Never before has Access to Land in Europe attracted so many different people to one venue to reflect on such a diversity of themes. The Access to Land Seminar and Conference hosted roughly 150 participants coming from 16 countries to share their experiences, knowledge and know-how. Our warmest thanks to all participants for being there and sharing the wealth of their knowledge and experience!
Here is a quick overview of the two day seminar. After 5 years of collaboration, the Access To Land Network has gained enough maturity to face problematic realities that may be painful to look at. Indeed small farms are disappearing at a very rapid pace in Europe, new entrants have great difficulties to enter into farming, access to land initiatives can be considered niche initiatives that grow slow compared to the pace at which farms disappear all over Europe and land becomes ever more a speculative good rather than a common good.
Yet, a particularly positive energy ran through all presentations, workshops, exchanges, posters and post-its and maybe even through some participants’ nightly dreams. What allowed for this combination of a rather clear understanding of an alarming reality and yet a positive attitude is that there is now a clear, shared awareness that initiatives supporting agroecology in Europe are not a temporary trend, but are an emerging phenomenon.
We witnessed that diverse and experienced people are willing to invest time, energy and money in the development of what are now still niche initiatives. Researchers, project managers, public officials, militants, volunteers, farmers, members of parliament, social entrepreneurs, investors, etc. all spoke and listened to each other knowing that the only way to ensure a bright future for their common goal is to learn from and support each other. This is what happened during two very full days and we would like to thank all participants for their inputs and energy.
The future of agroecology is indeed in the hands of (future) farmers and their communities and all those who support and facilitate their initiatives. Let’s consider this seminar as a start of a new phase in the development of agroecology in Europe and stay in touch to ensure that this is not just a wish.