Studies in Regional Economic Development
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 7: Side-activity entrepreneur: lifestyle or economically oriented?
Rural areas are increasingly becoming places of consumption rather than merely places of agricultural production (Ilbery, 1998). Although agriculture is the hub of the rural economy, rural employment is no longer dominated only by agricultural activities. Instead, many other activities have sprung up, such as those related to the service sector, tourism/ leisure, landscape management, water management, industry and manufacturing (Strijker, 2000; Van Depoele, 2000). Van Depoele (2000) argues that the word 'rural' is no longer synonymous with 'farming' and that non-agricultural employment is increasing in rural areas; that is, farmers are increasingly becoming part-time farmers. In addition, the decreasing number of farms has contributed to the replacement of agricultural activities by new economic activities (Daalhuizen et al., 2003; North and Smallbone, 1995; O'Connor et al., 2006). All are components of a larger economic change in rural areas away from agriculture and industrial production and toward a more service-intensive economy. According to Ilbery (1998), where agricultural employment in rural areas is in decline, new activities can be a substitute. In particular, tourism and environmental conservation are creating multiple development trajectories in rural areas (Murdoch and Marsden, 1994). Furthermore, the countryside can offer new avenues for activities, such as campsites, nature development/recreational sites in rural areas, bed and breakfasts, and service firms in old farmhouses. In this chapter, we focus on these new activities, especially side activities that provide extra income for the rural household.
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