Ecological Land Co-operative

What they do

The Ecological Land Co-operative develops affordable, low impact, smallholdings for ecological agriculture. The high costs of land and rural housing make it near impossible for new entrants to farming to establish a farm business. By providing affordable and secure smallholdings, they are helping to address this crisis. Determined to turn good ideas into reality, to have a positive influence and to give hope to those choosing to live sustainably, they have designed a model for creating affordable, ecological smallholdings, have successfully developed their first cluster of farms in north Devon, and begun work on their second site in East Sussex. They show that small-scale ecological farming can work in today’s economy. Sustainably managed smallholdings provide low-impact livelihoods, regenerate marginal land and produce good food for local communities, increasing sustainability and resilience, and improving ecology and biodiversity for future generations.

The project

Based on the success of our first cluster of small farms at Greenham Reach, Devon, we made a plan to create around 22 new ecological smallholdings between 2015 and 2020. Our successful share offer in 2015 allowed us to purchase and begin developing the next cluster of smallholdings at Arlington, East Sussex. This share offer relates to funding for the development of two more clusters of small farms which we want to deliver over the next two to three years, bringing the total to four sites with 12 smallholdings. We are looking to raise £340,000 to carry out this work.

About ELC

The Ecological Land Co-operative was set up to address the lack of smallholding sites for affordable  ecological land-based livelihoods in England. There is an enormous disconnect between the combined cost of land and rural housing, and the income that is usually derived from sustainable rural livelihoods.

Our Co-operative purchases agricultural land with a view to subdividing it into a number of ecologically managed residential smallholdings. Drawing on the advice of organic horticulturalists and farmers, ecologists, soil experts, transport advisors, planners, prospective customers, the local community, and those with local knowledge, we then establish a new smallholding cluster, with a binding ecological management plan in perpetuity.

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