Well, I suppose we should get this one out of the way! For those of you too young or too urbanized to remember, Green Acres was a sitcom in the late 1960’s about a New York City attorney (Eddie Albert) and his wife (Eva Gabor) who attempt to live as regular country folk in the bizarro community of Hooterville.
The show aired from 1965 to 1971, and the lyrics of the opening were worth the price of admission all by themselves!
Green acres is the place to be
Farm livin’ is the life for me
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside
New York is where I’d rather stay
I get allergic smelling hay
I just adore a penthouse view
Dahling I love you but give me Park Avenue
The chores, the stores
Fresh air, Times Square
You are my wife
Good bye, city life
Green acres we are there
Yah, trust me, they don’t make em like that any more. In fact, they quit making them like that around 1970 or shortly thereafter as part of the rural purge by CBS. The rural purge was essentially a series of cancellations of still-popular rural-themed televisions shows with demographically skewed audiences. Shows like Mayberry RFD, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Green Acres, in addition to many others, all came to an end, as CBS moved to programming with a more urban and suburban appeal. Coincidentally, that’s about the time the “rural purge” started in real life as well, as the mass exodus from rural to urban/suburban was just in its infancy around the country. Dahling I love you but give me Park Avenue.
While television shows like Green Acres are still entertaining to this day, and the socio-cultural implications of the 50-year-old rural purge are well worth reflecting on, I believe the pendulum is starting to move in the other direction due to financial, demographic and technological forces, and our beloved green acres are once again on the verge of a rural splurge, otherwise known as a Rural Renaissance. In spite of decades of counter-productive federal agricultural policy and reckless farm bills, a tipping point of stakeholders have woken up to the value of being surrounded by green acres, and a treasure of national, state and local policies, processes, programs, funding and resources exist to “keep Manhattan and give us that countryside.”
Stay tuned to this site in the coming months and years as we’ll be sharing everything we know, in addition to everything we learn, with you about programs, policies and resources that empower you to carve out your niche in the country so that it’s there when you want it or need it!