The Ecological Land Co-op

I’d been aiming to publish a bit of good news on this site for a change, just when I learned yesterday the very bad news of the Manchester bombing. I guess I can understand some of the logic of anti-modernist and anti-liberal movements – I’ve even been called a dangerous extremist myself once or twice for that reason. What I struggle to understand or empathise with is the emotional interior of anyone who kills people at random, and what they think it achieves. My thoughts are with those personally affected.

Well, maybe the best thing I can do is press on with the good news anyway…which is that, finally, forty odd years after Margaret Thatcher launched her revolution of small-time shareholding, for the first time in my life I’ve bought some shares. I hope the spirit of Margaret is smiling on me, though to be honest if I were to dedicate my purchase to an indomitable politician my pick would be Caroline Lucas. The shares, you see, are in the Ecological Land Co-op (ELC), which raises finance from investors in order to create affordable low-impact smallholdings – a congruent aim with my small farm future brief.

I think organisations like the ELC are a necessary step on the path to a small farm future here in Britain for reasons neatly captured by a pithy answer I read a year or two back to a question posted on the British Farming Forum about how to get into farming: “Be born into it, marry into it or make a stack of money and buy your way into it.” OK, so there are other options – go to agricultural college, become a farm manager, or if you’re lucky perhaps take on a tenancy. But in the UK landownership is the sine qua non of security, especially if you harbour fancy notions of farming ‘ecologically’. And agricultural land is pretty darned expensive – £10,000 per acre is about par. At an auction I attended recently, one 3.5 acre parcel went for £110,000. And this is bare land without a dwelling – you can probably multiply those values tenfold for a plot with planning permission for a dwelling, regardless of whether it has an actual farmhouse on it or not.

Ah, planning permission, planning permission. In rural England, we seem to talk of little else. Well, I’ve been down this road too many times on this blog before, but I’m going to try to explain very briefly how this works and where the ELC comes in. Since 1947, building in the so-called ‘open’ countryside has been rigorously restricted. I concede there’s some logic to it – scattering random houses around the countryside probably isn’t a great idea. So if you buy a plot of agricultural land and want to build a house on it, you have to persuade the powers that be that you have a good agricultural case for your proposed dwelling. Again, not such a bad idea – otherwise the fields would soon be paved over by people seeking nothing more than a house on the cheap.

The problem is, the powers that be are notoriously unpersuadable. The two main stumbling blocks usually revolve around proving that there’s an ‘essential need’ to live onsite and proving that the business will be financially viable. On the first point, let me give the example of my planning authority whose Local Plan states in paragraph 6.121 “In most cases, it will be as convenient and more sustainable for [farm] workers to be accommodated in existing accommodation in nearby towns and villages” – a wording shamelessly lifted from now defunct government guidelines and re-purposed to keep the riff-raff off the land until 2029. But, seriously, ‘as convenient and more sustainable’? Anyone who’s actually tried to run a farm while living somewhere else would likely respond, “no it bloody isn’t” but perhaps paragraph 6.121 suffices to indicate the journey in store for anyone seeking to persuade their local authority of their need to live on the land.

On the second point, the idea of running a business that’s financially viable probably doesn’t seem a demanding hurdle, except hardly anyone makes any appreciable money out of farming these days and the whole sector is pretty much propped up by a subsidy regimen courtesy of the EU (interesting times ahead…) But small-scale farmers aren’t eligible for subsidies and the costs of actually establishing a farm (even a homespun one like mine with its aging machinery and freecycled infrastructure) are prohibitive.

The result is that people who basically just want to run a viable farm can spend years and years wrangling with local planning authorities, and an awful lot of time and public money is wasted trying to prevent people from doing a little bit of good in their local communities.

This is where for me the ELC ticks a lot of boxes. By raising money from investors, it’s able to lease or sell leasehold smallholdings at more affordable prices, thus obviating the aforementioned need for the would-be farmer otherwise to choose the circumstances of their birth, enter a loveless marriage of convenience, or toil miserably to turn an income when they should be turning a furrow. It has paid staff who are able to take on the burden of attaining planning permissions – a task made easier by the accumulation of expertise within the organisation and by establishing a successful track record. And by acting as a watchful but benevolent landlord, it can take the sting out of the inevitable but usually misplaced mutterings among local residents and planning officers that a rural worker’s dwelling application is only a front by scammers in search of a cheap house.

