Wanted: new members for a co-operative farm – you are invited to an exploratory weekend

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Posted Sep 22 2015 by Graeme Dow of Dragonfly Land Co-op
dragonfly land co-op - sheep

You are invited to Ffynnon Teilo Farm Activity Weekend, to explore creating a co-operative farm – Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th of September. Activities will include: pond clearing, footpath and step renovation, fire making, campsite cooking and farm tour. Camping space available Saturday night.

Bring your own food, water, shelter and sturdy boots! Please let us know if you are coming and contact us for more details – [email protected]

The Dragonfly Land Co-op has been set up to establish an agroecological co-operative farm including agriculturally tied housing for tenant land-workers.

We are in negotiation to purchase a farm and will be issuing a Community Share Offer in the coming months. The project will be established through the Welsh government’s One Planet Development planning policy and will practice regenerative farming, which will include holistic planned grazing, a veg & fruit CSA and small scale woodland management.

dragonfly land co-op - stream

Background

Driven by the reality of depleting resources, economic crisis and the need to build a more resilient and harmonious future for the next generation, we will partner with nature to build a community farm.

Dragonfly Land Co-op is a Community Benefit Society, set up to purchase farm land and make it accessible to those who want to work in land based livelihoods. It will provide an affordable financial structure and support network for residential members and many benefits for the local and wider community, in the provision of healthy, nutritious food and opportunities for training, education and events.

The farm, including its accommodation will be run as a whole system, using regenerative agriculture, agroecology and permaculture as the core design principles and holistic management for both land planning and decision making. These methods of design and management will ensure high levels of land stewardship and biodiversity, profitable finances for landworkers and build resources for future generations.

Primarily the project will provide access to land, housing and business opportunities for entrant level landworkers. In turn this will create a diverse and thriving network of rural enterprises, which can then act as a springboard for developing an educational hub, providing courses in small scale agriculture, design and rural based skills.

Overall we envisage a farm which goes beyond sustainability, aiming instead towards regeneration of both environmental resources and the rural economy, aspiring to build a more abundant and resilient future.

Feasts will be had, earthworms will dance, the children will sing and there will be hope for a better world!

Open Field System for the 21st Century

The above land use pattern is similar to the medieval Open Field System. That model had nucleated settlements (hamlets), surrounded by individual fields and then commonly managed grazing and woodlands beyond.

The key difference was in the ownership and taxation on the land, which was owned by either the local lord or church, to whom the workers had to pay high rents and taxes. So all of their profit disappeared, maintaining the poverty and vulnerability of the workers.

In our model, the land is owned by the public through shares, on which interest is paid through the rent paid by the land workers and the on site businesses. After the interest has been paid, the surplus from the rent payments can then be re-invested back into the farm, developing infrastructure, ensuring environmental conservation and regeneration and increasing the range of produce and services for the local community.

Therefore the farm and the local community gets stronger and healthier over time. The land management pattern is similar, but the economic pattern is radically different.