From Reliable Prosperity:
Productive rural areas offer a wide range of economic opportunities while preserving the health of local ecosystems. They preserve their sense of place and cultural traditions even as they diversify their local economies. They maintain a sufficient range of services, including healthcare and education, to provide for the fundamental needs of local people. Productive Rural Areas create viable opportunities for continuity from generation to generation, reducing the average age of farmers, ranchers, loggers, and fishermen.
The health of rural areas is related to that of nearby towns and cities. Rural areas need strong and stable market linkages for their produce, timber, and fish. Community supported agriculture and community-based forestry provide higher, more reliable prices with long-term subscriptions and production arrangements.
Rural areas can contribute to the ecological infrastructure of nearby towns and cities, as well as to regional systems of connected wildlands, by preserving riparian corridors, wetlands, and lands of special ecological and cultural significance. Rural areas may also serve as both destinations for ecotourism and gateways to nearby wild areas. Such wild areas may offer important subsistence uses, supplementing the local diet and providing a sense of place. Rural areas may also be able to market ecosystem services. Along the Columbia River, farmers are now leasing land for wind farms, providing a significant income while keeping the land in agriculture.