Most scholars of rural gender studies do not consider the essential changes in rural economy and life styles, defining rural areas as traditional and conservative. Research is still extremely fragmented into new problems facing the female population in rural areas, those arising from the changes in the lifestyle and the diversified income sources typical of post-industrial rural settlements. This article hence identifies several significant changes in economic and social life in rural areas dealing with the differences between the attractiveness of rural areas as living place for women in the industrial society of the 20th century and the post-industrial society of the 21st century.
The empirical research presented here proves the relevance of post-industrial theory in a real-world environment by testing the validity of several stereotypical opinions about the motivation to live in Lithuanian rural areas from the position of young well-educated people. The analysis of the opinions of young well-educated women reveals that their motivation is rather different from the perceptions of what was important and motivating for finding good living places; these perceptions have otherwise been pointed out by many gender studies based on the industrial society framework. These findings are a call for implementation of new rural policy measures following the higher incidence of young females as rural entrepreneurs, family farm managers, professionals, and local community leaders.
Recently, the EU policy measures have been widely applied to encourage early retirement from farming. Current age structure of society requires opposite approach. Key challenges for rural development policy aiming to increase quality of life of elder people are dealing not only with traditional help and support measures, but also with the involvement of elder generation into economic and social life. New EU agricultural policy measures should ensure that funding and institutional incentives support extending working and active social life of elder farmers. One of the possible ways to change the approach deals with servitization. However, despite implementation of service-driven business model in agriculture, which opened new possibilities to use knowledge and experience of old generation, the servitization movement is still weak in agriculture. Restricted adoption of service-driven business models in agriculture largely depends on the lack of research on this topic and guidelines for practitioners. The aim of this paper is to conceptualize the organizational model aiming to implement product-service system in agricultural business by joint efforts of elder farmers and beginning gardeners. Case study on innovative servitization initiative “Rent a piece of garden” in rural areas of Lithuania is used as an illustration of innovative business model in agriculture and territorial servitization with multifaceted impact on vitality of ageing rural community and as a source to gain new knowledge on how to organize similar projects.