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Ecological Land Co-operative - OFFER CLOSED

Who benefits

The Ecological Land Co-operative seeks to widen access to land for sustainable use through the creation of affordable low-impact smallholdings. 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, we are helping to address this crisis.

Local community

We 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.

Our work centres on the development of ecological smallholdings, but the impacts of our work reach much wider than this. Our creation of ecological holdings also:

  • Demonstrates a model of collective ownership that can protect and enhance the land, based not only on ideas of conservation, but on producing a living and working countryside
  • Contributes to, and strengthens the growing community of individuals and organisations committed to fostering the skills, knowledge and solidarity to allow the land to sustain us as we head into unpredictable times.
  • Provides research and impetus, through our site monitoring, to strengthen campaigns for land reform.
  • Improves planning policy by providing evidence and examples of the multiple benefits of low impact, ecological land use which should be embraced and legislated for.

Protecting smallholders and regenerating local communities

The Ecological Land Co-operative is an important part of a movement that will heal our land, regenerate our rural communities, and create a safe, just food system. We are entirely committed to protecting our smallholdings for agricultural and ecological use, and as affordable in perpetuity


Case Study - Greenham Reach

Our Co-operative’s first project is a cluster of three affordable smallholdings for new entrants to ecological agriculture. It is in the parish of Holcombe Rogus, Mid Devon. We have developed our 22 acre greenfield site for three farm businesses including constructing a barn, track and three temporary residential agricultural workers’ dwellings, each tied to an agricultural holding of between 5.5 and 8.5 acres.

We offered the smallholdings on long-term tenure to three ecological food and herb producers, subject to compliance with a rigorous whole-site management plan. Although each smallholding operates as a separate business, the Co-operative has overall responsibility for compliance with the terms of both the management plan and the planning conditions, and we work with the smallholders to ensure that this is achieved.

“We have been trying to do this for years, but there are a lot of hurdles. Thanks to the ELC’s help in removing and negotiating some of these, we are now here doing it." Ruth O’Brien, Greenham Reach Smallholder

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