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Access to Land

Nourish is currently working with the Scottish Farm Land Trust (SFLT), which is a new organisation that aims to own land in trust to create secure and affordable opportunities for young farmers and new entrants into farming, to help them establish and sustain small ecological farms.

 

Why is this needed?

  • Access to land is a significant barrier for those wanting to farm in Scotland. In the last 1o years, the average price of prime agricultural land has tripled, from £3000 in 2006 to over £9,000 in 2016, making it extremely difficult to start a viable farm business.
  • The average age of a farmer is 58, with only 9% of farm occupiers under 40 years of age.
  • Farms are consolidating, and in some cases intensifying. For example, in the dairy industry: the total number of dairy cows in Scotland has increased (to approximately 174,000, the highest level since 2000), but the number of farms has decreased (to less than 1,000, the lowest level since records began).
  • The area of organic farmland in Scotland has been steadily falling. In 2002, almost 8% of land was organic, in 2015, just 2.3% of agricultural land is in organic management. (In Europe the trend is reversed, with a steady increase in organic farms).

 

What are we doing?

Nourish will be working with SFLT on a feasibility study to establish how a Land Trust might work in Scotland. The feasibility study will look at both the demand for, and availability of, farmland in Scotland. It will also explore opportunities for raising capital, and viable business models for small scale farming.

 

What can you do?

Fill in the survey

Well, would you like to become a farmer? Or do you know anyone who does? If so, please fill out our survey at the bottom of this page. Or pass the link on: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/scottishfarmland

Are you a landowner in Scotland, who is interested in land being held in trust for sustainable food production? We’d love to hear from you. Please email: bella@nourishscotland.org.uk

Are you excited by the idea and would like to stay in touch? Contact SFLT directly at http://www.scottishfarmlandtrust.org/contact.html or email bella@nourishscotland.org.uk for info.

 

Attend one of the open meetings

We’ve been astounded by the response to the survey so far with over 1,200 filling it in. We clearly have a large contingent of passionate and dedicated people who would like to farm in Scotland, but are held back by the inaccessibility of land and prohibitive costs of starting a farm.

In June, we will be holding meetings around Scotland. These events will be an opportunity to find out more about the Scottish Farm Land Trust, inform the development of the organisation, and get involved if you would like to. The events will also be a chance to share more about your situation, and feed in to the Scottish Farm Land Trust’s report on access to land, small-scale farming, and supporting ecological agriculture in Scotland.

Mon 19th June, Edinburgh: Quaker Meeting House, 6-8.30pm

Sat 24th June, North-east: Tangleha, near St Cyrus, 2-4.30pm

Mon 26th June, Inverness: Glachbeg on the Black Isle, 6-8.30pm

Please get in touch with Bella – bella@nourishscotland.org.uk, 0131 2261497, if you are interested in attending, or if you cannot attend an event, but would like to be involved.

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