The northern Evangelic Church in Germany (Evangelische Kirche Nordeutschland - EKD) are putting more and more focus on their church land. In September 2016, the Loccumer Appeal (below) was published. These voluntary guidelines act as a tool for starting a dialogue at a parish level about how church land should be cared for and how sustainable stewardship - social, ecological and economical aspects - should be considered when leasing land to tenants.
Just two months later, in November 2016, after a ten-year fight by the peasant union (Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft) in central Germany, compulsory guidelines on the lease of church land were approved. Since November 2016, these guidelines have subsequently been rubber-stamped by the Synod of the Evangelic Church in central Germany (Evangelische Kirche Mitteldeutschland - EKM) and are now a mandatory part of the procedure for awarding new tenancies at parish level.
In contrast to the Loccumer Appeal on church land of the EKD, local decision makers are now obliged to take into account several aspects when leasing the land. Most importantly:
• an open and transparent award procedure
• tenant needs to have their principal residence in the area
• division of plots in favour of new entrants
• no industrial livestock farming (e.g. no killing of male chickens)
• no GM seed and plants
The Evangelic Church in Germany owns about 330,000 hectares of farmland, making it one of the country’s biggest landowners. The potential for facilitating new entrants on to land owned by the Church, with the urgent need for more climate friendly farming systems, could not only be used in Germany but all around Europe.
For more information contact: Hannes Gerlof, hannes.gerlof (@) agronauten.net