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November 6, 2019

Access to farming

Depending on who you talk to from the world of farming, Brexit either represents some kind of existential threat or an opportunity to put the industry on a completely new footing. But rarely in these debates do we hear the voices of the many (usually) young people who yearn to enter farming but are effectively barred for want of land that’s both accessible and affordable. Scottish Farm Land Trust established itself a few years ago with the aim of improving access to land for small-scale ecological farming. They’re currently crowdfunding for a development worker. Worth a small punt?

Scottish Farm Land Trust

Crowdfunder page

Help us reach our target of £10,000 which will allow us to employ a Development Worker to progress our innovative idea to increase access to land for agro-ecological farmers in Scotland!  To find out more, read on…

The Scottish Farm Land Trust aims to increase access to land for small-scale, ecological agriculture.

We’ll do this by acquiring land to be held in trust and rented fairly to new entrants and young people.

This will support a transition in Scottish agriculture towards:

Improving the environmental impact of agriculture by using organic methods

Making supply chains between farmers and local communities much shorter, meaning fresher more healthy food

Creating opportunities for people who currently struggle to access land for farming because of the high price of land and low supply of tenancies

The model has already been successful elsewhere, but hasn’t been tried in Scotland

We take great inspiration from successful models in other countries such as Terre de Liens in France, and the Ecological Land Coop in England & Wales.  We have seen a gap and huge need for this kind of organisation in Scotland.

In 2016/17 we commissioned a study which was conducted by Nourish with Big Lottery funding which goes into more detail about the need and impact that SFLT could have in Scotland.

We also carried out a survey in 2017 to find out how many people wanted to start farming in Scotland, and had over 1000 responses. 989 were looking to establish agroecological farm businesses in Scotland. 66% of these were under 40 years old. When asked about their motivations for farming, 85% said ‘looking after the environment’ and 79% said ‘help build/sustain rural communities’.  And the biggest barrier to starting farming came out as access to land.

The Scottish Land Commission published a research paper in 2018 on increasing access to farm land for new entrants. Written by the James Hutton Institute, and featured the SFLT as a potential “new model to increase land availability for new entrants.”


Crowdfunder page