The downsides – well, I suppose it’s not a very radical solution to the problem of rural land availability. The smallholdings the ELC can offer in view of all its other commitments aren’t that affordable, and a lot of the money raised from well-meaning investors like me goes into the pocket of the vendor. Though since I’m a sometime property vendor myself I can’t really complain – I can only assuage my guilt by buying ELC shares. Ultimately, it seems to me four changes are needed if we’re to create a sensible and sustainable turnover of agricultural land. First, a way of capturing its value socially – Malcolm Ramsay was discussing his interesting proposals along those lines on this site a few weeks back. Second, a modification of the planning system to make it supportive of rather than hostile towards people pursuing genuine small-scale agricultural projects (this wouldn’t require any legislative change – just a change of planning authority culture). And third a way of monitoring such projects to ensure their genuineness – though I’d make a proviso here that established ‘born in’ farmers should be subject to the same monitoring, so as not to discriminate against new entrants. These three suggestions, however, only involve the commercial farming sector – whereas what I’ve been driving at on this blog of late is the need to embrace low impact subsistence smallholdings. This could quite easily be achieved with a few tweaks to the self-build policies that councils now have in place and a bit more thought in Local Plan drafting. Though regrettably subsistence smallholding doesn’t loom large in any of the major parties’ political priorities just now, so I suspect the policies will remain untweaked.

Well, in the meantime at least the ELC is here raising the profile of these issues and painstakingly preparing fertile ground – both literally and figuratively – for a more sustainable agrarian future. The good news is the share offer is still open – so if you’ve got some spare cash to invest in a worthy cause, you can come join me in the (slow and peaceful) revolution.

31 thoughts on “The Ecological Land Co-op

  1. rural worker’s dwelling application is only a front by scammers in search of a cheap house

    I live in the US, so I am not familiar with the intricacies of the UK real estate market. Does this sentence mean that it would be far less expensive to build a new house than to purchase an existing one, even on a vacant village residential lot? This post seems to imply that agricultural land is relatively inexpensive only because it is generally forbidden to build a house on it, but are there no vacant lots on which houses can be built in villages and small towns either? If so, it seems like the real problem is that housing prices are much higher than their intrinsic costs simply due to a forced reduction in supply.

    If my speculation is correct, the local planning policy of “let them live in existing housing and commute to their farm” is a non-starter. Nobody who works on a farm could afford to purchase a house anywhere.

    Market issues aside, the general concept of living in centralized housing and walking to the fields one works is a very old one and found all over the world. It makes a lot of sense to cluster housing support infrastructure in one place rather than scattering it house by house over the countryside.

    Perhaps the ELC could make headway with planning authorities by proposing group or communal housing for several tenants near their land tenancies. Such housing would be far less likely to be later sold off to the wealthy as high-priced single family homes, especially if a condition of residency was to be a farming tenant on nearby land.

    • Your assumptions are correct. And this is the situation in every wealthy EU member state.

      Getting a hold of a planning permission is not just difficult in case of mere dwellings btw; agricultural buildings can be delayed endlessly, too (unless you’re really big ag of course, in which case your constituency will defend your decision to build those monstrosities close to the town against the populace for all the righteous reasons).

      Walking to your field for work is a tradition in many parts of the world. Today, it is seen as an embarrassement. I do it anyway.

    • Yep, your speculations are correct. Land prices are higher than intrinsic costs partly because of the forced reduction in supply and also because of demand bidding up price – essentially the problem of Ricardian rent.

      The ELC does in fact pursue a model of multiple smallholdings on single sites, partly for the reasons you mention. You’d have thought this might make it easier to get planning permission, but it can have the opposite effect – planners can cope more easily with the idea of an ‘essential need’ for one person to be on the holding than many.

