Even when there is money available to purchase land, accessing land is difficult. Some family farms and large land owners don’t want to part with anything, and where land is sold it often has conditions placed on it that makes it attractive to developers and not for sustainable food growing. A community initiative has little chance of competing on the open market…

LESS, a Lancaster-based social enterprise, is therefore calling on Lancaster District’s many food and community networks to support it in finding a landowner who wants to leave a legacy to the District and play a role in supporting a “thriving local food system that is healthy, resilient and fair” – now and into the future.

Supported by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Funding, LESS is looking for land to purchase in Lancaster District for a community farm.  They seek to buy 10-60 acres to be used for agroecological food growing, as an education and training centre, and to host a range of other small enterprises and community initiatives that connect people with nature, food and the seasons.

The need for this project arose from the ongoing award winning work of North Lancashire’s FoodFutures partnership and, with time, will offer another unique model for working with the land in the community. In doing so, it will contribute towards the vision of a district where local residents have access to fresh local food, and where we build climate resilience through nature friendly farming.

Ellen Pearce, coordinator of the project and staff Director at LESS, commented:

“Over the last few years, LESS has set up a market garden (The Plot) which has been supplying organic veg to around 50 households a week and to local cafes and shops. We also run a FarmStart training programme to equip people with the horticulture and business skills needed to run a small veg growing enterprise. We are now looking to build on these experiences to expand the amount of fruit and vegetables grown in the District and to be able to offer land as incubator plots for new growers and for a range of local food programmes and small businesses.

Anna Clayton, coordinator of FoodFutures added:

“We are interested to hear from landowners who have an interest in passing land into community ownership, and who would work with us during the next 6 months to complete a sale”.

To find out more, or to support this vision in becoming a reality, please contact Ellen Pearce on ellen@lessuk.org.

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