We recently caught up with the Irish Regenerative Land Trust (IRLT) to learn more about their work, what is inspiring them, and their upcoming activities.
What is the IRLT? What is its mission?
The Irish Regenerative Land Trust’s vision is a community-led and cooperative approach to the climate crisis by renewing our connection to the land.
Our mission is to secure land-as-commons via the use of adaptable open leases to new entrants engaging in social and regenerative approaches such as the development of agroecology, woodland management, conservation, regeneration of habitats and biodiversity, together with social service, renewable energy, and housing projects.
When was it formally established?
Several strands grew together to form our initiative. Meetings began in November 2017 around the idea of an Land Trust to decommodify land, develop food security, and achieve secure tenure and land access.
This matured through events held in Maynooth University with a food sovereignty focus in 2017-19, where smallholder farmers and members of Community Supported Agriculture groups in Dublin and Kildare expressed deep concern about the need for land with security of tenure on which food for local consumption could be grown. Others shared this interest but also with a focus on accessing land to create housing cooperatives, which is a pressing issue amidst Ireland’s housing crisis.
Our group is now examining the appropriate legal form to achieve our mission and suit the needs of our members.
Who are its members?
We are composed of farmers, food producers, activists, environmentalists, and supportive members of the wider general public.
Our group has an active Facebook group attracting academics, farmers, activists, and enthusiasts with wide ranging interests in a regenerative approach.
Who are the main farmers?
The main farmers come from biological, regenerative, agroecological, and organic farming approaches. We have interest from older farmers, younger entrants and ecologically oriented community groups brought together around the need for a regenerative approach.
How did you hear about the Access to Land Network?
We made contact with the Access to Land Network through Dr. Titus Bahner, one of the funders of Kulturland. We first met him during a European Gathering in Greece and he later came to deliver a 2-day workshop on the Kulturland model of community investment in land for agroecology in March 2018.
What are your plans for the coming year?
We will be deciding on our final legal form and trialing lease scenarios in live settings, beginning with organic farmer and board member PJ Dooley, who has kindly offered land for the surveying and conveyance pilot.
We intend to host a national event on the topic of Access to Land as part of their Erasmus+ funded Learning Platform coordinated by Terre de Liens. The event will offer an opportunity to broaden the narrative, engaging members of nascent grassroots movements in the Irish agricultural and land use sectors, while bringing in key agencies from the broader political, social, ecological, and economic sectors.
In the meantime, here in Ireland, our members will be catching up with each other at the key national events on the agroecology and food sovereignty circuit.
For more information, or to get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org