

This chart illustrates why a different approach should be adopted…

Ecological footprint - mediterranean cities

Hard evidence is emerging that the food sector of most cities has a larger ecological footprint than their transport sectors.
Other evidence from the Global Footprint Network shows just how ecologically unsustainable modern cities are.


| Source | City Footprints: Data for Action, (2017). Global Footprint Network
The ecological footprint (EF) is measured in GigaHectares per Capita – how many billion hectares of ‘nature’ is needed to service each city inhabitants ecological debt.

We see an urgent need for policies that encourage home owners into land-based joint settlement projects.

Rural resettlement: some terms/ concepts

CENTRE: A rural town for economic base.  Preferred attributes  … pre-existing

  • farming area with good soil and water
  • access to interesting conservation areas
  • within half an hour of a base hospital
  • no more than an hour and a half from a major airport
  • town hall with an elected town council
  • fire station & police station
  • safe water supply
  • public sports facilities
  • complement of schools
  • underutilised factory space
  • a population of 3000-6000 people
  • an elected council with a town hall

HUB: A group of people who have chosen to work on a particular project together.
Hubs grow based around a Centre. Personal property and employment arrangements remain conventional – some participants  living within the town, others outside, even at some distance for the meantime.

Independent and autonomous, each follows its own economy and pursuits – defined in its Charter.
Any ministrations provided by the Network would be received voluntary. Experience suggests that the size of a Hub should not exceed 600 participants.

CLUSTER:  A local network of rural life-stylers dwelling in proximity. As private land-owners they integrate as they choose with like-minded others in their neighbourhood. Unlike the participants of a Hub they have no charter of association — not to suggest that it might not emerge.

CHARTER: the founding principles of a Hub which may include its aims, purpose and code of ethics – as seen fit.

References

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