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Fostering access to land for a new generation of agroecological farmers
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Context: Preserving land for local, sustainable agriculture is becoming a growing issue in many parts of Europe. Major results on farmland result from: decline of farmland, mostly due to the pressure of non agricultural uses (urban sprawl, infrastructure...) and increasing land concentration on large, intensive farms, while small-scale farming is disappearing. In parallel, the forthcoming retirement of a huge majority of farmers, and increasing difficulties to replace them, may mean further rural abandonment. Difficulties are even more important for newcomers (i.e. farmers with no previous agricultural history), which represent a significant part of the new generation entering farming. Land access has so far been largely left out of existing policies and extension services, as most land transfers were deemed to be spontaneously taking place within the family, or on the market. But existing mechanisms are now blocked and there needs to be a specific action to facilitate land access. Who we are Our partnership is composed of 9 organisations, from 7 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, and the UK). All are operational organisations, directly supporting or training farmers and engaging with citizens and other stakeholders. Goals and areas of work: This project will therefore have 3 main strand of work: 1- Strengthening practical knowledge to secure good land access * Identifying, highlighting and networking relevant national organisations * Understanding existing options for land tenure (purchase, collective purchase, tenancy, lease-purchase, etc.) * Developing specific knowledge and resources about several areas of work, including the role of local authorities in securing farmland or existing solutions for experimenting farming (e.g. incubators). 2- Building citizen support for land access * Building up knowledge and skills of volunteers/ local groups/ the public on European land issues and good practices, by developing an “educational kit” and on-line resources. * Engaging with other CSOs and other stakeholders (local authorities, ethical banks, experts). 3- Contributing to the evolution of the support system for farmers' access to land We will draw lessons learnt from some of our thematic and general work in order to develop policy recommendations and/ or engage with local authorities or other policy-makers on a local/ national or European stage. An output-based and dissemination-oriented project: Our project is centered on producing, disseminating and further enriching a series of intellectual outputs (both general and more technical) to a range of audiences. Indeed, while there is a wealth of experiences and questions raised through the practice of our organisations, these are not capitalised, systematised, analysed and shared enough. We therefore see it as essential to develop these intellectual resources and share them with our own constituencies and stakeholders so as to consolidate our own ways of doing, upscale our work, share lessons learnt and improve future practices and policies. Dissemination - based on networking, communication and outreach - is therefore an integral part of our project. The expected results and longer-term benefits are both tangible and intangible: Tangible results: - a range of resources providing general knowledge to diverse audiences - a range of resources providing technical knowledge to diverse audiences: - a range of lessons learnt from practices, to be shared with our stakeholders, in particular local authorities and other policy-makers. - the development of new tools (e.g. land tenure) and the setting-up of new projects/ initiatives (e.g. incubators) within or supported by our organisations Intangible results and longer-term impacts: - Consolidated practical skills, tools and approaches of participating organisations - Better-skilled and better-networked organisations supporting farmers/ prospective farmers, with higher access to existing resources on access to land - Better access to resources for farmers/ prospective farmers seeking guidance on access to land, and better access to support from a range of organisations and stakeholders - Empowered citizens, better able to mobilise and support farmers and other local stakeholders in securing land use for sustainable food production - Evolution of public authorities' policies and practices, to better include the need for generational renewal, preservation of local and sustainable agriculture and food production, and participatory approaches to land use and management

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