• chris.arnold
  • March 21st, 2018
  •   Urban

Welcome to Urban Departure. As it’s name implies, this blog is about moving out of the cities and into rural areas. Currently , my husband Ron and I are owners of , Herb and Plow Farm, a certified naturally grown fruit and vegetable farm on the Cumberland Plateau in TN.  We are seeing a migration of people from all over the U.S. into our fair county. The driving force behind this movement appears to be the pursuit of a simpler more sustainable life .  Many have become our customers. Some are actively growing food,  beekeeping, preserving food, heating with wood, building, crafting and pursuing other varied rural endeavors. 

Although Ron and I were both suburban brats, we have lived a rural lifestyle our entire married life (38 years). We have a pretty good idea of what it takes and would like to pass on as much useful information as possible. We will cover topics such as buying affordable, useable land, making a living in the country, gardening naturally, market gardens, farmers markets, CSAs, berries, fruit trees, bees, home businesses and much more…

You might be wondering why anyone would want to leave the cities and move to the country? 

For one, city living is fast becoming unaffordable.  With increased demand for apartments and a lean supply in most rental markets, a tenant is at the mercy of this housing market.  The larger the city , the more dense the population, and more people competing for housing. Supply and demand. Great for landlords but not tenants.  The same rules applies to homeowners. 

Some urban dwellers are weary of the  high price of city conveniences. Entertainment, food, clothes, Day Care, private schools, taxes, security and parking  add up quickly. Some folks feel like they are drowning in all these privileges and the trendy and fashionable life in the city begins to pale. 

Are people trapped? Can people make it in smaller towns? 

Although there is still a mass exodus from small towns for 18 – to- 25-year-olds, current numbers show that thirty-somethings and forty-somethings  tend to come back to find jobs or start businesses in their small hometowns, resulting in  a “talent” gain for the area.

Some return to live in the same area as their aging parents, to provide caregiving support or gain help in raising their own families. Many reported that they wanted a simpler pace of life, safety and security and low housing costs.

Obviously there are more jobs in large cities  There are a lot of headquarters for large companies there as well as large factories, so probably more opportunities for a higher income, but there are also more people  competing for these jobs, too.  Is it possible to trade the greater amount of stress , expense and higher wages for a simpler pace of life and still enjoy a comfortable life?

With the technology we have now, people are able to live almost anywhere there is fast broadband internet connection.  Fortunately, the FCC’s Connect America Phase II program is working on bringing high-speed  internet access to many underserved rural areas of the U.S. Fiber optics was installed in our small community of Grimsly , TN in Fentress County in 2012.  This allows me to have the same ,if not better internet connection, as those in a large city. Many of the new transplants in our area work remotely from home.

“Rural-sourcing” is a growing trend that provides opportunities to highly-qualified employees who live outside urban centers. https://www.ruralsourcing.com If you have a professional degree in healthcare, law, technology, accounting, or other highly-skilled fields, you may even find some rural areas willing to pay you to move.

Indeed.com lists over 2500 jobs in rural areas. Reddit and LinkedIn are useful networking sites. 

Caregiving is also a viable option. You may have to work for an agency at first, which will not provide great wages, probably around $10-12 an hour, but you will at least get your foot in the door and eventually  find your own clients.

How about pet sitting?  Americans own 83 million dogs and 95 million cats. Dogvacay and Rover.com are now joined as one pet sitter site. People are paid an average of $30 a day per pet. Have extra space trying renting it on airbnb.com or verb.com .

Market gardening and farmers markets provide a way to use your new land to not only feed your family, but feed others and generate an income.  Check out the farmers markets in your state and county. Most have a 100 mile rule, which means you can’t be more than a 100 miles from the market.  We were able to sell at several farmers markets within a 1.5 hours drive one way. They were producer only markets which means you must grow what you sell. Fruit( berries and tree fruit) is the most popular item you can bring. They attract customers like nothing else. Of course, all the garden varieties are sought after ,  but tomatoes, lettuce and cakes are the three best cash crops besides fruit. Eggs do well and so do cut flowers. See the Flower Farmer by Lynn Bryzinski.

There are a lot of options out there. Many times you do have to create your own services and fortunately, we still have the freedom to do that in the US.