The mission of the Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC) is the creation of residential smallholdings aimed at new entrants to horticulture and mixed farming, protected for ecological agricultural use in perpetuity. A dream for many, but one for which the barriers are high. Leading a land-based livelihood can be a tough path, which we know all too well about.
Our work and the mission of the ELC address a range of deep-rooted social and environmental challenges. Like Kindling, the approach of the ELC focuses on removing barriers to land access, and their 2017 Share Offer is seeking to raise funds for the development of two new clusters of small farms.
How we farm says a lot about ourselves and the values we hold as a society. The growing of crops and rearing of animals on an industrial scale leads to biodiversity loss, carbon emissions and pollution; it leads to the inhumane treatment of animals, antibiotic resistance and the degradation our soils (on which 95% of our food is dependent).
In contrast, ecologically based, stewardship-minded small-scale farms nurture creativity and innovation. They are hubs for re-ruralisation, helping create a range benefits to communities (employment, rural skills, access to local sustainable food) and ecosystems (reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protecting biodiversity). And it is the work of people like us and ELC to create new starter farms, protected for farming, for affordability, and for sustainability.
So we're hugely excited to share news of ELC's planned expansions. The ELC model is to create small clusters of smallholdings. This helps keeps costs down through the provision of shared infrastructure, shared planning applications and site monitoring. Based on the success of their site at Greenham Reach in Devon, the ELC raised further funds to purchase and begin the development of a second cluster of smallholdings in Arlington, East Sussex. And now they’re looking for support with the creation of two more clusters of small farms.
Their 2017 share offer is seeking to raise between £120,000 and £340,000 in withdrawable Community Shares to raise funding for the development of two more clusters of small farms. This is a form of financing that Kindling also plans to utilise a bit further down the line for our own farm here in the NorthWest (watch this space for news on that!). Community Shares allow people to support the enterprises that matter to them, by helping to finance their development. It’s a simple, direct and engaging way of supporting businesses that are building the kind of economy you want to see.
ELC are working with ethical investment platform Ethex, and opened their share offer on the 3rd of April. It offers investors a 3% in interest on share capital annually.
"The work of the ELC would not be possible without investment from its members. Not just financially, but in backing the belief that small-scale ecological agriculture is important and necessary. A belief that how we farm, manage the land, and ultimately feed ourselves can provide answers to some of today’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems". Ecological Land Co-operative
If that sounds like sense to you, and you'd like to find out more about investing, visit: http://ethex.org.uk/ecologicalland