Finding other public owners to consolidate your action on public land, whether by sharing knowledge, drawing inspiration, or pooling means of action, is key. Organisations with goals to promote access to land for agroecology and general renewal also have valuable expertise and support to offer.

Synergies with public owners

To identify other local authorities, public domain holders, or charitable institutions (e.g. churches), consider asking long-standing residents or councillors, searching databases by names of institutions (‘domain of…’) or asking land registry institutions and/or land software providers for support in searching the database. Once plots have been identified you will have a better idea of the possible synergies:

  • exchanging parcels to consolidate some farm units;

  • deciding to pool the management of land;

  • creating an association with public and private owners to create viable farming areas;

  • joining forces to create infrastructure or better road access to the lands;

  • Etc.

--> Learn about working with private owners in the “Acting as a facilitator” section.

Synergies with land organisations

In your area, there may be active small farmers unions, alternative agriculture organisations or ethical land trusts. You can partner up with these actors to support your action, in particular to:

  • identify/map public land, carrying out diagnoses on land features and potential;

  • co-reflect on a strategy for public land, and elaborate scenarios of use;

  • accompany a tender process (defining criteria, disseminating the call to candidates, evaluating proposals for sustainability and viability);

  • provide juridical and practical advice on tenancy contracts (if working with organisations that have experience in leasing out land to agroecological farmers);

  • create links with other competent actors, facilitate dialogue with neighbours and third parties…

Some local authorities also prefer to externalise the responsibility of acting as landowners. Community land trusts in some countries can sometimes perform land management duties for third parties. For instance, in the outskirts of Bruxelles (Neerpede neighbourhood), the municipality of Anderlecht has decided to make 2 ha of agricultural land available to the Terre-en-Vue land cooperative for a long period of time on the basis of a 27-year emphyteutic lease. The lease has transferred full enjoyment of the property and all the rights attached to the ownership of the property to the cooperative, except being the owner from a patrimonial point of view. In turn, Terre-en-vue, who has experience in managing farms, leased the land available to two market gardeners who grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, and medicinal and aromatic plants.

In France, Terre de Liens has experimented with the following schemes (among others) to acquire or manage land with local authorities:

  • The local authority secures a public subsidy to buy an agricultural property and rehabilitate it for a specific farming project. Once the work is done, the authority sells it back to Terre de Liens at the purchase and construction price minus the amount of the subsidy obtained.

  • The local authority makes a targeted donation to the Terre de Liens foundation dedicated to investing in a specific farm on its territory.

  • The local authority purchases part of the property (e.g. the building) and Terre de Liens purchases the other (generally, the land). Management of the building is then attributed to Terre de Liens for a very long time through an emphyteutic lease to keep the farm as a single unit. The opposite could also be true where Terre de Liens transfers management of the land to the authority through an emphyteutic lease (under specific conditions to ensure it is farmed organically and sustainably).

Last updated