Escape to the Country, near Auckland

Ten reasons why country living is great for your family and the planet

As we settle into our second week of the Covid19 lockdown here in New Zealand, and with the possibility of this being the new normal, it’s a time when many of us might be reappraising where and how we live. What we previously felt was important may have become less so, and conversely, other priorities may be emerging. Escaping to the country appeals to many of us, but we might not previously have had the time to consider it seriously.  This blog takes a look at some of the upsides to country living as we consider our options for the future, and also myth busts some of our main worries & concerns. I will be expanding on each of these topics in future blogs.

1. Space, Peacefulness, Fresh Air

Having some space around us to breathe and feel at ease has become particularly poignant at the moment. One of the most appreciated aspects of rural living is the sense of spaciousness, peace and quiet, and beautifully calming vistas. We are so lucky in rural New Zealand to have such pure and fresh air, and by having space to breathe we can escape road and neighbour noise intrusion, as well as light pollution; making it easier to sleep easy in many senses.

2. Growing your Own Food

The current panic buying, shortages, and queues have reminded us how fragile our global food networks can be, leaving us reliant on a system that can be easily disrupted. Having some land means that you can become more self-reliant in some of the fresh foods essential for our health, especially vegetables and fruits, and also higher quality home-reared meats and eggs. Growing and making our own foods gives us back control over our family’s health, as well as huge enjoyment and satisfaction.

3. Time to spend with your Family

One of the aspects of the lockdown many of us are appreciating is the greater amount of time we have to spend living in the moment, and sharing that time with our families. Living rurally means that’s what we can do more of, especially if we are remote working as we are learning to do now. We get to see more of our kids and learn together how to grow food and do other enriching outdoor tasks that build lasting memories and family bonds, as well as improve everyone’s wellbeing and fun.

4.Self-reliance and Resilience

As we headed into lockdown the DIY shops had a surge of custom as folk stocked up on materials for projects to make best use of their stay-at-home time. With projects in the garden, orchard, on the land, or around the home, there’s never a shortage of things to do when you’ve got some land, and which can be tackled at your own pace. So being bored and stuck with offerings only on electronic devices is not for the rurally minded. There’re a wealth of hobbies and projects that provide lifelong learning, satisfaction, and friendships.

5. Health, Fitness, and Wellbeing

Having access to the space and time for regular exercise often has to be planned into urban lifestyles, but living on the land it just comes naturally as part of your everyday activities. The lockdown is giving us all a greater appreciation of more family activities instead of a solo pursuit of fitness. Walks and cycle rides with the kids add a whole different dimension of fun and learning for all. Home-grown foods, more time, and more natural and fun-filled exercise together provide a recipe for better mental and physical health and overall wellbeing.

6. Reduced costs

If we’re smart about our rural living it can be the route to reducing our living costs in other ways, essentially in our power bills. Off-grid living in the twenty-first century is a no-brainer as the technology is available now to seriously cut our ongoing living costs but still retain the same quality of living standards and beautiful design as our urban cousins. We really can have it all! Solar villages like Rengaru are now showing the way to energy efficiency in rural community living.

7. Building Real Community

The lockdown is giving us all the time and incentive to reconnect with our friends and families and develop a stronger sense of community. In intentional communities like Rengaru, the strength and resilience of building communities is implicit, so that learning and working together and providing ongoing support is built-in to the design, down to having footpaths connecting homesteads; just like a village. Families have their own space and privacy but also the strong connectivity with neighbours as well as with the wider rural networks. Folk are there for each other all the time, not just in emergencies.

8. Closer Relationships to Nature

With the time and quiet now to hear the birds and notice the insects and trees, many people have commented that has become missing from everyday life. Living in the country it is the birdsong that becomes your playlist as you fall asleep to the lullaby of the Morepork. Your children grow up naturally understanding where their food comes from and with a passion for protecting our wild places without being taught. We all imbibe through our pores the essence of nature around us, and understand intrinsically that we need it more than it needs us.

9. Reducing Your Carbon footprint

Many of us are not only concerned about the current global crisis but also looking over our shoulders at the climate crisis looming up fast. Sustainable living is the only way to significantly reduce our individual carbon footprints, since our houses and lifestyles are what impact the planet most. An off-grid eco-village approach like Rengaru is about as good as it gets! The beauty of sharing your experience in a community is that you learn from others and share resources, enhancing everyone’s journey.

10. Water Wars

Many think that water will be the next resource like oil over which we will be fighting. Living rurally you have control of your own water supplies. With a climate like New Zealand’s you should never have a water shortage as you can collect the pure fresh rainwater that falls freely for much of the year. At Rengaru we also have water aplenty with springs, streams and wetlands; we have our own water security built-in.