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Dagmara BIENKOWSKA

Issue / Rural Life in Poland

Poland has a long and productive farming tradition and was once known as the breadbasket of Europe. Before the Second World War, rural life was widely valued and agricultural cooperatives were common. After the war, however, the Communist Party imposed a collective approach to farming. In 1989, after the dismantling of the Soviet bloc, Polish farmers regained control of their land and turned toward capitalism.

The transition from the collective system of production to the market economy proved very challenging for many. Their pursuit of autonomy as farmers was accompanied by major upheavals and economic restructuring. To prevent the countryside from being depopulated, many had to adapt and change how they thought about their work and their lifestyles. One solution was to focus on their rural values and rich agrarian traditions as a means of ensuring sustainable development.