More land for ecological farmers in Scotland!

by Scottish Farm Land Trust in Spittalfield, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 11th December 2019 we successfully raised £18,032 with 189 supporters in 59 days

We plan to improve access to land for small scale ecological agriculture by acquiring land to be held in trust and rented fairly to farmers.

by Scottish Farm Land Trust in Spittalfield, Scotland, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

** We have extended the deadline of our project to December 11th. We have been given the opportunity to apply for £5,000 match funding through Crowdfunder, and this requires our crowdfunder to be kept open.  We wanted to close on Saturday 30th, but this is an opportunity not to miss and could really help us raise more funds.  If anyone has any questions about this please get in touch**

£10k is our absolute minimum operational costs, but we hope to raise more so that we can have a stronger impact.   Here is a breakdown of what we would expect to be possible under various scenarios:

  • £10,000 (our original target) pays for our Development Worker to work 2 days a week.  
  • £15,000 pays for our Development Worker to work 3 days a week, which will enable much more to get done!
  • £20,000 pays for the above and employment of a land agent to help broker 1 tenancy between existing landowners and land seekers.
  • £30,000 pays for the development worker to work 4 days a week, a land agent brokering 2 tenancies and development of our own tenant selection process
  • £50,000 allows us to extend the contract of our development worker and land agent for another 6-12months by which point we aim to have launched our first Community Share Offer to purchase land.

We plan to match the proceeds of the crowdfunder with grant-funding like for like.  So, if we raise £10,000 with the crowdfunder we will match this with £10,000 grantfunding, making your donation go further.  Grantfunding will cover costs of events, outreach, and project development costs such as legal fees etc.

Help us reach our target of £10,000 which will allow us to employ a Development Worker to progress our innovative idea to increase access to land for agroecological farmers in Scotland!  To find out more, read on...

The Scottish Farm Land Trust aims to increase access to land for small-scale, ecological agriculture

We'll do this by acquiring land to be held in trust and rented fairly to new entrants and young people.

This will support a transition in Scottish agriculture towards:

  • Improving the environmental impact of agriculture by using organic methods
  • Making supply chains between farmers and local communities much shorter, meaning fresher more healthy food
  • Creating opportunities for people who currently struggle to access land for farming because of the high price of land and low supply of tenancies

The model has already been successful elsewhere, but hasn't been tried in Scotland

We take great inspiration from successful models in other countries such as Terre de Liens in France, and the Ecological Land Coop in England & Wales.  We have seen a gap and huge need for this kind of organisation in Scotland.

In 2016/17 we commissioned a study which was conducted by Nourish with Big Lottery funding which goes into more detail about the need and impact that SFLT could have in Scotland. 

We also carried out a survey in 2017 to find out how many people wanted to start farming in Scotland, and had over 1000 responses. 989 were looking to establish agroecological farm businesses in Scotland. 66% of these were under 40 years old. When asked about their motivations for farming, 85% said ‘looking after the environment’ and 79% said ‘help build/sustain rural communities’.  And the biggest barrier to starting farming came out as access to land.  

The Scottish Land Commission published a research paper in 2018 on increasing access to farm land for new entrants. Written by the James Hutton Institute, and featured the SFLT as a potential “new model to increase land availability for new entrants.”

We are developing an organisation which can make it happen in Scotland

During Phase 1 of our business plan from 2020-2022 we will develop: 

  • A candidate (tenant) selection & land matching process.
  • A tenancy agreement template which provides a legal framework for renting on long term and agroecological basis.
  • A support network for new tenants to help their farm business and a membership base, in collaboration with organisations such as Nourish Scotland, the Land Workers Alliance, Organic Growers Alliance  
  • A brokering service which matches tenants with landowners using the above systems.
  • ‘Investment Readiness’ for Phase 2- a detailed business plan & enough organisational profile to reach as many potential investors as possible.

We are currently entirely voluntary run and we need staff to help us do these.  

Phase 2 of our business plan will deliver the full aim of purchasing farmland funded by community share offers, in order to provide the best & longest term tenancies for our farmers. We will then scale this up with the aim to purchase & rent out 10 farms in 10 years.

What we hope to raise

The more money we can raise, the more impact we can have.  Here is a breakdown of what we plan to do depending on how much money we can raise:

  • £20,000 Pays for a development worker for 1 year, 3 days a week.  This work will involved developing a network of people looking for land, identifying potential land we could purchase, and procedures for how we purchase the land.
  • £40,000 Enables us to also employ a land agent for a year to help develop a pioneering agroecological tenancy agreement and broker tenancies between existing landowners and aspiring agroecological farmers.
  • £50,000 Allows us also to run a programme of public events across Scotland to build SFLT's profile, build a support network for future tenants and help to build a movement for agroecological farming in Scotland. 
  • £70,000 Enables a development worker for another year, getting SFLT to the point it can offer share offers for significant, game-changing farm opportunities. This will set us on track to achieve our "10 farms in 10 years" target.
  • £90,000 Enables an additional year of employment for a land agent to continue work as above.

We plan to match the proceeds of the crowdfunder with grant-funding like for like.  So, if we raise £10,000 with the crowdfunder we will match this with £10,000 grantfunding, making your donation go further.

