Lurzaindia was born out of the transformation of the Basque cooperative community-farmland trust (GFAM), founded in 1979, whose aim was to acquire land to maintain established farmers or allow the setting-up of young farmers coming from a non-agricultural background (i.e. newcomers). Thanks to an important citizen mobilisation, mainly in the Basque Country, the GFAM acquired 15 farms between 1979 and 2012.
In 2013, the GFAM became Lurzaindia, a company limited by shares (a société en commandite par action - SCA). This legal status enables us to act more quickly and efficiently, to collect savings from wider and diverse circles (incl. legal persons) and to clearly distinguish the power of decision from the power of money.
Lurzaindia raises money from citizens, with which it buys agricultural land, which it then leases to farmers on the long run. Thanks to a strong local network Lurzaindia manages to be informed of all the farmland sales taking place in the Basque Country. It takes action systematically, as soon as there is a risk that land be used for non-agricultural purposes, as soon as the acquisition price seems incongruous, or if the land is intended to feed land concentration. To intervene, it works with the SAFER, to whom it asks to preempt the purchase, with or without price revision.
The management is entrusted to representatives of four organisations whose work in favour of peasant agriculture is unanimously recognized:
➢ Euskal herriko Laborarien Batasuna (ELB), a farmers' union (member of Confédération paysanne),
➢ Euskal Herriko Laborantza Ganbara (EHLG), the alternative agricultural Chamber,
➢ Arrapitz, a federation of organisations supporting peasant agriculture, and
➢ InterAmap (consumers).
Since 2013, Lurzaindia has acquired two additional farms, and now has 17 farms, representing 310 hectares. Because it systematically intervenes with the SAFER, Lurzaindia also manages to moderate land prices in the Basque country. Since 2013, it prevented ten sales, for plots that were overvalued by 50% to 70%. Lurzaindia also works closely with a network of local organizations to support newcomers in their search for land.