Facilitating access to land for agroecological projects and managing farm land as a common good.
– NGO launched in 2011 & cooperative company launched in 2012
– 800 shareholders with a capital of 700.00 €
– More than a thousand supporters of the NGO
– 3 finalised ownership projects, 4 in progress involving 20 farmers in total
– 2 finalised stewardship projects, 1 in progress and several in the preparatory phase involving 10 farmers in total
– What’s new? TupperTerre, a meeting platform for farmers and landowners
– What’s in the pipeline? A brand new foundation that will support the other Terre-en-vue branches.
Terre-en-vue emerged from a national but predominantly French-speaking network supporting peasant agriculture in Belgium (The Network for the Defence of Peasant Agriculture). In 2011, this network set access to land and seed sovereignty as its priorities and assigned a working group the task of setting up an initiative that would offer a structural solution to new and existing farms struggling with access to land. After visiting several EU countries and analysing, in particular, the work of Terre de Liens, Regionalwert AG and later on Xarxa, a proposal was submitted to a forum of more than 70 citizens, of which almost half were farmers. After some changes, they accepted the proposal. A social movement arose and was an NGO was formed in 2011.
Our main aim is to restore the commons as a way of managing farm land. This implies a close collaboration between citizens, public bodies and farmers.
The first task of the NGO was to set up a cooperative company. This was done in march 2012. The NGO allows funding from public bodies (through subsidies and other forms of participation), the cooperative company facilitates citizen shareholding, and the yet to be created foundation is the entry point to donors. The NGO also allows us to structure the work force of several employees and volunteers who are offered training to allow them to be Terre-en-vue ambassadors. Even though these legal structures are organised in a regional way, we give autonomy to the local groups of shareholders who are in direct contact with the farms they support. They are organised in so-called ’local groups”, which do not have a particular legal status.
The commons are at the heart of all the activities of Terre-en-vue. Our aim is to remove land from the free market and reconsider its role in feeding the population, as a public good As we learned from ’The Tragedy of the Commons’ there must be clear rules as to how land is used. We establish these rules through a ongoing dialogue between farmers, citizens and public institutions.
Our core business is access to land. Since the beginning of Terre-en-vue we have looked for the right partners who can facilitate other access issues, such as access to the market, know-how and capital. Our mission is to help all farmers with professional, sustainable farming projects that aim to nourish the local population while respecting the principles of organic agriculture on human scale farms. We do this by supporting new entrant farmers, existing farmers who need more land in order to diversify or gain more autonomy, and farmers who are looking for successors.
To citizens, we offer training courses to better grasp the complexity of farming, the food system, and access to land. This gives them enough background to talk to other citizens who wish to better understand before investing in our projects. We also offer them communication tools such as folders, posters, banners, flags and videos.
Public and private actors are given advice on how to develop their properties and owners and farmers are put into contact so that they can collaborate. Our brand new initiative, TupperTerre, aims at bringing together land owners and future farmers. In these cases Terre-en-vue acts as a go-between with a strong legal and human approach. The Terre-en-vue team also trains itself in sociocratic processes and collective intelligence in order to create new modes of governance.
Some of the farms we support:
– Claude and Kathia Marion’s Farm (Rochefort):
This farm, a 30 hectare organic meat producing farm breeding Blonde Aquitaine cattle, is the first farm for which we acquired land. A speculative investor was about to buy part of the land rented by the farmers. A local group gathered the money necessary to buy the land and keep it in the farmers’ use. 10 hectares has been bought.
– Louis Larock’s Farm (Liege):
This farm is a 30 ha collective biodynamic mixed farm. Land is owned partly by the main farmer, as well as by family members and external owners. Terre-en-vue is coming in to enable the main farmer to progressively withdraw from the farm ownership, while transferring the farm to a new generation.
– Renaud Farm (Bourdon):
This cattle farm lost 50 ha in the past through expropriation. Terre-en-vue has bought 9 ha of land from a neighbouring retiring organic farmer. This has allowed the son of the Renaud Farm to take over the farm and start restoring it to the state it was before the expropriation.
– Yannick & Yannick
An experienced farmer called Yannick has been there since the beginnings of Terre-en-vue. While looking for land and a collaborator to who he could transmit his knowledge, Yannick found a young farmer called Yannick and Terre-en-vue found public land. A proposal will be submitted to the public authorities and we are hopeful that the project will be accepted. We also hope to launch a farm test space on this land. If this project succeeds it will have all the ingredients of The Commons.
– La Bergerie D’Acremont
This is a sheep farm in Bertrix. The farm is know for its excellent cheese that even has a worldwide reputation. The farm had the opportunity to buy land from a neighbour. A price was settled and then Terre-en-vue was called in to help buy 7 hectares. This will allow the farm to better reach its sustainability goals by offering more grazing land to its cattle.
– Graux Estate (Tournai):
This is a private property where Terre-en-vue helps the owner to develop an agroecological project on 115 ha. So far a young farmer couple has settled next to the farm where they have developed a goat farm and have prepared for vegetable growing as well. During 2015 a call for projects will be launched to attract new farmers.
– Montagne Saint Pierre (Visé):
This is a 11 ha field owned by a public institution responsible for nature and forest management. Terre-en-vue advised the public institution for designing a project and finding 4 farmers who are now beginning to cooperate in farming the land. The farmers are now collaborating and 2 of them who where not organic famers are now converting to organic farming.
Terre-en-vue started in 2012 and set itself a clear goal for the kick-off phase: creating exemplary projects. This phase ended in 2014, with the development of a range of diverse projects: Ownership and stewardship projects; collaborations with private as well as public actors; dairy and meat farms, vegetable farms and fruit orchards; organic as well as biodynamic farms; and individual and collective farms. During this period, many resources such as legal contracts, advisory services, and communication tools, were developed.
We are now at the start of a new period where we wish to scale up Terre-en-vue. We will do so by improving and formalising our tools and procedures and testing them in four new projects with a rather high level of complexity. By the middle of 2016, we will be able to evaluate our efforts.
Terre-en-vue ASBL & SCRL FS
37, Chaussée de Wavre