I was prompted by an article in the most recent Ecologist magazine to find out more about these remnant mediaeval villages as a potential model for future farming as I see it. All the links from the article had the inevitable "coffee-table magazine' look about them- pretty flowers, wild animals you know the sort of thing- triumph of style over substance.
Eventually I came across this report commissioned by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales and published way back in 2001
It still has lovely pictures but more importantly it has diagrams, aerial views and descriptive text. The producers of the report have included the inevitable nod to "sensitive tourism" and "appropriate integration of agricultural technology", but then this was ten years ago before peak oil awareness and agricultural commodities were at very low prices. The need for "cash earners" was predicated upon the notion that cash is needed to provide the "mod-cons" that must be provided to discourage all the young people from deserting their communities. I believe that ten years later with agricultural prices rising, peak oil a historical fact a billion hungry people in the world and apparently a change of heart in the E.U. that has until recently sought to destroy the remnants of "peasant farming", this mode of living could suddenly become very attractive to those who formerly might have wished (and been encouraged by politicians) to abandon it for a "better life" in the cities.
I am particularly impressed by the combination of family autonomy in the gardens and arable lands and community co-operation in the use of the common pastures and woodlands. As you will see from the village layout the houses, yards and barns are all very similiar in size indicating a self-imposed egalitarianism in these communities (remember these people were free peasants- not vassals of some feudal lord). I am sure that hundreds of years fighting off Mongol and Saracen hordes built a great sense of community solidarity.
As you know, I pretty much sit firmly in the "doomer" camp when it comes to the notion of sudden vs. gradual collapse. I have been a long time looking for a model of what I see as a realistic and practical solution to post peak secure and sustainable living and have found on the one hand a lot of fluffy co-operative idealists (everything is everyones responsibility so no-one does much) and individualistic fortress building survivalists on the other. Here I find inspiration- but sadly I have little confidence in our ability to act in a suitably urgent fashion. Perhaps I need to take a crash-course in Romanian language?