The Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC) launched a share offer on Monday 3rd April to fund the
development of small-scale, ecological farms.
The average age of today’s farmer is 59 according to Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs. The modern farmer faces increasing pressures from a globalised market. It is the belief of the ELC
that there are other ways to grow and work the land. And many of those wishing to do so are young but
are priced out from purchasing land or getting a foot-hold into land-based business. The ELC work to
provide new entrants to agriculture with a realistic chance.
Based on the success of our first cluster of small farms at Greenham Reach, Devon, we plan to create a series
of new ecological smallholdings between now and 2020.
The 2017 Share Offer aims to generate funds for the development of two new clusters of small farms.
This will result in the ELC managing a total of 12 smallholdings across four sites.
We are looking to raise between £120,000 to £340,000 to carry out this work. We are delighted to be
working with Ethex — the positive savings and investment platform that makes it easy to make money do
good. Investors are offered 3% in interest on share capital annually. Follow this link to find out more and start the process of investing in the future.
The Ecological Land Co-operative develops affordable, low impact, small-scale farms in England by
addressing the realities of high land costs and the high cost of housing which makes it impossible for future
land-workers to own their land and generate land-based livelihoods.
On the launch of our public share offer, Zoe Wangler, Director & Planning Specialist for the
Ecological Land Co-operative, says, “New entrants to farming have no possibility of buying a farm
in England: the cost of land and rural housing is too high. Yet new entrants have the passion, vision
and skills needed to reduce the negative environmental impacts of conventional farming and
globalised food distribution. We create new starter farms, protected for farming, for affordability,
and for sustainability. Our work is not possible without investment from our members.”
The ELC is the only organisation in England to offer affordable residential smallholdings for
ecological land users. A democratic social enterprise, our approach aims to overcome two key
barriers: high land prices and legal permission (planning consent).
Oli Rodker, Director and Site Development, for the Ecological Land Co-operative, says, “Planning is
a major systemic problem. Land management and ownership in this country has been concentrated
for a long time and has lead to an under-populated countryside. The land needs more people
involved in our food production and more people to give life to rural communities. Nature can
benefit too. Small farms allow for a better understanding of place and local ecology, and have less
impact on climate change.”
Our solution and core business is the creation of small clusters of three or more affordable
residential smallholdings. As well as land, we provide smallholders with permission to build their own
sustainable home, with off-grid utilities and road access. Our model allows us to keep costs low, both through
buying larger sites at a lower price per acre, and through distributing the cost of infrastructure, planning
applications and subsequent site monitoring across a number of smallholdings.
Paul Lovatt-Smith, an ELC Investor, says: My family and I are the owners of a smallholding which
has given us a great deal of pleasure, health and sustenance. We feel very lucky to have been able
to afford our property. We know many people (particularly young people) who would like to do
the same as us but who can’t afford it and we’d like them to have more of an opportunity to do so. I
believe that the ELC’s model for creating affordable smallholdings is sustainable and financially
sound and I trust the people who run it — that is why we have invested.