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Prochainement (mars-avril) à Namur et Louvain-la-Neuve

Bruxelles - 3rd June 2013




Proposals for land preservation, new land use and management practices


Working Seminar

3rd June 2013 - Brussels


Venue: European Economic and Social Commitee

Rue de Trèves, 74 - Bruxelles


{tab Land Sharing vs. Land Grabbing}

What is Land Grabbing?

Land grabbing commonly means large-scale land acquisitions (buying or leasing) by private or public entities, without due regards to local communities decisions, needs, rights and protection. It is usually used for phenomena occurring in Southern countries since the 2007-2008 crisis of commodity prices. So can we talk about land grabbing in Europe?
Some trends and recent evolutions of farmland management in Europe take similar forms and/or have similar consequences than those of land grabbing in the South. Diminution of agricultural land and land concentration, sale and rent price increase, disconnection between agricultural land use value and its price, insufficient renewal of farmers' generations, competition between food, fibre and agrofuels for agricultural land use or massive financial investments in farmland are a source for concern. In this respect, Europe is no exception to the global context of increasing pressure on agricultural land and food production, and financial concerns taking precedence over community choices.


What is Land Sharing?

A number of citizen-led initiatives have developed to provide easier land access to local, ecological forms of agriculture geared at matching the needs of their communities. They are of different shape and size, some are centred on one or two farms, others have regional or national scope. They engage in different ways with consumers, local inhabitants, and other local stakeholders, but all include some forms of involvement of the communities in land use and management. Many of these initiatives have already been very successful and bear testimony to the interest and readiness of the public to get involved in favour of ecological, local food production and the preservation of vibrant rural areas. Although they are still a loose movement, these initiatives pave the way for inventing new ways of owning and managing land as a common good. They (re)place farmers as part of a long chain of good land stewards, develop a long-term perspective on land use and environment protection and try to reconnect land with its intrinsic and use value, rather than its market price. They have many challenges ahead, but also experiences and reflections to share with all those concerned in the future of European agriculture, food and countryside.

 {tab Background: a follow-up Seminar}

Background: a follow-up Seminar

On 16 October 2012, Demeter International, along with other partners, organized a conference on Land sharing versus Land grabbing, where the situation of land was discussed and community-based, sustainable land ownership and land use models were presented. In the wake of the conference, several speakers and participants expressed the desire to go further.
More about the October 2012 conference, see: http://www.demeter.net/land-sharing-vs-land-grabbing-0


Demeter International, supported by a group of organisations focusing on land preservation (AEIAR and VLM) and on land sharing approaches (Terre de liens, Bioforum, Terre-en-vue), decided to convene a follow-up seminar, in which experts could discuss, and brainstorm about the situation of land grabbing in Europe, as well as alternative land use and management practices.


We are already considering organising a third seminar in 2014 to move yet one step further, in presenting developed policy proposals and a consolidated European Land Sharing Network.

{tab  Main objectives}

Main objectives

  • Provide a platform for exchanging ideas and experiences, brainstorming and capacity building for practitioners, political decision makers and NGO representatives.
  • Establish a state of the art of access to land, land preservation, land grabbing and land sharing in Europe: problems, policy frames, and good practices.
  • Share analyses of existing EU, national and local legal framework and public policies, to identify those elements which constitute obstacles to, or levers for, access to land and land preservation.
  • Discuss possible ways forward and brainstorm policy recommendations.
  • Network and build alliances.

{tab Organizers}


Demeter International was the organizer of the first conference about land sharing in October 2012. Demeter farmers and gardeners are already practicing successfully land-sharing models over decades. The Demeter Liaison Office in Brussels possesses the relevant contacts to speakers and experts whom we plan to invite to this workshop. Being based in Brussels it makes sense to organize this follow-up workshop here, where the European Institutions are based. demeter
Terre de Liens, is a French citizen-based movement started in 2003 to address the difficulties encountered by local organic and peasant farmers in getting access to land, as well as to decommodify agricultural land. It has two main lines of action: 1/financial tools (a citizen-owned ethical investment company and a land trust) which collect investment and donations to acquire land and rent it to farmers on the long run; and, 2/ mobilisation and mediation tools to raise awareness of citizens and support local authorities. TDL now has a network of 2000 members and 9000 shareholders. Having raised 30 million euros, it has acquired about 2400ha and contributed to the establishment or continuation of about 200 farmers. terre-de-liens 
Bioforum Vlaanderen, is the umbrella organization, in Flanders, of the organic sector and a membership organisation with a trong network of certified producers, processors, distributors, retailers and relevant partner organisations. BioForum has strong connections with Landwijzer vzw which in Flanders was initiator of the Bio- Grondfonds. Landwijzer, as an organic training centre has a strong focus on farmers' continuity and access to land for new farmers.  BioForum-baseline klein
Terre-en-Vue is a brand new citizen driven Frenchspeaking Belgian mouvement that gives back to farmland its status of a common good. It is composed of an NGO, a cooperative company and a foundation. It revives local economies through agroecological projects that are guided by local networks of citizens, public institutions and partner NGOs. Terre-en-vue works in close collaboration with its Flemish counterpart Land-In-Zicht. It started off after an intensive period of studying the strenghts and weaknesses of other European examples. Collective intelligence and sociocratics are at the basis of its functioning. These approaches, its close collaboration with both farmers, public institutions, citizens and NGO partners, its developing vision the Commons and its critical mindset may contribute to a successful conference. terre-en-vue 

 {tab Participants}


This seminar is designed as a working seminar for citizen-based land initiatives, land institutions, farmers' organisations (e.g. IFOAM, Via campesina), policy-makers (DG Agriculture, DG Environment, Members of the European Parliament, European Social and Economic Committee, European Council, Purple network), Brussels-based NGOs (ARC2020, Friends of the Earth Europe, FIAN, MIJARC, etc.), experts (e.g. Groupe de Bruges, aGter, European Environmental Agency, researchers) and ethical banks and foundations (e.g. GLS, Triodos, FPH) to meet, share analyses and build proposals around land issues in Europe.

