In 2019, the Access to Land Network benefited from an external evaluation offered by the Fondation de France, which has supported the Network since its beginning. This external evaluation focused on all aspects of the Network’s activities since 2010. It aimed in particular to assess its progress, the relevance of its actions and methods and its impacts.
A first success of this evaluation was the high level and quality of answers gathered from our members, partners and institutional representatives. The conclusions of this evaluation are extremely positive and rich for the Access to Land Network. They stress in particular that:
the Network constitutes a fluid and operational workspace which is considered very adequate by its members and constitutes for them a great opportunity to learn from practical experiences and engage in experience-sharing.
the Network illustrates a wide range of practices of active renewal vs. passive renewal of agricultural generations, from upstream to downstream of the entry into farming: community financing of land acquisition, new forms of land tenancy and ownership, farm incubators, direct community-farmers relations, etc.
the Network constitutes at the same time a community of practices (sharing and recording practical experiences), a resource center and a space for policy alliances and advocacy with regard to EU policy developments on land.
the impact of the Network on political change has been rather diffuse and indirect, albeit significant on specific aspects (e.g. petition to the European Parliament gathering a broad support, advocacy work in Belgium, Germany or France, etc.). This lack of impacts mostly reflects the lack of institutionnal framework and space to adequately debate land issues at EU level.
According to the evaluator, the Access to Land Network "has become an essential center of expertise on questions of access to agricultural land in Europe" and supports local and national innovations around farmland preservation, entry into farming and peasant agroecology.
In its recommendations, the external evaluation encourages the Network to now enter in a consolidation phase. On the internal side, it emphasises the needs to strengthen the social dynamics and membership of the Network, to develop long-term strategic planning, to raise its profile through better communication (storytelling, media and social media work…), and to better monitor and communicate the social and environmental impacts of the farms supported by the Network .
In terms of external objectives, the evaluation recommends to better position the Network as a support service for innovative projects around entry into farming and peasant agroecology in Europe, including through better institutional recognition of the contribution and role of our members and partners. It also encourages the Network to build collaborations with research institutes to analyse land markets in Europe as well as to develop evidence-based analysis of the role of access to land in renewing farmers’ generation (levers and success factors). It also highlights the potential of developing national coalitions or platforms around access to land, of developing our collaborations with local authorities, and of better articulating EU-level and national level advocacy on land policies.
The executive summary of the evaluation is available in English and French. Download it here.