Help promote ecological farming in the UK

by Ecological Land Co-Operative
Rewards

About the project

Goals

Tipping Point £5,600
Fully grown! £11,000
£5,610
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Conventional farm production and food transport have high costs to the environment and human health. A switch to ecological food production supplying as locally as possible will have positive implications for climate change, soil and water quality, biodiversity, air pollution, and well-being.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
In a study from the University of Essex and City University, the external environmental costs of farm production in the UK were calculated to be £1.51 billion a year. The study found that the external environmental costs of transporting the goods were a further £2.35 billion a year. The authors found that a switch to organic farming supplying a local market could reduce these costs by a massive 84% to £614 million. The growth in farm size and mechanisation of agricultural production has resulted in fewer agricultural workers and with this a loss in employment and services in rural areas. Farm labour in the UK declined by 30% between 1990 and 2007 (Eurostat data).
What is your solution?
Small-scale ecological farming maximises yields, protects the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing fossil fuel use. These projects have a crucial role to play in ensuring food and energy security. They provide employment, access to local, sustainable food and crafts and educational opportunities for urban visitors, helping to maintain rural skills and to improve ecological literacy. These small scale enterprises allow residents to be rooted in their rural locality, helping maintain and regenerate rural communities and the services upon which they depend such as local schools and shops. Yet in England and Wales there is a huge shortage of affordable residential small-holdings for small-scale producers wishing to practice ecological agriculture. The Ecological Land Co-operative leases land to people with the skills to manage it ecologically who would otherwise be unable to afford do so.
How will you deliver this?
The project for which we are seeking funding has emerged directly from our work over the last three years and indirectly through the contact this work provides with others in the field of sustainable agriculture in the UK. It will provide invaluable information about ecological agriculture which will help the Cooperative, and supporters and practitioners of ecological agriculture, to advance the growth of this sector.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Invite friends and family to visit our Buzzbnk project page at buzzbnk.org
  • 5 minutes
    Sign our standard letter of support
  • 15 minutes
    Read about our work at www.ecologicalland.coop
  • 30 minutes
    Write a letter of support for our work (more information would be supplied)
  • A few hours
    Advertise and market our project and our crowd-funding offer!
  • Regular time commitment
    Volunteer at the Co-op (more information would be supplied)

Share your comments

Opinions and comments mentioned on the Buzzbnk website are the personal views of individual contributors. Buzzbnk takes no responsibility for these views. However if you find something that you think does not meet our guidelines you can report it to hello@buzzbnk.org.
Zoe Wangler 15 September 2011 - 11:13

Have you had a look at our research into the viability of smallholding in the UK? It looks at the finances of 8 case study farms and can be downloaded for free from here: http://www.ecologicalland.coop/sites/ecologicalland.coop/files/Small_is_Successful.pdf

Woodsie 04 July 2011 - 14:19

I'm hoping to help set-up a small eco-settlement in the East Midlands.

Releasing land is a real issue... Localism Bill seems to have many edges to it, and it's a concern that we will not have the power needed to overturn planning decisions and force land investment banks to either sell their land or lease it long term for food production.

Red Kite 08 March 2011 - 12:48

This needs to be a big movement that must be mainstreamed. I have just suggested that RELU look at doing some research on new models based on small farms. Otherwise it is business as usual, and access to land is going to get more difficult.The estate where I live has just been bought by a financier and all is going into contract farming, but there are loads of paddocks around the village which could be producing food and providing jobs, as well as involving the community. There is also massive disjunction between people and the land - no wonder when they have no involvement in it. I would like to get a community farm set up where I live, if only local landowners would give up their land (pretty unlikely - apart from anything else you have to get beyond their grabbing land agents first).

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Our mission is to provide affordable opportunities for ecological land-based businesses in the UK. We support rural regeneration by developing farming, forestry and other rural enterprises which are viable, small-scale and ecologically beneficial. In the first 5 years we are focusing on the creation of affordable ecological small-holdings.

Geographical coverage

Within UK

Our track record

Since 2007 we have built up a database of and given advice to dozens of smallholders and supporters of ecological land stewardship, purchased our first site in Mid Devon and begun negotiations for our second site. We have successfully lobbied for policy changes supportive of ecological land stewardship and completed our first report into financially successful ecological enterprises on 10 acres or less.

Who do we help?

The beneficiaries of the project are primarily those that successfully apply for an affordable small-holding. Other beneficiaries include the local community who benefit from an increase in local sustainable food, economic and other activity in their area, and the improved management of their natural environment. The wider community also benefit from increased ecological food production, access to rural business as educational and recreational opportunities and again from improved management of the rural environment. At the broadest level we aim to open up access to land for people of average or low income, and to strengthen cultural and economic links between people and nature.

How do we deliver this?

The Co-operative’s primary product is affordable residential small-holdings for ecological agriculture. We also support smallholders and carry out research which supports our policy development work, creating the planning and policy framework capable of delivering ecological smallholdings.

Awards And Recognitions

Short-listed for Unltd Level 2 Award (2010)