Systemic challenges of our rural communities / by Resilience Earth

Community Catalysts “Training of Trainers” in Hungary In October 2019, twelve of us gathered in the heart of a natural paradise in Verôce, a small village not far from Budapest, bathed in the red, orange and yellow colours of autumn. We were accompanied by brisk air at night, glistening dew in the morning and the warmth of a comfortable, welcoming house.The Training of Trainers “Community Catalysts for Regenerative Development” was launched with participants hailing from four different countries and diverse professional backgrounds, but all sharing the same interest – to learn and exchange with other professionals working in the field of regenerative development in rural areas. Over the course of three days, we did so through mutual training, sharing of experiences, and knowledge co-creation. Thanks to the diverse perspectives of the participants, we were able to harvest many creative and complex frameworks and tools to respond to the systemic challenges of our rural communities.

The training experience was deeply inspiring for me, especially the lively debates during the sessions. I was moved many times, such as when we discussed how to shift degenerative land and community development practices into obsoletion, or how to stop cycles of structural violence and inequality, or how to activate social solidarity economies. Essentially, the core of what I learned from my colleagues was that we must better understand the territories in which we live in order to disrupt and transform the current situation. By doing do, we can then harness new ways of life that go beyond individualism and capitalism, towards more regenerative ecological, social and economical practices.This reflection connects me with the deeper purpose of catalyzing our municipalities and communities. Understanding stewardship is an essential part of life, not just human life, but planetary life. We must remember and recognize that we are a part of these rural territories and that if parts of them die, parts of us as humans also die, as do parts of the other animals and plants that inhabit the land. Land stewardship enhances our capacity to regenerate our cultures and heal the fabric of the web of life. Stewardship is an act of courage and co-responsibility. It requires the will and capacity to design systems based on community governance and local solidarity economy as catalytic responses to eco-social transformation. This training offered us the opportunity to do so, thereby becoming better stewards of our territories, communities and economies.