This from the Scottish Farm Land Trust – a community benefit society established in 2015 to increase access to land for agroecological farmers in Scotland which has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £10,000 by the end of November – and is more than halfway there, with matchfunding from grantfunders promised:
“We are a group of farmers, landseekers and environmentalists motivated to support more people to start farming. Access to land in Scotland is particularly difficult due to the high level of concentrated land ownership: 8% of landowners owning 77% of farmland, and 40% owning 0.8% of the land. There has also been a significant decline in agricultural tenancies over the past century despite attempts to change this trend through legislation.
In 2017 we carried out a survey of people who might want to start farming agroecologically in Scotland. Over 1000 people responded, with 989 people wanting to start farming. Significantly access to land was the biggest barrier to starting farming, with 71% of people saying this was their primary barrier.
Our vision is for a food system where farms are connected to their communities and produce nutritious food in a way that makes a positive contribution to local communities and the natural environment. We want to see our farming system thrive, with a greater diversity of farmers and business models. Improving access to land and widening participation in the ownership of land is essential for this to happen. We will achieve this primarily through acquiring farmland to rent out to agroecological farmers on a long-term basis, and also working with other organisations to support a network of agroecological farmers across Scotland and influence policy changes.
We’re inspired by successful models such as Terre de Liens in France and the Ecological Land Cooperative in England and Wales. TdL has set an impressive example. Since it was established just over 15 years ago, it has acquired 177 farms covering 4,250 hectares of land, providing tenancies for 376 active agroecological farmers, and raised €65million in public shares offered at a 0% interest rate, with social and environmental benefit and citizen engagement being the primary motivations for investors.
Support SFLT today by donating to our crowdfunding campaign to raise £10,000 by the 30th November. All donations will be doubled by match funding from grant funders, making your donation go further.”