Land Sharing Schemes
As the result of demand for land for cultivation that has grown over the last 18 months or so, a number of organisations have initiated schemes to bridge the gap between landowners and those seeking land.
These schemes have been developed by a diverse range of organisations, but the principle behind them - allowing people greater access to land for growing produce - remains the same. The following are examples of Landsharing schemes:
Boasting around 59,000 individual sign ups to its website, Landshare is an initiative connecting growers with landowners in order to make British land more productive and fresh local produce more accessible to all.
The idea was originally put together by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the TV cook and food campaigner.
It is an internet-based system where land owners, growers or those interested in helping, post a listing telling others where they are and what they are offering or seeking. An online mail system is used to alert the poster to responses and if something suitable crops up then the landowner and the person wanting land make contact and negotiate between themselves.
The system is intended to encourage mutual benefits for those concerned. For example andowners could offer land in return for produce. It also allows facilitators, for example gardeners willing to support an elderly person to grow vegetables, to become involved. Groups of growers or individuals can register
The Landshare website allows you to register, so you can post a listing as someone seeking land, a landowner or someone who wants to become involved. There are also stickers and posters available to download, useful if, for example, you have a local event where you would like to publicise Landshare. There is also a blog for updates and news on Landshare, and a map showing the location of landowners, growers and helpers.
There are a small number of case studies on the Landshare website, including Loxley Valley Community Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture farm in South Yorkshire.
National Trust Allotments Scheme:
The National Trust has made a commitment to create 1,000 new allotment plots on Trust land by 2012, in order to give both individuals, schools and local community groups the space to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Growing spaces will be created throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will be registered through the Landshare website. As of April 2010, more than 300 allotments have been created in restored kitchen gardens, farmland and vacant land close to trust properties.
It has been estimated that the 1,000 plots could produce up to around 2.6 million lettuces per year, 50,000 sacks of potatoes or, alternatively, mixed produce worth up to an estimated £ 1.5 million.
Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, said: "More and more people want to grow their own fruit and vegetables. This isn’t just about saving money – it’s really satisfying to sow seeds and harvest the fruit and veg of your labour. By creating new growing spaces the National Trust can help people to start growing for the first time."
'We already have allotments and active kitchen gardens at 50 of our properties and many of these already provide spaces for communities to come together and grow their own fruit and veg. But there’s a huge demand for us to do more. We’ve taken the first steps to increase the amount of growing spaces available, and we are working with Landshare to encourage other landowners to do the same."
The National Trust
Tel: 0844 800 1895
To find out more about the scheme, including case studies of existing National Trust allotments, visit the following pages on the National Trust website:
News story about the allotments scheme
Case studies of National Trust allotments
Gardenshare is a generic term for a number of local initiatives across the UK where people share their own gardens with those who have no growing space of their own. A number of these schemes have emerged from the Transition Towns movement.
Lots of people have gardens that are underused, or that go unmanaged due to a lack of time, interest, or physical mobility. At the same time there are many residents living in flats, town houses and rented accommodation, who have no access to a garden, and who would love the chance to grow their own food, herbs and flowers.
Gardensharing schemes are local initiatives linking up people who have an unused corners of their garden with local commited growers. The benefits for the garden owners include a share of the produce, the pleasure of seeing a lovely developing vegetable plot, and the sense of community in being part of a sharing initiative.
The Gardenshare service matches and introduces committed, enthusiastic, and growers with local garden owners who want to see their gardens being used more productively.
Download a Word document using the link below, for a Q&A case study of the Grow Your Neighbours Own Gardenshare Scheme in Brighton and Hove.
Growing Together links owners of unused gardens and greenhouses in the China Clay villages of Cornwall with other local people who would like to grow their own fruit and vegetables but don't have access to their own growing space.
Transition Town Totnes have produced a guide to running a gardenshare scheme on their website.
For general details of Gardenshare and Transition Towns, visit the Transitions Towns information page.