Three generations after the collapse, most folks are illiterate and animistic. They gaze in wonder at the vast ruins of dead and decaying cities: “Who built these places? How did they do it? Where did they go? We hear stories, but truly, they must be gods.”
Food and energy remain scarce in 2090, but with reduced threat of armed conflict, communities are finally able to settle peacefully in agricultural lands around the world. With scavenged materials they build self-sufficient towns, villages, and hamlets near waterways and important crossroads.
Settlements are resource limited, and socially cautious, averaging 150 people – “Dunbar’s number”. For survival requires reliable families, dependable friends, and trustworthy neighbors. These bonds minimize conflict and allow consensus to guide group action.
With careful and intensive community management, healthy soils slowly return. Cover crop, rotation, fallow, and herd grazing practices are strictly followed. Old cultivars when found are highly prized, while new ones are developed and exchanged with other regional growers.
Forest and woodlot management is rigorously enforced and culturally defined and imprinted. The “woods” are a valued resource, heavily guarded and protected to insure future energy supplies, provide construction material, and create habitat for remaining biodiversity.
Communities are proud of their forests and woodlots, land and soil, seeds and crops. They are proud of their people who with determination and against all odds, survived the “dark passage” of war and brutal hardship. And they are proud of their strong children who will replace them in the home, shop, and field. And so they hold yearly spring rituals to encourage good growth, summer celebrations to bring good weather, and fall festivals to show thanks for a good harvest.
Farmers and craftsmen from these communities provide surplus grain and goods to hub cities – some with several thousand citizens – all dependent on the productivity of rural agriculture…
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