Access To Land

Access to Land at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2019

by Ruth West

Participants to the roundtable included representatives from Nourish Scotland, Tamar Grow Local, the Biodynamic Land Trust, the Soil Association Land Trust, the Kindling Trust, the Ecological Land Co-op, and Shared Assets. We reviewed the UK draft country report, work from the Access to Land ‘Land Strategies’ collaboration and participants were asked to comment in particular on what they saw to be the real demand for land in the UK, the obstacles to getting it; and any innovative approaches of note.

As ever, the high cost of land and the viability of earning a living from growing vegetables on five acres or less provided good reasons for gloom, as did the news from Scotland that very few Scottish people wanted to become farmers - the so-called demand was from abroad.

We had though three farm owners approaching retirement wanting to find an appropriate legal means to make their land available to new entrants; and some hopeful news that the 10 acre ban on public money to subsidise farming would be lifted post-Brexit. But the real need is to conceive of land differently. The concept of land as a commons seems to be gaining traction (at least among lawyers and academics) and would be worth exploring further.

Most of the sessions and presentations from ORFC 2019 were recorded and can be found here.


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