      I agree with Michael that commuting to scattered holdings is well established historically, and isn’t necessarily a problem. But how well it works depends a bit on things like the agricultural land use, family structures, local geopolitics etc. – and you need some kind of farmyard and workshop somewhere. Having had my tractor parked on my suburban drive for many years, I’d venture to say it fits less well with many people’s expectations of modern life…

  2. The one thing government hates most is the idea of a landowning peasantry, able to provide for its own needs and independent

    • Eliot Coleman wrote:

      The small organic farm greatly discomforts the corporate/industrial mind because the small organic farm is one of the most relentlessly subversive forces on the planet. Over centuries both the communist and the capitalist systems have tried to destroy small farms because small farmers are a threat to the consolidation of absolute power. Thomas Jefferson said he didn’t think we could have democracy unless at least 20% of the population was self-supporting on small farms so they were independent enough to be able to tell an oppressive government to stuff it. It is very difficult to control people who can create products without purchasing inputs from the system, who can market their products directly thus avoiding the involvement of mercenary middlemen, who can butcher animals and preserve foods without reliance on industrial conglomerates, and who can’t be bullied because they can feed their own faces.

    • I don’t know where you live, but here in the US the federal government gave away 320 million acres to people who wanted to be “landowning peasantry”. My grandparents homesteaded in Oregon in 1937 on 120 acres of land with access to irrigation water from a government funded irrigation project. All that was required was to farm it and it was deeded to them.

      What killed the small farm in the US was a complicated interplay between labor costs, the introduction of synthetic fertilizers and economies of scale in the use of farm equipment. Government hatred had nothing to do with it.

    • Interesting debate – generally I’d go along with John’s/Jefferson’s/Coleman’s position. Does anyone have a source for Jefferson’s 20% figure? A striking congruence with my ‘Peasant’s Republic of Wessex’ assumptions!

      On Joe’s point, the circumstances in which small or large scale farming is more resilient indeed are complex – I’m trying to draft something about this at the moment. My reading of US history is that homesteaders were never really a peasantry but always commercially-oriented family farmers, even if they often had to devote the majority of their time to self-subsistence (this is Cunfer’s argument in ‘On the Great Plains’) – a situation resulting from the unusual historical situation of settler colonialism on an expanding, militarily-pacified frontier linked to a larger capitalist world system. But I’d be interested in additional thoughts on this.

      • I’ve not read about US homesteaders from a book, so perhaps I’ve no standing in the debate. I can offer family and friend testimony for a small number of homesteading situations. My great-grandfather settled on a piece of ground in Southern Missouri as the first non-native to occupy the piece. It was not a homestead in the typical sense of direct acquisition from the US government. A religious group had acquired a very large parcel and invited folk to settle there offering land at subsidized rates in order to build a community. The effort was successful, the community still exists. Would the original settlers be categorized as peasants? I would argue yes, but there may be other definitions that would set the situation in a different light.

        While I was in grad school in Lincoln Nebraska I had the opportunity to meet many descendants of the classic homesteaders (homestead national monument happens to be in Beatrice NE, a short drive from the UNL campus). As one might suppose there is a sort of pride of place for the descendants of homesteaders. From the stories of these descendants I will offer there were as many different situations as there were homesteaders. But the number of new immigrants who took to this form of life on the Great Plains eclipsed the number of land speculators who were looking to get hold of property for an eventual profit.

        The pioneering spirit required to up stakes somewhere and hunker down on a vast prairie that up to that time had been a hunter gatherer ecosystem fraught with serious weather conditions and sparse infrastructure (navigable streams, etc) would eventually weed out all but the most dedicated spirits. Peasant seems to me to satisfactorily encompass what those folks embodied.

        • I’d agree with Clem here, though my knowledge of homesteaders is limited. Surely a small farmer concerned to a significant degree with self-subsistence is s good description of a peasant?

          I don’t think it matters that part of their production was geared towards commercial ends within a wider capitalist system. Medieval peasants had to devote part of their productive output to the tributary renders and/or labour services imposed by their lords, but that didn’t make them any less peasants.

      • My homestead example is just one facet of the long US government support for farmers. When farmers were mostly on family farms, that support went to family farms. Even though most food is now produced on larger farms, there is still plenty of support for the small farm in government programs like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/people/?cid=stelprdb1167242

        I haven’t done a detailed budget analysis, but I would venture that there is proportionally more government financial support for small farms than other types of small business. In my county, state land available for farming at very low cost goes begging because not enough people want to farm. My state and county governments see young farmers as heroic figures. Since they are such a rare breed, they fawn all over them

        I just don’t agree that there is any sort of general government policy against small farms because they allow people to independently feed themselves and not require nanny-state oversight. Most politicians shouldn’t care about a voting bloc that is so very tiny, but if anything, they cater to them, not “hate” them.

