Access To Land

La Verde’s workers co-op

La Verde workers’ cooperative began with a struggle for land in the late 1980s in the village of Villamartin, province of Cadiz. Several families of day labourers sought to use abandoned land along the river Guadalete to work vegetable gardens for self-consumption. During a general assembly, SOC’s local committee decided to set up a workers’ cooperative.

Initially, the founding members of the cooperatives worked the land during their free time. As production increased, they were able to sell some of the produce, and start paying members. At first, the cooperative paid only one person; after a few years, it successfully petitioned for more land, and hired four more people. Women were the last ones to become paid workers. The cooperative then stabilized with eight associate workers, several of whom have no other family income.

From the start, all production was communal and organic, by necessity as well as by conviction . The co-op currently rents 14 hectares, including 7ha for vegetables, 3ha for fruit trees, 2ha for pasture and 1ha for seed reproduction. It mostly produces vegetables and seeds (30 different crops and many different varieties for each crop), as well as fruits, chicken and eggs. It raises sheep and cows. It has also started an on-farm bakery. Out of conviction, but also in their search for autonomy and to reduce production costs, co-op members have revived old practices and know-how. They have progressively acquired skills in organic farming, through training and experience-sharing. Their wish to preserve and develop traditional crop varieties, to promote natural selection and hybridisation, led to the creation of a seed bank.

To go further: read our full case study on workers’ cooperatives experiences in Andalusia.

Scope of the initiative:: Single farm or site ; Regional ; National ; Local ; International

Types of activities: Land stewardship ; Support for farmers ; Policy/ advocacy ; Ethical finance ; Land acquisition/ ownership ; Public education ; Farming ; Awareness raising ; New entrants

Types of agriculture: CSA, AMAP, consumers co-operative ; Local supply chains ; Organic ; Peasant ; Biodynamic

Types of agricultural activities: Agriculture (plants) ; Mixed farming ; Breeding (animals)

Types of landowners: Other Land Trusts ; Ethical companies ; Other non-profit organisations ; Churches ; Public owners ; Private owners ; Commons ; Other ; Community Farm Land Trusts

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