Preserving land for local, agroecological farming is a growing issue in many parts of Europe. While the amount of agricultural land is declining, as a result of urban and infrastructure development, competition for land use is ever growing between farmers food production and other uses like timber, biofuels or fibres. As a result, farmland is ever more concentrated on large, intensive farms while small farms are disappearing.
This is despite the fact that small farms are the cornerstone of European food security and key to maintaining a living countryside. At the same time, the retirement of an aging population of farmers, and increasing difficulties finding new entrants to replace them, may result in further abandonment of rural areas.
The European Network on Access to Land brings together grassroots organizations from across Europe to share experiences and promote the significance of access to land for agroecological transition and generational renewal. Established in 2012, it functions as an informal network of about 15 organisations from Western and Eastern EU countries.
Today, the network is launching a dedicated website on the cause of Access to Land for agroecological farming. If you head over www.accesstoland.eu you will find a brand new resource center, packed with useful information on land related issues, national country contexts, useful reports and case studies. The website also features several interactive maps showcasing good practices and a directory of organizations working on access to land all over the EU.
And this is just the beginning. The network plans to continuously update the website with access to land related information, complete the directory of key organizations and engage with policy makers and grassroots initiatives.
Are you also active at a regional or national level in promoting and securing access to land for agroecological farmers? Or are you a young agroecological food producer looking for land? If you are interested in connecting with the Access to Land Network, there are several ways of getting involved with them, from signing up to the newsletter to interacting through social media using the #accesstoland hashtag. Of course, there is also the chance to use the good old ways like email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or connect with individual members of the network which are closer to you.
Oh, and the guys really mean business! Nine of the network members also joined forces in an Erasmus+ partnership for Fostering Access to land (2014-7) and the accesstoland.eu website will definitely mirror all the great work and outcomes which will be generated for the continuance of EU peasantry and agroecological food production. Take a look.