Breaking Bread: The Application of a Sustainable Rural Development Model for the Preservation of Cultural Landscapes in Shenandoah County, Virginia
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Type of Work308 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
RightsTo view a complete copy of this thesis please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at email@example.com or (410) 337-6075.
SubjectsRural development -- Virginia -- Shenandoah County
Sustainable development -- Virginia -- Shenandoah County
Cultural landscapes -- Virginia -- Shenandoah County
Historic preservation -- Theses
This thesis examines the hypothesis of whether a "sustainable rural development model" can be used to preserve the cultural landscapes of Shenandoah County, Virginia as well as how to measure success. While traditional rural development is approached through the lens of a single issue, a "sustainable rural development model" acknowledges rural regions as complex systems requiring a comprehensive approach to development in order to meet the needs of present and future generations. Located in central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley has a considerable concentration of natural, scenic, historic and cultural resources within a large swathe of working landscapes that are the lifeblood of a region economically depending up them for agriculture and tourism. Mid-point in the Valley, Shenandoah County is a microcosm of issues facing both the regions as well as large parts of the nation and is the study area for this thesis. As defined through my research, a "sustainable rural development model" is driven by strong community-based collaborative management and includes the promotion of heritage and agritourism opportunities, environmental awareness and protections, as well as land use planning. Finally, in order for rural lands to be preserved and for agriculture to remain viable, this thesis determines the development and promotion of a local food system as the most critical component towards achieving rural sustainability. Based upon the examination of two variations of a "sustainable rural development mode" as well as a case study of a rural area that employs successful sustainable development strategies centering on a robust local foods system, this thesis determines that while Shenandoah County is not a model for sustainable rural development at present, there is a great potential for the county to implement successful sustainable development strategies to revitalize and preserve its communities, landscapes and rural character. As this work shows, the core of these efforts must be the development of a strong local foods system which is unquestionably tied to the success of the county's rural revitalization strategies. It is clear that Shenandoah County's successful implementation of a sustainable rural development model is the best way to preserve the cultural landscapes of the county and the Shenandoah Valley.