Semi Finalist 15: De Landgenoten, sustainable access to land for organic farmers
Field: Agriculture and food supply
Summary of the idea:
Every week 25 farms in Flanders disappear, every week Belgium loses farmland the size of 145 football fields. Although the demographics of Flemish farmers (with almost half of them older than 55) is conducive to young farmers, their entry into the sector is thwarted because of high land prices (€40.000/ha average, with excesses up to €100.000/ha). There is need for innovative farmers to develop new practices that are economically, environmentally and socially viable. Inspired by the example of Terre de Liens in France, 17 Flemish organizations founded De Landgenoten cooperative (April 2014) and foundation (October 2014).
De Landgenoten brings resources together through shares and donations , to purchase land that can be managed as organic farmland across generations. Security about access to land creates opportunities for a farmer to start, to develop or to transfer a sustainable farm. Shareholders are mainly from the farmer's local network, which gives him or her the opportunity to grow in a lively social network.