Surveying and decision-making tools

Get basic information on a plot

If you are organising a field survey or land watch action with volunteers, you can use the example below to create a basic land questionnaire for your surveyors to fill out.

Summary sheet: realising a basic diagnosis of a plot (source: Terre de Liens Île-de-France)

Summary sheet
Date of the meeting
Editor of the form (last name-first name-telephone)
Context of the land opportunity:
Background and description of the opportunity:
  • Is there a farmer currently farming this land? If so, how is it being farmed?
  • What are the owner's intentions (sell, lease, loan, keep as is...)
  • Is there a development project that threatens this opportunity?
Cadaster reference of the plots:
Section - n° of the plot - area (ha or acre) - zoning - owner
Immediate observations
  • Land configuration (divided, in one piece...):
  • State of the parcels (cultivated, fallow...)
  • Historical use of the parcels
  • Observations of the soil (texture, color, presence of stones, compaction, depth, slope, geology)
  • Access to the plots
  • Access to water for irrigation (groundwater, surface water)
  • Fences
  • Ecological infrastructure (hedges, trees, low walls)
  • Type (agricultural only or housing)
  • Number, square meters
  • Access to networks (water, electricity...)
  • State of the building/Important work done or to be planned
Plans and aerial photos
Socioeconomic environment
  • Demographics
  • Existence of CSA or short supply retailers in the area
  • Other: community groups, elected official likely to encourage the establishment of a farm, etc.
Natural or environmenal designation
  • Natura 2000, Park, Other?
Water zoning
  • Water catchment, innudation risk, other…
Other observations and analysis

Select projects to prioritise on public land

Establishing criteria to decide to whom to lease out public land to is a key step. Below is a table for inspiration. The clearer your goals, the easier it will be to adapt criteria and scoring.

Example of selection criteria to award public land (sourced and adapted from: Agrarwende konkrete. Wie wir die landnutzungglokal umgestalten. Concrete agricultural turnaround. How we transform land use locally.)

Organic farming (2 as a baseline, additional points for specifically regenerative techniques - permaculture, etc.)
2-4 points
Grazing livestock/extensive grassland
1 point
Nature conservation measures/agro-environmental measures
1-3 points
Nb of people paid a living wage (one per person, up to 3 or 4)
1-3 points
Young farmers/new entrants
1 point
Solidarity farming
1 point
Regional marketing and value creation
1 point
Educational opportunities and inclusion
1 point
Maximum number of points achievable: 12-15 points

Decide what to do with public land plots

Deciding on what use to make of the land identified through your surveys can be easier if you have developed clear tools, approved by elected officials and different departments within your local authority.
Below you will find an example of logic diagram developed by the city of Charleroi in Belgium to guide their decision-making processes regarding the use of specific plots. Charleroi’s issue is around the rehabilitation of polluted land (as the city’s economy has long relied on coal and steel industry). Once the plots have been inventoried, the logic diagram serves as a prioritising tool to decide on which parcels to act first.
Logic diagram developed by Charleroi to decide on use of identified public lands
Logic diagram developed by Charleroi to decide on use of public lands