        • Forgot to say that the cheap farmland from the state does not allow residency. It still takes a lot of money to buy a small farm with a house on it where I live, though apparently not as much as in Europe.

      • Thanks for these comments:

        >I’ve not read about US homesteaders from a book, so perhaps I’ve no standing in the debate.

        Ouch. But go easy, Clem. You’re provoking one of my hobby horses. Yes, there are things you can’t learn from books. But there are also things that you can’t learn except from books – the reading of them or the writing of them.

        Anyway, seriously, thanks for these observations. I guess on reflection I’d recant my over-hasty ‘homesteaders ≠ peasants’ comment on the grounds that, as Andrew suggests, by most standard definitions of the term homesteaders would count as peasants, and a lot of their skills and practices were essentially peasant ones. I think a capacious definition is called for, rather than restricting it only to the categories of people I’d personally like to honour with the term ‘peasant’ – so mea culpa.

        Nonetheless, an important point at issue here is the nature of the relationship between peasants and the state. I think Andrew is right to say that this doesn’t have much bearing on whether we should call people peasants or not, but it has a lot of bearing on the role of the peasantry in relation to the economic system. What especially interests me is the possibilities for transcending a global capitalist political economy on the basis of peasant farming – whereas I’d see US homesteaders generally as having been agents for propagating it (I’d agree with Clem that there were many different kinds of homesteader, doing it for many different reasons – though I’d argue that sometimes the advantage of a ‘book story’ over a ‘life story’ is that the life story can turn out to be a part of a bigger global narrative that isn’t necessarily obvious on the ground at the time you’re living it). Still, homesteading is obviously of great interest precisely because it doesn’t really fit with my particular twist on agrarian populist politics – so inquiring as to why that is should be illuminating. And, as a matter of fact, I’ve got a post or two coming up shortly which tries to do just that. Not sure if I need to add that my comments aren’t intended to denigrate historic homesteaders as individuals and most certainly not as skilled farmers – I find their achievements awe-inspiring. But also in a more structural, world-historical sense a bit problematic.

        In relation to Joe’s point, I wonder if there’s a transatlantic difference at play here. I think John’s view is a plausible reading of land politics in British history, but it doesn’t work so well for the USA. In world-historical terms, I guess I’d come down more on John’s side – governments generally aren’t keen on fully autonomous proprietors.

        Luckily, I will shortly be unveiling my brief history of the world on this site, which I hope will provide more fuel for this very important debate.

        • Population density appears to me to be as significant a metric for the issue of land tenure as any other we’ve touched upon. Comparing the rather sparse US side (sparse both for fewer years of existence and fewer folks on the land) to the more dense European side I imagine quite a bit can be culled for consideration. The Jeffersonian philosophy of an agrarian republic built on the shoulders of a landed populace capable of self sufficiency comes from a man who lived within a historical period following the Magna Carta, the Reformation, the onset of mercantilism, budding capitalism, and largely discredited or overthrown feudalism. The revolutionaries of his time on this side of the pond wanted to break not just with the past, but with the dominant forces of their present. So while their imaginations for a landed gentry likely didn’t include isolated and huddled European immigrants scattered upon a plain they’d not yet explored… I think they did expect that their dreams for the republic would follow from the pioneering efforts their own families had encountered in the settlement of the colonies.

          If you want to examine the political aspects of the US homesteading efforts (there were several projects) you will be investing your time well in my opinion. The Southern Democrats were against the federal government parceling out land to the poor at no cost. If fell to the Lincoln administration and the Union government (which had no slave holding representation within it to object) to pass the homestead legislation that allowed what came to pass. The Missouri compromise, the Kansas/Nebraska act (which preceded the secession of southern states) were slave holding compromises that laid the foundation for more than the outbreak of war. The whole effort to encourage settlement in the west was placed upon a rebuff to a system whereby the rich could develop an industry on the backs of slaves. So yes, there are important political motivations and significant historical trends at play as the Great Plains were opened up to white settlement.

          The earliest versions of rural populism in the US were born on the prairie – just as the successful homesteading families had won their place on the land and turned to statehood, to overcoming poverty due to low commodity prices, and to multiple changes from technological advance (which played a role in sinking commodity prices).

