Comment on page
Of landowners and retiring farmers
Of consumers and citizens
Of new generations
Lively markets, typical landscapes, specific food artisanship… The “identity” of an area is often connected, in part, to its agriculture. Raising awareness to defend the local natural and social richness is a legitimate and important area of action for local authorities. To promote access to land, they can in particular target private landowners. They can further encourage agroecology by raising local support from citizens.
Whether or not local governments own and act on public land (see section Acting as an owner...), working with private landowners is a complementary dimension to making more hectares available for agroecology and new farmers.
Whether or not they still have a direct link with agricultural activity, landowners may be sensitive to questions of long-term land stewardship, local food production, and sustainability, particularly if public actors themselves send clear messages and make strong decisions to protect agricultural spaces.
- Land for agriculture is a local priority/Building will not be authorised on private farmland
- Private landowners can rent/Sell responsibly (propose long term leases, decent prices, prioritise agroecological farmers and new entrants)
- Better use of farmland can help meet urgent challenges (ecology, food security)/Avoid renting farmland for non-farming activities
- Strategise (target large landowners first, target landowners in strategic areas…)
- Use mailings and other individual reach out techniques (to inform about your priorities, to hear about how farmland owners see the use of their lands…)
- Use group reach out (public meetings, contact landowners associations)
- Advertise facilitated land rental options (through land associations, land banks that provide lease facilitation…)
- Enforce/remind landowners of obligations to maintain/cultivate plots (if they exist in the law)
- Inform landowners about their rights and the different options they have to lease out land to farmers
Good idea! Target private landowning institutions
In some countries, churches, hospitals, universities and other institutions hold large tracts of land. These private owners can be targeted to lease out land for specific uses and users, which may yield a large impact for minimum engagement. Charitable institutions in particular can be sensitive to using land to provide public goods.
Local authorities can create a support base for agroecological farming and increase local food demand through educational campaigns for citizens. They can also generate heightened interest and scrutiny on land use and public support for bold land policies.
- Land is an issue that affects everybody/Land, like water and air, is essential to human survival
- Citizens can get informed about the land situation in their areas/Collectives of volunteers can self-organise to protect land
- Agroecological farmers and new entrants face specific challenges and need support from the local community
- Consumers can make a choice between industrial food systems vs. pesticide-free/organic agriculture (with ecological, health benefits)
- Strategise (ally with collectives for land preservation, target children, consumers…)
- Create broad-reach messages and use broad-reach mediums (posters, ads, flyers, social media…)
- Provide information about local retailers/food supply points, create a brand for locally produced and sustainable food
- Organise consumer/farmer interactions, e.g. volunteer work day on the farm
- Involve citizens in local dialogue about land: land watch, participative land mapping…
Relevant example: Associating land actions with awareness raising
“House for education and sustainable Food”
The town of Mouans-Sartoux developed a multifold land and food policy based on five pillars: grow food, process food, educate, research and transfer experience. The municipality invested in a public 6-hectare farm to supply vegetables for the local school. This farm has also become a vessel for the education programme of the town which includes actions such as:
- School teachers receive training organised by the municipality and each elementary school class spends a week per year on the municipal estate to learn about food, agriculture, and the environment.
- Visits of the municipal farm estate are organised for schools but also local authorities interested to learn from the Mouans-Sartoux model (between 2016 and 2019, about 200 French and 50 European authorities have benefited, to various degrees, from knowledge transfer organised by the municipality).
- Education programmes for sustainable eating are offered to a variety of publics (children, families, social beneficiaries), including cooking and nutrition workshops, the discovery of applied agronomy, educational gardens, and building awareness on food waste...
The educational work of Mouans-Sartoux is associated with strong messages for landowners. The town revised its zoning plan to earmark more land for agriculture. It also carries out facilitation actions to convince private landowners to lease out land to create more new local farms.