About SFLT

Our Vision: We want to see a food system where farms are connected to their communities and produce nutritious food in a way that makes a positive contribution to the health of communities and the natural environment.  This can be achieved by supporting small-scale agroecological farms.  We want to see our farming system thrive, with a greater diversity of farmers and business models. Improving access to land and widening participation in the ownership of land is essential for this to happen. 

Our Aims: SFLT will hold agricultural land in trust for public benefit & rent it out in small parcels to farmers on an affordable basis with the aim to: 

  • Advance rural regeneration by enabling land use that more directly benefits local communities, fostering local food systems that generate training & volunteering opportunities and promote good quality & healthy food.
  • Advance education about sustainable land use, access to land, and the need for a more equitable food system.
  • Advance protection and improvement of the environment by enabling small-scale agro-ecological farming that improves soil health and reduces chemical use.
  • Advance animal welfare through non-intensive and free-range methods of husbandry.
  • Remove the barriers that currently prevent a more diverse range of people from entering farming.

Our Structure: We are a registered Community Benefit Society, which means that we are a democratic and member lead organisation.  To become a member you must be a shareholder. For more information about our rules and becoming a member please visit our website.


"The Scottish Farm Land Trust is committed to advancing quality food production and reconnecting farms with their local communities through enabling a new generation on the land. More than elsewhere in Europe, land in Scotland is unequally distributed and access to land is the number 1 issue facing agroecological farmers. Support the SFLT to promote land for our food, land for peasant agroecology, and strong rural communities!" Sjoerd Wartena & Veronique Rioufol, co-founders of Terre de Lien and the Access to Land network

"The Ecological Land Cooperative is a community benefit society set up in 2008 and now owns 4 sites covering over  30 hectares. We currently have four active farms and are in the process of establishing eight more. All our sites start as empty fields and we support new entrants to create biodiverse and ecologically sound farms with a diverse range of business models. We've raised over one million pounds and are working to improve government policy too. We’d love to see this kind of thing happen in Scotland and fully  support the SFLT to make it happen." Oli Rodker, Founding Director of ELC

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This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£10 or more

6 of 10 claimed

Eko currency!

£10 worth of Eko currency which can be spent in the Phoenix Shop, Findhorn Bay Holiday Park, Phoenix Café, Findhorn Foundation, Bakehouse Café and Kimberley Inn in Findhorn

£20 or more

9 of 20 claimed

Willow staves

Bundles of 20 Willow staves (Salix Viminalis / Salix Tortuosa) ready to plant

£20 or more

3 of 20 claimed

Landworkers' Alliance calendar

Our final reward! Lovely Landworkers' Alliance Calendars, with wood cut art work featuring stories of action and resistence from across the world.

£50 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Winter Wreath or Bouquet making workshops

Tomnaha Market Garden offer beautiful wreaths and bouquets all year round. Join in a make your own workshop, or have one made up for you!

£60 or more

2 of 3 claimed

Green Hollows Foraging course

1hour long foraging courses for groups of 5 people or families in and around the Glasgow area. Green Hollows run a range of foraging walks for reconnection, rediscovery and exploration of Glasgow.

£10 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Locavore vouchers

£10 voucher to spend at the Locavore shop in Glasgow on a range of organic goodies

£10 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Dig In vouchers

Vouchers to spend in the community owned greengrocers, Dig In, in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh

£10 or more

2 of 2 claimed

East Coast Organics vouchers

Vouchers to spend at East Coast Organics online shop on a range of organic groceries, fruit and veg

£15 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Lynbreck Croft tours

Free places for croft tours in 2020 of the award winning Lynbreck Croft

£25 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Appletreeman & Plants with Purpose vouchers

Vouchers for Plants with Purpose & Appletreeman, specialists in hardy & heritage Scottish fruit trees, unusual herbs and purposeful plants.

£25 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Pillars of Hercules

Vouchers to spend at the lovely Pillars of Hercules in Fife, whether that be in their cafe, shop, camping or holiday cottages.

£30 or more

3 of 3 claimed

Greencity Wholefoods Voucher

£30 to spend online at fellow Co-Operative, Greencity Wholefoods. Check out their catalogue at

£30 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Winter Hamper of veg, preserves and herbal teas

A lovely hamper full of gorgeous vegetables, preserves and herbal teas all with produce from Tomnaha's market garden

£30 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Breakfast/lunch @ Whitmuir's Community Cafe

A delicious breakfast or lunch at Whitmuir Farm's community run cafe, which cooks with produce from the farm and is zero waste!

£65 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Tomnah'a Flower Membership

Choose a month (July/august/september) to come pick a bucket of flowers each week (worth £25 each) including tips on growing, cutting, conditioning and arranging.

£90 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Introduction to Permaculture course

Join in this two day course to learn about the principles and ethics of permaculture and how they can be applied. Run by Lusi Alderslowe course dates in 2020 coming up!

£90 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Permaculture Design consultation

3 hours of Permaculture Design Consultancy with James and Rosa of Tap o Noth farm

£100 or more

3 of 3 claimed

A night in a Nordic Kata

1 night sleep over for up to 6 people in a unique handmade kata tent at Comrie Croft. Go to sleep to the sound of the deer and owls outside, or (if you are lucky) the silence of snow falling!

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