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About this Project

"Governments and international agencies urgently need to boost ecological farming techniques to increase food production and save the climate,” said UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter.

This project will produce a publication and web resource which will aid the Co-operative and others in understanding and promoting ecological agriculture within the UK. We will:

• Establish the current state of ecological farming in the UK, providing a single point of information on who is doing what and where, what acreages, to what markets, etc.
• Establish the current state of research and development in ecological agriculture, providing an overview of what is being assessed, by whom and the depth / extent of the study.
• Provide a database of colleges and training providers in the sector, including apprenticeship schemes

• We will use this research to:
- Strengthen our campaign work
- Identify opportunities for collaboration in research and development
- Support existing and aspiring ecological farmers in accessing training and research
- Support researchers in accessing farmers for field research and extension

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!
A regular time commitment –
Volunteer at the Co-op (more information would be supplied)

Read More

Geographical coverage
Within UK
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.

About Us

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.
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 Accreditations
Short-listed for Unltd Level 2 Award (2010)
Project Contact Details
Zoe Wangler
Organisation Details
Ecological Land Co-Operative
The Hub 5 Torrens Street
London, Greater London

07963 955 338

Industrial and Provident Society #IP030770

Share Your Comments

Zoe Wangler
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

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
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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Back This Venture
Become part of the Ecological Land Cooperative and get regular news and updates
16 Backers Purchased 16 Units
News and updates plus an e-version of the full final report
12 Backers Purchased 12 Units
Even better, the above plus a limited edition printed report sent directly to your door
12 Backers Purchased 12 Units
All the above plus an invitation to the report launch event
10 Backers Purchased 11 Units
Go Getter
The report and event, plus an interactive seminar on ecological UK land practices led by Dr Larch Maxey of ELC; get the chance to voice your opinion
4 Backers Purchased 5 Units
Heavy Hitter
All the above plus a weekend touring and staying at low impact ecological farms in the UK
2 Backers Purchased 2 Units
World Changer
A generous donation to the project.
1 Backer Purchased 1 Units

Sow the seeds
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Fully grown!
Complete a comprehensive review of ecological farming practices in the UK
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Project Supporters
Vicky Wyer
Graeme Dow
Bonnie Hewson