Synergies between Access to Land and land stewardship
“Access to land” is a new European network emerged from an Erasmus+ project. The Access to land network brings together grassroots organisations from across Europe to share experiences and promote the significance of access to land for agroecological transition and generational renewal. Established in 2012, it functions as an informal network of about 15 organisations.
Throughout Europe, land is predominantly under individual ownership. Landowners (both private and public) are granted very significant, sometimes absolute, rights on their property, which are often used at the expense of tenant farmers, and other land users: neighbours, local residents, consumers, local authorities, hikers, etc.
The organisations that are part of the Access to land network strongly believe that everybody can and should have a voice in defining how land is used and managed, as well as its agricultural orientations. From the local to European levels, citizens and local communities can participate in planning and managing land use, together with farmers, farming institutions, local authorities and others.
So, can land stewardship have its paper in this effort to bring private property and land users to work together for a better land use? Managing land as a commons also means directly engaging consumers, local communities and other land users in the way farmland is used and managed, while respecting farmers’ autonomy.
The vision of the LandLife project on this issue is that land stewardship can be an essential tool for achieving the objectives of the Access to land network. In this sense, we encourage the network and its members to find synergies between land stewardship and land access, and how can they complement each other in order to achieve common goals.