{tab Workshops Themes}

Workshops Themes


1. Preserving Farmland

Urban sprawl and the construction of infrastructures exert a strong pressure on agricultural land. Over the past five decades, EU has lost over 30 million hectares of farmland. In some parts of Europe, farmland is also being abandoned, and taken over by natural spaces. The preservation of farmland is particularly at stake where there is a strong competition for land use: peri-urban and urban areas, coastal areas, touristy areas, etc. However, there are a number of national or local regulations to protect farmland and monitor land use. How can we better preserve existing farmland so as to keep agriculture alive throughout Europe? And how can we preserve the quality of farmland and of its environment (soil fertility, water resource, biodiversity) so as to ensure food quality, environment protection, public health and diversified landscape?


2. Facilitating Farm Transfer and supporting Future Farmers

The farming population in the EU is aging rapidly: in 2007, 55% of farm holders were above 55 year old (33% over 65 year old), while only 6% were under 35. A whole generation of farmers is reaching retirement age and, like for the general European population, this calls for a massive transfer of jobs, skills and means of production to a new generation. This generational transfer is complicated by the size of the phenomenon –more than half of farm holders will retire within few years – as well as by the fact that, maybe for the first time in history, many aging farmers do not have a successor. What are the needs of transferors and future farmers? What can we learn from existing initiatives supporting farm and the establishment of future farmers? How to address the specific needs of local, ecological farmers?


3. Managing Land as Commons

Land as a common resource, especially farmland, is currently threatened by financial and short-term interests. Land speculation, unregulated competition for use and soil sealing of farmland, land appropriation for speculative productions, lack of environmental or social concerns in land management, public land sales and land concentration are a consequence of the communities' exclusion from land management decision-making. Some citizen-based experiences are currently trying to reconsider land as a common resource to be preserved rather than a financial heaven and a commodity, and developing new ways of managing land as commons. What can we learn from these experiences? How to support and spread them? Which ways are they opening towards recognition of land as commons in Europe? How to better articulate these experiences, local authorities and public regulations?


4. Promoting a favourable Land Policy Environment for Local, Ecological Agriculture

A growing number of citizens, experts, associations, and local authorities are calling for an agriculture, which is Tsustainable, nurtures the social and economic local fabric and endorses a civic dimension by engaging directly with the community or providing public goods. While forms of local, resilient civic agriculture already exist throughout Europe, they are still marginal and under pressure from the majority model of intensive, specialised corporate agriculture and sidelined by the current CAP. In Eastern Europe, we also witness phenomena whereby small-scale, rather extensive forms of farming are being replaced by intensive monoculture – phenomena likely to be heightened by the opening of land markets in these countries. How could the CAP be reformed to address these issues? How can we draw from the FAO guidelines on land tenure? What can we learn from good practices of local and national regulations and policies?



9.00: Registration

9.30 – 9.45: Opening and Welcoming (Andreas Biesantz, Demeter International)

9.45 – 10.45: Panel: situation of Land Sharing vs. Land Grabbing in Europe
• Patrick Holden, Sustainable Food Trust, UK - Food Systems Transition (to be confirmed)
• Robert Levesque, AEIAR / Fédération nationale des SAFER, France – Land Issues in the EU (to be
• Land as Commons (nn)
• Titus Bahner, Projektbüro Kulturlandschaft Hitzacker, Germany - New Community-based Funding Models

10.45 – 11.00: Introduction to the workshops: themes and general objectives - Sjoerd Wartena, Terre de liens,

11.00 – 11.30: Coffee Break and Division into groups

11.30 – 13.00 Workshops, Session 1 – State of the Art: Current Situation and Good Practices
• Working Group 1: Preserving Farmland
• Working Group 2: Facilitating Farm Transfer and supporting Future Farmers
• Working Group 3: Managing Land as Commons
• Working Group 4: Promoting a favourable Land Policy Environment for Local, Ecological Agriculture

12.00 Press Conference

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch

14.00 – 16.00 Workshops, Session 2 – Building Ways Forward
• W.G. 1: Preserving Farmland
• W.G. 2: Facilitating Farm Transfer and supporting Future Farmers
• W.G. 3: Managing Land as Commons
• W.G. 4: Promoting a favourable Land Policy Environment for Local, Ecological Agriculture

16.00 – 16.30 Coffee Break

16.30 – 17.30 Reporting of each Work Group, Final Discussion and Conclusions



Liste d'articles et vidéos liés au thème d'une métamorphose de la propriété privée, notamment celle de la terre agricole :

> 09 Conséquences sur le travail humain, la propriété privée et l'allocation des moyens de production (2012) - Mouvement pour la triarticulation sociale
> 10 La propriété privée au service de la collectivité : le transfert du droit d'usage des moyens de production (2012) - Mouvement pour la triarticulation sociale
> 11 La terre n'est pas une marchandise (2012) - Mouvement pour la triarticulation sociale
> Pistes concrètes pour une métamorphose du droit de propriété privée • Une étude de cas. (2013) - Stéphane Lejoly
> Chante Terre : vers un nouveau droit d'usage de la Terre ? (1994) - Stéphane Lejoly