For Ruth O'Brien, the dream of being a farmer might never have been realised were it not for the Ecological land Co-operative.
With house and land prices in rural areas so high, it is hard to get started in small-scale farming. The Ecological Land Co-operative challenges this by pooling small investments from large numbers of people in order to buy land and lease it to start-up farmers.
"Without the Ecological Land Co-op... we might never have managed to access land." Ruth O'Brien
In its first project in Greenham Reach, Devon, the co-op created three new smallholdings on a 22-acre site, and thanks to a share offer that raised £440,000 earlier this month, the co-op is set to create six or more new starter farms.
Ruth is one of the pioneering Greenham Reach farmers. She says: “We had been trying to do this for years, but there are a lot of hurdles. Thanks to the Ecological Land Co-op’s help in removing and negotiating some of these, we are now here doing it."
“Living on the land means that the work of growing food, looking after our livestock and managing the land is integrated with our lives, and our children’s lives, making it more sustainable, enjoyable and possible. It is hard work but we love doing it.
“Despite our training, skills and experience, without the Ecological Land Co-op, financially and legally we might never have managed to access land to farm and live in the low impact way that we now are.”
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