by the Ecological Land Cooperative
The Ecological Land Cooperative’s short publication, ‘Small Farm Profits’, demonstrates that small farms are successful.
‘Small Farm Profits’, a short booklet made up of small farm case studies, demonstrates that small-scale, ecological farms in the UK can, and do, make a profit.
In light of the proposed Agriculture Bill which recommends supporting public goods and improving agricultural activity, it is essential that new policies support small farms which produce healthy food. These kinds of farms are exactly what this booklet showcases.
Small Farm Profits provides proof that small-scale doesn’t mean uncompetitive and that ecological agriculture can create economically viable, highly productive and sustainable enterprises on small acreages.
The proposed Agriculture Bill, which will enforce UK policy post-Brexit, does not refer to small-scale, ecological farming or local food. This needs to change.
Oli Rodker, Executive Director of ELC, says: “Our booklet shows what can be done on small acreages even in today’s challenging economic climate. The new Agriculture Bill is a chance to put policy behind Michael Gove’s words and provide the financial and technical support to ensure we see thousands more of these types of businesses in the coming years.”
Agroecological Small Farms should be supported because:
· They produce fresh, local & healthy food free from pesticides and other chemicals
· They have high employment figures per land area
· More farmers means more innovation
· Of their environmental stewardship: small farms promote biodiversity, good soil care and low carbon emissions.
· They can adapt more easily to local conditions.
· Of their positive Social Impact: focused on local economies and local people, small farms provide opportunities for community engagement
· They make profitable businesses!
The Ecological Land Cooperative works to create new opportunities for small ecological farms. For small farms to remain competitive and viable in today’s markets they need to be long-lasting and sustainable — financially as well as ecologically. Small Farm Profits illustrates that such farms are financially sound and that ecological and economic objectives can sit side by side productively.
The Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) is a social enterprise, co-operative in structure, established to address the lack of affordable sites for ecological land-based livelihoods in England and Wales. Set up in 2009, the ELC purchases land, obtains planning permission, and installs the infrastructure to create clusters of three or more affordable smallholdings for future farmers. The ELC’s first project, Greenham Reach, in mid-Devon, was granted permanent planning permission in 2018 after five years temporary permission. Home to three thriving smallholdings, each operating as independent businesses but working co-operatively to manage the whole site. Greenham Reach is a living example of ecologically managed land providing truly sustainable land-based livelihoods. The ELC’s second site in Arlington, East Sussex has secured temporary planning permission and is the process of recruiting tenants to join the cooperative and start farming.
The ELC has also purchased land on the Gower in Wales and in Sparkford, South Somerset, both have planning applications in process.