          Bookish historical narratives aside, it was rather interesting to me to see university schoolmates who were direct descendants – many by 3 or more generations removed – still being the most motivated, hardest working and dedicated compared with students from other backgrounds. The successful struggle to grub out an existence in what was a difficult environment had a lasting effect on the families of that time and place. There is both a fierce independence coupled to a dedication to community among these folks. Some of the friendliest people I’ve ever encountered – and some of the most resourceful. They would prefer to be known as pioneers rather than peasants… but I think this is more due to how we’ve denigrated the value of the term peasant in much of our society. If

          If you’ve not yet experienced the story telling of Willa Cather, take a moment to check it out. She makes heroes of peasants as a matter of course (and she does it rather well).

          • The successful struggle to grub out an existence in what was a difficult environment had a lasting effect on the families of that time and place.

            If family struggle horn-tooting is forbidden here on SFF, please accept my apology, but I’m doing it anyway.

            My mother was the daughter of the Oregon homesteaders I described previously. Their first “home” on the homestead was a 12′ x 16′ shack that housed a family of five (my mother was only eight years old). Early on, their main protein supply was jackrabbits harvested with a .22 rifle from the surrounding sagebrush. The first big step up was a basement house they dug on the top of a hill overlooking the Snake River valley. By the time I went to the farm in the summers after the school year ended (1950s), the main house, with toilet, was completed, but until then winters were definitely a struggle.

            My father grew up in the southern Coast Range of Oregon (Sometimes a Great Notion country). His family were definitely peasants. Painted houses were rare and paved roads non-existent. He was hunting deer for the family larder from the age of seven and went shoe-less until secondary school. When he joined the navy during WW2 at the age of seventeen, the first thing the navy did was pull all of his rotten teeth and fit him with dentures.

            My mother and father met in college, my father, who was the only one of nine siblings to graduate from secondary school, going courtesy of the GI Bill. Both of them eventually got PhDs and ended up as university professors.

            The only thing more amazing to me than the experiences of my parents was that of my mother’s parents (I know little about my father’s parents). That my grandmother was born in 1888 and died in 1983 gives something of a hint about the changes they lived through.

        • Clem/Joe – thanks for those fascinating stories, the kind of stuff born of local knowledge that really makes doing a blog like this worthwhile. Family struggle horn-tooting certainly isn’t forbidden here. A lesson I think is that whenever you reach for a bold historical assertion, it’s always possible to complicate it with further local detail. It’s for this reason that my forthcoming history of the world, originally slated for a single blog post, is now going to have to take up at least two… So as you can see, I’m still an aficionado of the bold historical assertion… But I’m always open to learning more…

          • Thanks Joe!

            Spunk, pluck, grit… whether you’re born to it or it’s forced upon you – it is for me a sign that the old fashioned Homo sapiens might still have a future when the oil runs out.

          • Please don’t forget to read Fred Cottrell’s Energy and Society and re-read F.H. King’s Farmers of Forty Centuries before you write your magnum opus.

  3. If you’re in Canada, we’re trying to do something similar here, but we could use some help!

    We’ve established a sustainable agricultural co-op, acquired 43 acres, and have actually been paying all the bills from a combination of rent and farming.

    We think planning authority approval will be successful, as our proposed re-zoning deeply meshes with our Official Community Plan. (We are also one of the few places on Earth that is represented in both national and provincial assemblies by Green Party members, which helps!)

  4. Interesting reading. Land prices in the UK are horrific, particularly for smaller pieces and as someone pointed out the price of houses means living close to one’s few acres, should one be lucky enough to own them, would be equally unaffordable, especially on the sort of money a small farm might generate.

    I like the ELC and think the model is a good one but can’t see it having any large impact on land ownership in this country in my next several lifetimes (I’m hopeful). I’ve been thinking recently about allotments and access to land. The original Act of Parliament that created allotments was the Small Holding and Allotments Act of 1908. I believe that the small holding part of the act is no longer in force but under the current act a local authority is still bound to provide “a sufficient number of allotments” if demand for them can be adequately demonstrated. I find myself wondering if the resuscitation of the smallholding component of the act wouldn’t provide a route to a much wider participation in the sort of small scale agriculture that this blog proposes. To an extent I believe that was part of the acts original intent and I reckon that there might be more demand for such a thing than the powers that be imagine – just look at the competition for small pieces of land on the open market.

