Urbanization pervades conversations about the human future. Yet some people emigrate from the city to rural areas. Those who do bring exposure to complex social dynamics and ubiquitous technology. Yet they typically do not relocate to the country in order to corporate agricultural operations.

Rural natives of course have a culture in place. As they interact with urban newcomers social innovation can occur.  Rural Hub is a project aiming to formalize this innovation process.

Extracted from: http://www.ruralhub.it/project/

Rural Hub is the rhizome of a network of researchers, activists, scholars, and managers interested in identifying new models of economic development. All those people are motivated to find new solutions to the needs (both social and market-related) of the new rural enterprises.

It was founded as a research union, in order to facilitate the connection between new and innovative enterprises, investors and trade associations. This “response” to the lack of business incubators and service providers could really entail a renewal of the business, for a sustainable development of the agri-food industry.

Rural Hub is the first Italian hacker space allowing connection and sharing among people, ideas, technologies and projects concerning social innovation projects applied to the rural world.

Rural Hub is:

  • A co-living and co-working space;
  • A study center leading a permanent research on social innovation applied to rural;
  • Local and global venue of events;
  • An incubator carrying on Mentoring e Project Financing for Rural Start-ups:
  • Connector between innovators and rural change-makers;
  • A laboratory, concerned with new business and communitarian realities, both formal and informal, involving agri-food;
  • A task force for projects of activation of rural communities;

Extracted from: http://www.ruralhub.it/rural-social-innovation-manifest/

In the current economic model, the creation of value has shifted from the physical product to the immaterial dimension. In the Conventional Value Chain, the product has become a ploy for the enhancement of other dimensions, such as logistics, branding and finance.

The new rural economy demands to regain possession of these processes and reorganize them on a Community-basis, in order to return the value to the material product itself. The challenge is to combine People – Planet – Profit, in order to create economically sustainable businesses, finally able to assume social responsibilities and – at the same time – respect the environmental balance of a region.

Rural economy oriented to Societing: a Rural Social Innovation

This new economic model borrows from the past those values which seem to be useful to the present (frugality, solidarity, respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity protection) and aims to transfer them in the contemporary space and time – thanks to the current technologies.

Many young innovators are taking into the rural areas, in the agricultural context, the high job skills they have acquired through their urban life or stays abroad; they express a global culture and share the network ethics, thus enhancing powerful new semantics of the categories of the contemporaneity.

So, the life choices of these young people, projected in the ionosphere, and narrated through social networks, are no longer a private matter but something that becomes strongly public and political. This operation reduces the space-time distances between a metropolitan modernity, where the facts of the future seem to happen, and a rural backwardness that we assume anchored to the past.

That’s how we introduce the concept of #smartrurality, a rurality which becomes fundamental to re-read the contemporaneity through a dialectic of sustainable lifestyles and new possibilities

The Rural Social Innovation System is a new model: the concept of disintermediation takes the place of logistics, storytelling replaces marketing and redistribution supplants finance, subverting the conventional value chain and finally projecting the focus on the product, in a ratio of osmosis with the community.

Disintermediation works in a community dynamics, bringing together manufacturers, producers and local communities. Branding is replaced by an authentic storytelling – able to convey the evocative and real value of traditional products. Redistribution triggers mechanisms of return of the value (both tangible and intangible) within the very same community.

The measurement of the impacts of the Rural Social Innovation System could provide evidence on the generated value. The point is: we need to build tools able to measure the results produced by the rural activities in order to project a more sustainable world.

Extracted from: http://www.ruralhub.it/2016/07/06/summer-school-foodhacker-dal-foodporn-al-foodlove/

The FoodHacker Summer School 2016 aims to create an experience that involves the Digital storytelling withing the principals of real food made in Italy.

The Summer School  will, therefore, train operators ready to respond to the sustainability era interactive, collaborative, participatory, hybrid of ‘ infosphere. Rebuilding a relationship of love with the food quality and its story fitting into a new dimension: the #foodlove .


The technologies and the new media are also valuable tools to describe the rural area: the universe in which we live can be digitized now represented as a domain of complex narratives, in which the storytelling techniques become powerful tools that can be used to give new light to the elements that characterize the history and culture of the rural places. Through the narrative quality authentic food on  digital storytelling  communicates and promotes the identity, traditions and landscape.

Telling these elements means to redefine and redesign the structures of local communities , using methods and tools offered by technology.

The food made in Italy acquires a new meaning, far from that of #foodporn  metropolitan and offers important clues to rethink critically and social dynamics, economic mechanisms, the digital, political and cultural.

Participants will be given handouts, teaching materials and tools of very high quality and can be used immediately in the field.



 Photo by bygdb – Gianni Del Bufalo (CC BY-NC-SA)

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