    There’s a large network of allotment societies, many of whom provide their members with access to communally owned machinery and undertake maintenance work on a communal basis (that doesn’t sound so far from Chris’s idea of a peasant holding in Wessex). Scaling up that model in terms of size of holding/machinery etc doesn’t seem a huge stretch (although it probably is). With the land being owned by the local authority smallholders would have security of tenure without the need to purchase that security at today’s inflated land values. Moreover building on the back of a pre-existing network with legislative backing would offer the possiblity of quite rapidly changing access and attitudes to land.

    • If your allotment owner structure is less bourgeois than ours…
      I’m seeing no tradition there except the very worst, actively avoiding any meaningful work yet engaging in any form of petty intrigue available.
      Interstingly, it has come to the point that Eastern Europeans are given plots first, because they still know how to do the things allotments were set up for in the first place: grow something edible.

      • Interesting – further details on the work avoidance tactics and the petty intrigues could prove illuminating…

        • Well, you have your flagposts as the most important natural feature of a plot.

          You have manicured lawns, deck chairs and the two redcurrants in one corner, fully ripe but apparently only there to represent the “allotment” part to passersby.
          Only the birds and mice know how to make use of them.

          You have collectors of some family of decorative plants, waging war against snails (not slugs, snails).

          Illegal pesticides imported from abroad.
          Cheap rotary cultivators.
          Little kings on the board.
          Poisoned pets.
          Fun times.

          Municipalities are slowly waking up to the right-wing misery wafting across the gravel beds and demanding the arable quotas be enforced.

          • Not sure what the objection to rotary cultivators is (cheap or otherwise) – they at least suggest some growing being done. Haven’t seen a flagpole on our local allotments – certainly some deck chairs – for some people it’s the only garden they’ve got.

            Last week I discovered that the best selling item in the “Garden” section of Ebay.co.uk was astroturf – I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry – on that basis anyone doing anything with actual soil seems like a victory

          • Last week I discovered that the best selling item in the “Garden” section of Ebay.co.uk was astroturf – I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry

            Certainly a head scratcher. Given the now apparently complete disconnects for some of our fellow travelers it could be an interesting time when reality begins to settle upon us. I’ll be keeping my scythe sharp, the sharpening stone handy, and the Astroturf set as far away as possible.

          • Chris, is it okay to feel astroturfed whilst talking about Astroturf?

          • That’s far too technical a question for me to answer. But from the ELC share offer to astroturf and allotment wars…who’d have thunk it?

  5. Colin Ward has written about allotments & certainly there were ones big enough to support a cow in the past.

    From talking to the Allotments team in Bristol over a decade ago now, I believe even they had a few smallholdings

  6. Thanks for the reading list suggestions – though if I try to read everything folks suggest, I’ll never get to write anything… Cather and King have been in the in tray for a while though, so I’ll see what I can do.

    Also, thanks Bruce and John for the UK angle. There’s certainly been some government emphasis historically on smallholding which has now mostly gone by the wayside – as well as the allotments act there were the county farms, the land settlement association and the green belt legislation, which originally was aimed at creating small farms around conurbations (but later on has had pretty much the opposite effect). So perhaps our own local homesteading tradition on which we need to build…

  7. I used to live in Bristol & for many years worked for the City Council. In the 1990’s I worked in Knowle West, developed as a Council Estate in the 1930’s mainly to provide homes for unskilled workers & their families displaced by slum clearance in Central Bristol. One of the selling points for the houses was that they had large gardens so that the tenants could grow their own vegetables.

    Someone once dug out a plan dating from the 1950’s for a Council Approved rabbit hutch for breeding rabbits for meat.

    On a Sunday morning sometimes I would walk from my home in Totterdown through the estate to the swimming pool on Filwood Broadway. While I never saw them I did hear chickens, and on one occasion I am sure I heard a sheep.

    Where I live now, a 1960’s estate in Frome the gardens are clearly intended for food growing – and some of us do that and keep chickens.

    Certainly in the past houses were built with land for the occupants to grow at least some of their own food and certainly in both working and middle class areas people still do. One thing to be considered is Simon Fairlies proposal for peri urban areas with a mix of smallholdings, allotments and homes with enough land attached to allow their inhabitants a degree of self sufficiency.

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